Schematic of the reactor. Source: NuScale PowerSchematic of the reactor. Source: NuScale Power

The small modular light water reactor (SMR) under development by NuScale Power has been demonstrated to produce 20 percent more power than originally planned. Advanced testing and modeling tools were used to identify optimization opportunities and increase output from a 12-module NuScale SMR plant.

The generating capacity boost to 720 MWe was achieved with a minimal rise in capital costs. This is expected to translate into a facility cost reduction on a per kilowatt basis from $5,000 to about $4,200 and to an 18 percent lower levelized cost of electricity. The improved gross output renders the SMR more competitive with other power generation sources.

The 20 percent power upgrade will be reviewed separately and not impact the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) current design review of NuScale’s SMR. The agency has already completed the first and most intensive phase of review for the company’s design certification application. The company’s first customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, is planning a 12-module SMR plant in Idaho slated for operation by the mid-2020s based on this certified design.

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