US Nuclear Regulators Approve Small Nuclear Reactor Design

The link below is to a news release from the US Department of Energy which reports that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has certified the design of a small 50 MW nuclear reactor, the first such authorization in the United States.

The reactor design approved is from Oregon company NuScale.

From the news release:

“We are thrilled to announce the historic rulemaking from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for NuScale’s small modular reactor design, and we thank the Department of Energy (DOE) for their support throughout this process,” said NuScale Power President and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins. “The DOE has been an invaluable partner with a shared common goal – to establish an innovative and reliable carbon-free source of energy here in the U.S. We look forward to continuing our partnership and working with the DOE to bring the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project to completion.”

“SMRs are no longer an abstract concept,” said Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dr. Kathryn Huff. “They are real and they are ready for deployment thanks to the hard work of NuScale, the university community, our national labs, industry partners, and the NRC. This is innovation at its finest and we are just getting started here in the U.S.!”

Nuclear power is increasingly being promoted as an important component of moving to a zero-carbon world. For many decades nuclear power has had a negative stigma attached to it because of dangers associated with hazardous radiation emissions in the event of accidents, and the need to deal with dangerous radioactive waste. With news like this, and with the seeming enthusiastic support from the US Departemnt of Energy, the tide seems to have turned significantly in favor of new nuclear reactors.