NRC accepted NuScale’s DCA. Will it complete its review on time? Estimated completion July 2020
Yesterday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission accepted NuScale’s 12,000 page design certification application (DCA). That action starts the safety determination process, which is scheduled to take 40 months.
Completed on December 31, 2016 and submitted to the NRC on January 12, 2017, NuScale’s certification application has been subjected to a 60 day checklist review designed to ensure that the document addresses all required aspects of the design with adequate technical information to support a safety determination.
First-try acceptance of the application is a tribute to the design and licensing team’s lengthy preparation, hard work and attention to detail. Several of the DCAs that have been submitted to the NRC in the past were rejected as being incomplete or lacking sufficient technical support when they were first submitted.
NuScale has been engaging the NRC in preapplication meetings for the past several years. So far, the company has purchased approximately 40,000 professional staff hours of review services from the regulators at an price of about $270 per hour. Preparation of the document, including the supporting test program required the services of a engineering and licensing team totaling about 800 participants, with a roughly equal split between company employees and contractors.
NuScale COO and CNO Dale Atkinson expressed his thoughts on the accomplishment of one more milestone in the marathon process of creating a new clean energy technology option.
We appreciate the NRC’s dedication to clarifying requirements for the submittal. That kind of interaction was essential to NuScale successfully being docketed for review.
There is still much to do and we firmly believe that not only will NuScale be the first SMR certified by the U.S. NRC, but that the size and simplicity of the NuScale design will change the way we think and talk about nuclear going forward.
John Hopkins, NuScale Power’s CEO expressed his pride in the progress made by his team and asserted the importance of the step for the nuclear industry.
This is a great next step for a new American nuclear technology and a step we see as affirming NuScale as a true leader in SMR technology development.
It’s worth noting that Mr. Hopkins is not only NuScale’s Chairman and CEO, but he is also a major U.S. business leader who is currently serving as the Chairman, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
That position provides frequent opportunities to express enthusiasm for the economic and environmental improvement potential of a smaller, simpler, nuclear energy system that can be manufactured in a factory and set up on site with vastly improved schedule predictability.
There is a real need to upgrade American infrastructure to provide for clean and reliable electricity to spur growth in the U.S. There is a real need to boost American manufacturing, and create American jobs,” said Hopkins. “NuScale’s new nuclear energy technology can do all of that and begin to meet the urgent needs for power, for clean water and to support industrial growth around the world – and do it on a scale and at a cost that makes sense.
The lead NuScale power plant will be built on an already identified site inside the boundaries of the Idaho National Laboratory. It will be owned by the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS).
The power station, consisting of 12 identical 50 MWe NuScale power modules, will be operated by Energy Northwest, which has been operating the Columbia Nuclear Power station for the past several decades.
UAMPS plans to submit its combined license application (COL) by early 2018.
Disclosure: NuScale is a customer of Atomic Insights energy information services.
Good news on Nuscale’s design certification process getting underway. So the 40 month process (+/- a few) gets started now, but the COL for the first installation site won’t start until 2018? The COL approval process for several of the large reactors has been even longer than the design certification. Is there any reason to believe that the COL process for UAMPS or any other SMR site will be faster? I can easily see a situation where the design gets certified but NuScale is stuck in a holding pattern for several years waiting for site and construction approval? Am I wrong to worry about such a thing happening?
There is always the possibility that licensing reviews can be delayed. UAMPS has a reasonable chance of taking less time than some of the other COLs because it has selected a site where there should be less local opposition and interference.
Also, some of the COL delays for projects like Vogtle and Summer were caused by delays in approving design certification amendments.
“There is always the possibility that licensing reviews can be delayed.”
Not with a little outside the box creative management and a ‘Sroke of the Pen’ decision by Sec of Energy. INL is a DOE site, with much of the same Mission (and oversight) on nuclear as NRC. If the NRC certifies the NuScale design as safe, DOE should tell NRC to MYOB on what we do with OUR site. INL has managed to develop, build, and operate 52 reactors in its history… how many had an NRC COL? DOE has already ‘bought in’ to the NuScale concept by granting them ~$252M development funds.
From INL’s web page:
“What is INL?
INL is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s complex of national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. INL is the nation’s leading center for nuclear energy research and development.”
INL is a ‘natural’ choice for over sight to see this project to fruition… let a turf battle be solved by ‘whomever’ solves turf battles between departments in the US Government… with the stroke of a pen.
If NRC certifies the NuScale design as safe, I really don’t see a need for a COL (even legal) and the best plan is to get this thing built and running totally under DOE, on security proofed DOE property!
Rick Perry are you listening?
If you tell him.
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