|Type||Limited liability company|
|Founded||Corvallis, Oregon, United States|
|Founders||Paul G. Lorenzini and Jose Reyes|
|John Hopkins (CEO)|
|Products||Small modular reactors|
NuScale Power is an American private company that designs and markets small modular reactors (SMRs). It is headquartered in Tigard, Oregon, United States. NuScale has been approved to build test reactors in Idaho, in 2029 and 2030.
NuScale's SMR designs are for 9 feet (2.7 m) diameter by 65 feet (20 m) high reactor vessels that use conventional light water cooling methods and runs on low enriched uranium fuel assemblies based on existing light water reactor designs. Each module is intended to be kept in an underground pool and is expected to produce about 60 megawatts of electricity. It uses natural water-circulation that can operate without powered pumps or circulatory equipment but still requires a moving working fluid and a large water reservoir.
NuScale was founded based on research funded by the Department of Energy from 2000 to 2003. After funding was cut, scientists with the program obtained related patents in 2007 and started NuScale to commercialize the technology.
NuScale was founded based on research funded by the US Department of Energy and conducted by Oregon State University, the Idaho National Laboratory, and other colleges beginning in 2000. At the time, Oregon State's nuclear department had been developing passive water-circulation techniques for cooling in nuclear plants. The research grant ended in 2003, but a group of scientists at Oregon State University continued the work. They built a test lab at one-third the actual scale of the technology and inherited related patents from the university in 2007, in exchange for a small equity in the company. NuScale was founded that same year. Its first funding round was in January 2008 for an undisclosed sum. It began seeking certification with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in February 2008.
By 2011, NuScale had raised $35 million in financing and had 100 employees in three cities: Tigard, Oregon; Richland, Washington; and Corvallis, Oregon. NuScale was the first to submit plans for small reactors to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and is the first to have gained approval. It was also being evaluated by a consortium of utility companies called Energy Northwest.
Funding difficulties and rebound
In January 2011, NuScale's largest investor, Kenwood Group, was investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and later pleaded guilty to operating a Ponzi scheme. The SEC investigation was not related to any of Kenwood's dealings with NuScale, but Kenwood's assets were frozen just as NuScale was expecting additional funding. The company started making staffing and pay cuts as executives looked for new funding sources and most of the company's employees were laid off within a few months.
That September, NuScale obtained a loan to re-hire 60 employees. In October, Fluor Corporation acquired a majority interest in the company for $3.5 million and promised almost $30 million in working capital. According to The Energy Daily, Fluor's investment saved the company, which had been "financially marooned" by its prior investor. A separate agreement also gave Fluor the rights to construct NuScale-based power plants.
In August 2012, Rolls-Royce Holdings said it would support NuScale's commercialization efforts and help it obtain funding from the Department of Energy's Funding Opportunity Announcement, which is intended to provide funding to help bring SMRs to market. It was not awarded any funding in the first round. In the Department of Energy's (DOE) second round of funding in December 2013, NuScale won up to $226 million in "cost-sharing" funding to share the expense of pursuing government approval, through the SMR Licensing Technical Support program. This was followed by an agreement in May 2014 for up to $217 million in funding over a five-year period, whereby the Department of Energy would match private funding. In December 2012, co-founder and CEO Paul G. Lorenzini was succeeded by current CEO John Hopkins.
In March 2012, NuScale signed an agreement with the Department of Energy, allowing NuScale and two partners to build and operate a NuScale-based nuclear power plant at the Savannah River Site. The following month Energy Northwest said it didn't have any immediate plans to construct a nuclear power plant, but had evaluated all the available SMR technologies and identified NuScale as the best available option at the time.
In July 2013, NuScale announced an effort to study and demonstrate NuScale reactors in the western United States, called Program WIN (Western Initiative for Nuclear), with plans to build the first NuScale-based power plant in the western United States by 2024. In November 2014, NuScale announced it was building what is expected to be the first SMR in the US in Idaho. The plant is for the Carbon Free Power Project with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems. The company submitted designs to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in January 2017, and if approved hoped to complete its first plant in 2026.
In January 2018, the NRC agreed that the NuScale SMR does not need back-up power.
In August 2020, the NRC issued a final safety evaluation report for NuScale's small modular reactor design, certifying the design as having met the NRC's safety requirements. NuScale plans to apply for a standard design approval of a 60-megawatt-per-module version of the design in 2022, which if accepted will allow the company to pursue its first reactor deployment in the mid-2020s.
NuScale designs and markets small modular nuclear reactors that the Department of Energy projected in 2014 to be commercially available around 2025. Their reactors take 1% of the space of a conventional one and generate just 60 megawatts of power. Its designs use the light water approach to cooling and power generation that is common in conventional nuclear plants. Water is heated by the nuclear core at the base of the reactor vessel. Heated water flows upwards inside the riser, then down over steam generators. As heat is transferred to steam generators, the water becomes cooler and denser, sinking back to the bottom of the device, where the cycle is repeated. Heat transferred to the steam generators is used to create steam that turns a turbine, which drives an electrical generator.
