US nuclear regulator approves the first modular reactor design

With reducing carbon emissions the priority target for power generation, nuclear energy is poised to make a major comeback. As nations look to secure their energy requirements, nuclear reactors offer a viable option. However, nuclear plants using conventional reactors are not only land intensive but also need investments of time.

Smaller nuclear reactors are being touted as the solution that can address the drawbacks of larger nuclear plants. However, these reactors are still in their design and testing phases and are still significant time away from actual deployment, except for the Oregon-based NuScale Power, whose small and modular reactor will soon be certified.

How does NuScale’s modular reactor work?

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors that need to be built on site, NuScale aims to mass-produce its reactors and then ship them to a power generation site for assembly and operation. NuScale has deployed a modular design for its small reactors, with each module no bigger than 65 feet (20 m) tall and nine feet (2.7 m) in diameter. Each of these modules can generate 50MW of energy, and a power generation plant could have anywhere between four to 12 such modules to deliver a total power output of 600 MW.

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