The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is expected to decide by mid-March whether to accept an application with no fewer than 12,000 pages of technical details that support a design for a small modular nuclear reactor design from NuScale Power.
As Winston Churchill might say, the milestone may not mark the beginning of the end but, just maybe, the end of the beginning.
That’s because the NRC’s act of accepting the application does nothing more than trigger a license certification review for the reactor. (The modular reactor might one day generate electric power for small cities, large hospitals, industrial facilities, and even remote water desalination plants.)
As part of its certification review, the NRC will follow a design-specific standard that lays out multiple requirements NuScale’s design must meet. Completing that review and certification process could consume anywhere from 30 to 40 months.
It may be no surprise, then, that NuScale is the first small modular reactor (SMR) to have made it this far in the U.S. regulatory process. And it’s had some help.