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NuScale Power SMR can generate 20% more power than planned

NuScale Power announced its small modular reactor (SMR) can generate 20% more power than originally planned. Advanced testing and modeling tools helped NuScale identify optimization opportunities and increased power generation.

Increasing the power generating capacity of a 12-module NuScale SMR plant by 20%, with very minimal change in capital costs, lowers the cost of the facility on a per kilowatt basis from an expected $5,000 to approximately $4,200. It also lowers NuScale’s levelized cost of electricity by up to 18%, making it even more competitive with other electricity generation sources.

The new gross-output of a NuScale power plant to 720 MWe not only offers a significant amount of carbon-free generation, it also measures up to significant savings when compared to today’s competing gigawatt-size plants.

NuScale’s first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), is planning the development of a 12-module NuScale plant.

The regulatory process of increasing the level of maximum reactor power at which a nuclear plant can operate is referred to as a power uprate. The 20% power increase will be reviewed separately and not impact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) current design review of NuScale’s SMR or the scheduled September 2020 approval date of its Design Certification Application (DCA). Since NuScale has made this determination before any plant construction or equipment manufacture, UAMPS will benefit from this optimization without licensing or construction delays.

In January, NuScale announced the NRC agreed NuScale’s SMR design approach requires no safety-related power to safely shut down. No operating nuclear plant in the US can make that claim, NuScale points out. The NRC also recently completed its Phase 1 review of NuScale’s DCA. The most rigorous of the remaining five phases combined resulted in just one-third the average number of requests for additional information compared to other applicants.

NuScale’s first plant will be operational in the mid-2020s.

Comments

Engineer-Poet

Okay, this is interesting.  I wonder where the untapped potential was found?

gryf

E-P,
Do you think NuScale Power is using the Lightbridge metal fuel technology to generate 20% more power? This would be great particularly with the potential for a Light Water Breeder similar to the Shippingport Reactor.

gryf

Also, there could be a connection between Lightbridge, Areva, and NuScale.
The AREVA HTP-2 fuel design is part of the NuScale’s SMR technology. Areva and Lightbridge are working on a JV.

gryf

Looks like the Areva (FramatomeUS) and Lightbridge JV is called EnFission.

Engineer-Poet

The superior water-flow properties of the Lightbridge fuel would appear to be able to explain the uprate, but unfortunately the press release is mute on the subject and there are no links to further information.

gryf

Thanks E-P.

Engineer-Poet

There's more at Neutron Bytes:

NB: what factors are the top three technically that account for the majority of the announced cost reduction?

NS: NuScale has completed more than $70 million dollars in hardware tests, including comprehensive testing of the fuel and helical coil steam generators. The data obtained in these test programs has been used to validate and refine the predictive capability of our advanced thermal hydraulic safety analysis computer codes. Based on the refined state-of-the-art computer modeling now available, NuScale was able to demonstrate a 20% power increase while fully satisfying design and regulatory requirements.

No mention of a new fuel design, suggesting that it wasn't involved.  Perhaps the helical Lightbridge fuel could allow even greater uprates.  75 MW(e) out of that package would be nice.

I'd also like to see a marine version of this reactor.  75 MW is about the rated output power of the biggest container-ship diesels.  A nuclear cargo ship would not have to run slow to economize on fuel; this would give it a major advantage in shipping time and also allow it to run routes which avoid bottlenecks like the Strait of Malacca which are infested with pirates.

The Emma Maersk has an 81 MW main engine and another 30 MW of diesel gensets, for a total installed power of 111 MW; this suggests that the ship could carry a NuScale 2-pack without being overpowered.  Interestingly, the standard hull-speed formula gives a maximum speed of almost exactly 55 MPH for the Emma Maersk.  Going that fast, pirates wouldn't be a worry because they wouldn't be able to catch it.

Engineer-Poet

And I found someone who knew the answer.  LTBR fuel was not a factor in the uprate, meaning that there may well be room for more uprates.

HarveyD

Modern Pirates will buy very higher speed boats (from Iran) to compensate and/or deal with higher speed cargo ships?

Unfortunately, cargo ships will eventually have to be armed with high power laser and/or rail guns and train some of the crew how to use them?

Alternatively, Pirates could be hired to capture Iranian ships?

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