Each NuScale reactor vessel is expected to be 9 feet (2.7 m) in diameter and 65 feet (20 m) tall, weighing 650 short tons (590 metric tons). The modules would be pre-fabricated, delivered by railcar, barge or special trucks and assembled on-site. The units were designed to produce 60 megawatts[a] of electricity each and require refueling with standard 4.95 percent enriched uranium-235 fuel every two years.
NuScale's design does not rely on powered water pumps or circulatory equipment. The company claims it can shut down and continue cooling itself indefinitely during most accidents.[b] The devices are intended to be kept in a below-ground pool, to absorb the shock of earthquakes, with a concrete lid over the pool. In the event that AC power is lost for normal cooling systems, the pool water in the pool begins to absorb heat and boil.
NuScale is expected to be the first SMR to market, because its cooling is similar to the systems used in conventional power plants. However, alternative cooling systems using molten metals are expected to operate at higher, more efficient temperatures once approved. The company estimates a twelve-unit NuScale plant would cost $4,200 (an earlier estimate was $5,000) per kilowatt. In comparison, the Energy Information Administration in 2011 estimated costs to be $4,700 per kilowatt for conventional nuclear power, $4,600 for a carbon sequestration coal plant and $931 at a gas-fired plant or in excess of $1,800 for a gas-fired plant with carbon sequestration. David Mohre, executive director of NRECA's Energy and Power Division, said SMRs like NuScale's are ideal for rural towns that need small power plants and do not have access to natural gas. NuScale power plants are also expected to take less time, materials and space to construct than other power sources and can be expanded incrementally to meet changing power needs.
In addition to NuScale Power, other companies in the United States are working to develop plans to create and design small modular reactors. These companies include: Babcock & Wilcox, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Gen4 Energy, Holtec International, Intellectual Ventures, OPEN100, Westinghouse Electric Company, and X-energy.
In March 2020, a panel of independent experts from the NRC’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS) found several potential flaws in NuScale's reactor design. The main issue was that in the event of an emergency shutdown condensed steam returning to the reactor vessel would be low in boron and might not absorb enough neutrons from the reactor. NuScale modified its design to ensure that more boron would spread to the returning water. The ACRS was still concerned that operators could accidentally add deboronated water to the core. The panel found a few more problems, such as that the steam generator could be prone to damaging vibrations. However, on 29 July the ACRS still recommended that the safety evaluation report be issued and that the reactor be certified. Edwin Lyman, a physicist from the Union of Concerned Scientists, said that the flaws in the design have damaged NuScale's credibility and that "This is a case of the public relations driving the science instead of the other way around". On the other hand, José Reyes, NuScale's cofounder and CTO said, "If there really was a fatal flaw, ACRS would not have published a positive report."
NuScale has offices in Tigard, Oregon (near Portland); Corvallis, Oregon; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Rockville, Maryland. Its headquarters are in Tigard and its production facility is located in Corvallis. It maintains a test facility at Oregon State University, as well as two additional test facilities in Italy. NuScale is also exploring potential opportunities in the United Kingdom.
- Previously 45, then 50 megawatts
- Most sources say indefinitely, but NBC News reported 30 days.
- "US gives first-ever OK for small commercial nuclear reactor". techxplore.com. Archived from the original on September 5, 2020. Retrieved September 5, 2020.
- Durlin, Marty (March 30, 2009). "Mix-and-Match Nuclear Reactors". High Country News. Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Hyatt, Abraham (July 2008). "Start Me Up: NuScale Power". Oregon Business. Archived from the original on August 30, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- "NIMBY: Nukes in my Backyard". Investors Business Daily. November 11, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Wagman, David (October 1, 2013). "NuScale Puts Single-Minded Focus on Small Modular Reactor". Power Magazine. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "Small-Scale Nuclear Co. Hunts For Funds". Power Finance & Risk. April 6, 2009. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Smith, Rebecca (October 13, 2011). "Fluor Buys Stake in Reactor Maker". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Rogoway, Mike (January 20, 2011). "Corvallis-Based NuScale Suspends Operations after SEC Acts Against its Chief Investor". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "NRC Issues Final Safety Evaluation Report for NuScale Small Modular Reactor" (PDF). United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. August 28, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
- Levitan, Dave (September 9, 2020). "First U.S. Small Nuclear Reactor Design Is Approved". Scientific American. Archived from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 15, 2020.
- Barbe, Wayne (June 9, 2009). "Energy Northwest Considers Adding Capacity with Modular Nukes". Generation Markets Week.
