The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved Westinghouse's approach for testing its small modular reactor (SMR) design. Approval is a step toward design certification and will reduce the time needed to license the Westinghouse SMR, the company says, according to World Nuclear News.

The NRC granted a Safety Evaluation Report for the licensing topical report that the company submitted in April 2012 for review and approval. The report identifies what would occur in the event of an accident due to a small break in water circuit that cools the reactor, and defines the test program that Westinghouse will conduct to prove that its safety systems work properly.

Westinghouse was quoted as saying the potential for intermediate and large breaks in the reactor coolant loop - and the correspondingly more serious accident conditions - is eliminated in the Westinghouse SMR design because there are no large primary penetrations of the reactor vessel or large-loop piping. The design is an integral pressurized water reactor with all primary components located inside the reactor vessel. As a power unit, it would generate up to 225 MWe.

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