Power Engineering has reported on several companies on the regulatory and technological path to commercialize small modular reactors (SMRs).

Perhaps the closest of these companies is NuScale Power, whose reactor design was approved in January by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The rule took effect February 21, the day company co-founder Dr. José Reyes took the keynote stage at POWERGEN International.

Reyes, who is Chief Technology Officer for NuScale, spoke with Clarion Energy’s Jenn Runyon after addressing attendees to kick off POWERGEN in Orlando.


The NRC-approved design is an advanced light-water SMR, with each power module capable of generating 50 MWe.

But NuScale has submitted a second approval application to regulators for an updated SMR design, which is based on the VOYGR-6, a six-module configuration powered by an uprated 250 MWt (77 MWe) module.

The company plans to build a demonstration small modular reactor (SMR) power plant at the Idaho National Laboratory. The goal is to be fully running by 2030.

Unlike large, conventional reactors, engineers would build SMRs in a factory instead of assemble them on site, theoretically cutting costs and construction time.

“You can actually build the reactor vessel, as well as the containment vessel in a factory,” said Dr. Reyes. “Then you can ship it in three to five pieces to the site, and it’s an installation.”

He says this would reduce construction time from five years to three years.

Support has grown significantly for SMRs and advanced reactors in the last couple years. The Biden Administration believes they are crucial in curbing climate change.

But there are also questions about rising costs and a daunting regulatory process. NuScale recently said the target price for power from its plant is $89/MWh, up from a previous estimate of $58/MWh.

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