- "NuScale Cuts Back As Feds Sue Funder". The Energy Daily. February 7, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Rogoway, Mike (January 31, 2011). "NuScale Furloughs 30, Cuts Pay and Hours for the Others, While it Seeks New Investment". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Patel, Sonal (July 1, 2011). "Holtec, Westinghouse Roll Out Small Modular Reactor Designs". Power Magazine. Archived from the original on July 18, 2014. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Hall, Bennett (August 21, 2011). "Power Struggle". Corvallis Gazette-Times. Archived from the original on May 14, 2019. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Lobsenz, George (October 14, 2011). "Fluor Moves Into Small Reactors With NuScale Buy". The Energy Daily. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
- "Fluor Gets Nuclear Firm Stranded By Illarramendi's Ponzi Scheme". Reuters. October 13, 2011. Archived from the original on February 23, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Rogoway, Mike (March 27, 2013). "NuScale Power Begins Fresh Effort to Secure Federal Funds for its Nuclear Technology". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- "NuScale joins B&W on the SMR bench". Modern Power Systems. April 2014. Archived from the original on June 2, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Patel, Sonal (May 29, 2014). "NuScale, DOE Complete Agreement for $217M SMR Development Funds". Power Magazine. Archived from the original on July 16, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Rogoway, Mike (December 13, 2012). "NuScale Power Replaces CEO". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
- Patel, Sonal (July 1, 2012). "Small Modular Reactors Vie for DOE Funding". Archived from the original on July 18, 2014. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
- Beattie, Jeff (June 18, 2012). "Washington Governor Nudging DOE For Small Nuke At Hanford". The Energy Daily. Archived from the original on February 1, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Beattie, Jeff (July 26, 2012). "FirstEnergy Eyeing Possible B&W Small Reactor Project". The Energy Daily. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Geoff Brumfiel (January 13, 2017). "Miniaturized Nuclear Power Plant? U.S. Reviewing Proposed Design". Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
- "NRC agrees NuScale SMR needs no back-up power". World Nuclear News. Archived from the original on January 26, 2018. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
- Johnson, Scott K. (September 1, 2020). "NuScale's small nuclear reactor is first to get US safety approval". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on September 1, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- "NRC Issues Final Safety Evaluation Report for NuScale Small Modular Reactor" (PDF). NRC. August 28, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 15, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
- ChoFeb. 21, Adrian; 2019; Am, 8:00 (February 21, 2019). "Smaller, safer, cheaper: One company aims to reinvent the nuclear reactor and save a warming planet". Science | AAAS. Archived from the original on January 31, 2020. Retrieved January 31, 2020.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
- Freedman, David (June 2010). "The Big Potential of Micro Nukes". Discover. Archived from the original on December 16, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Barnard, Jeff (December 13, 2013). "Department Of Energy Awards Grant to NuScale to Design Small Modular Nuclear Power Plants". Associated Press. Archived from the original on March 9, 2016. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
- Hise, Phaedra (December 18, 2009). "Mini Reactors Show Promise for Clean Nuclear Power's Future". Popular Mechanics. Archived from the original on April 27, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "The Race to Commercialize Mini-Nuclear Reactors". Power Magazine. January 1, 2009. Archived from the original on July 18, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Blumenthal, Les (June 14, 2009). "Northwest Utilities Turn to Nuclear, 25 years After Industry Collapsed". Tribune News Service. Archived from the original on May 8, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- Cunningham, Nick (March 24, 2015). "A Look At The Future Of Nuclear Power". OilPrice. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
- "NuScale Boosts SMR Capacity, Making it Cost Competitive with Other Technologies". Power Magazine. June 6, 2018. Archived from the original on June 10, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
Optimization... will increase NuScale Power’s small modular reactor (SMR) capacity by 20%... [This] would boost the power capacity of a 12-module SMR plant currently planned by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) from 600 MWe to 720 MWe."
- "Will Next-Gen Nuclear Power be Safe Enough?". NBC News. October 10, 2011. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- Maize, Kennedy (July 1, 2011). "Nuclear Power in the Shadow of Fukushima". Power Magazine. Archived from the original on July 18, 2014. Retrieved April 27, 2015.
- Barbe, Wayne (July 13, 2010). "NuScale Sees Large Upside in Small Nuclear Units". SNL Generation Markets Week.
- Fairfield, Hannah (December 1, 2009). "New Scale for Nuclear Power". The New York Times. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
- "A Generation Ahead By Design". Holtec International. Archived from the original on January 12, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
- "OPEN100 | Nuclear Energy". Open100. Archived from the original on January 20, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
- "X-energy | Advanced Nuclear Reactors (SMR) & TRISO Fuel". X-energy. Archived from the original on January 5, 2021. Retrieved January 11, 2021.
- Cho (August 18, 2020). "Smaller, cheaper reactor aims to revive nuclear industry, but design problems raise safety concerns". Science | AAAS. Retrieved February 25, 2021.
- locations, NuScale, archived from the original on December 28, 2014, retrieved January 15, 2015
- Giegerich, Andy (July 28, 2014). "NuScale set to add scores of Oregon jobs". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved January 15, 2015.
- "NuScale in the UK | NuScale Power". Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to NuScale Power.|