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.