The reactor that could kick-start the nuclear sector comes in a very small package

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Earlier this year, NuScale Energy took a crucial step forward in its prolonged effort to build 12 scaled-down nuclear reactors on an empty parcel at the Idaho National Laboratory, a sprawling research campus on the outskirts of Idaho Falls (see “Shrinking Nuclear”). The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed to begin the formal process of reviewing the company’s designs for the 600-megawatt plant, which could power a city the size of Boise twice over.

That gives NuScale, based in Portland, Oregon, the inside track on building the country’s first commercial reactors of this type. Known as small modular reactors, or SMRs, they also represent the first substantially new reactor design of any kind to reach this NRC milestone in decades.

But many more SMR projects are coming or under way. There are around 50 designs or concepts in various development or planning stages around the world, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Four are already in advanced construction in Argentina, Russia, and China.

If the early projects are built and succeed, these smaller and potentially safer nuclear reactors raise the real possibility of mass-produced mini plants that can significantly reduce the industry’s up-front costs and risks.

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The reactor that could kick-start the nuclear sector comes in a very small package

NuScale is on track to build the first commercial small modular reactors in the United States.

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About Paul Gordon 2618 Articles
Paul Gordon is the publisher and editor of iState.TV. He has published and edited newspapers, poetry magazines and online weekly magazines. He is the director of Social Cognito, an SEO/Web Marketing Company. You can reach Paul at

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