US-based NuScale Power Corporation is partnering with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to perform a techno-economic assessment (TEA) of a NuScale small modular reactor’s (SMR’s) ability to implement a cost-effective steam heat augmentation design. According to NuScale, the study will be based on process data from a US chemical facility to help the plant meet its electric power and process steam requirements with NuScale’s technology. This will be a highly collaborative effort with engineers from ORNL and NuScale forming a composite engineering team. The study should be completed within one year.

"With the support of the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative, we are thrilled to collaborate with Oak Ridge National Lab to assess this exciting new decarbonisation pathway that serves as a model for chemical plants,” said NuScale President &CEO John Hopkins. The TEA will evaluate the viability of NuScale’s SMR technology with steam heat augmentation for use in a chemical system, including examination of steam reliability, operational costs, and system stability.

"Nuclear technologies will play an essential role in the carbon-free integrated energy systems of the future," said Mickey Wade, Associate Lab Director for Fusion & Fission Energy & Science at ORNL. "The reliability of heat production from advanced fission technologies will drive deep decarbonisation across industrial sectors, including chemical production facilities. ORNL’s expertise in techno-economic analysis regarding system reliability, operational cost, and system stability analyses provides an enabling foundation for our partners to evaluate this decarbonisation pathway."

SMR siting suitability will also be studied, with NuScale receiving Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval for an Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) sizing methodology capable of a site boundary EPZ. NuScale is the only SMR vendor to receive NRC approval for its EPZ sizing methodology. The NuScale SMR is the first SMR to have its design certified by the, NuScale.

The TEA is receiving funding through an award granted by the DOE’s GAIN initiative, housed within the Office of Nuclear Energy. GAIN provides technical, regulatory, and financial support needed to advance nuclear technology towards commercialisation.

The NuScale Power Module is a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single 77 MWe unit. The company offers a 4- 6- and12-module VOYGR plants and other configurations based on customer needs. A pilot six-module plant planned to be built near Idaho Falls in the USA as the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS)-led Carbon Free Power Project was cancelled by UAMPS and NuScale earlier this month.


Image: A NuScale Power Module (courtesy of NuScale)

Date: Saturday, 25 November 2023
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