STATEMENT: NuScale Nuclear Developer Goes Public in Major Milestone, But NRC Remains Biggest Obstacle to Future of Advanced Nuclear Energy

Berkeley, Calif. — Today, NuScale, an advanced nuclear energy developer, announced it will be going public, marking a major step for the company. This follows another milestone in August as NuScale became one of the first developers to receive a design approval for its small modular reactor (SMR) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff.

BTI’s Sr. Nuclear Energy Analyst Dr. Adam Stein and Pittsburgh Technical Consultant Dr. Sola Talabi wrote a post about the extensive process, detailing the 5-year, 12,000-page Design Certification Application. Their design, a simplified and smaller version of pressurized light-water reactors (PWR) that the NRC has regulated for decades, underscores the disconnect at the NRC as the next generation of innovative advanced nuclear designs will be even more challenging.

Senior Nuclear Energy Analyst Dr. Adam Stein said, “This is clearly an exciting moment for NuScale and the entire nuclear energy industry. Deployment of small modular reactors will be a key piece of a clean energy future, both in the United States and internationally.”

“Despite NuScale’s design being based on already familiar light-water reactor design, it’s been a long and difficult process for them to get to this point. Major reforms are needed at the NRC in order to pave the way for future versions of the NuScale design and the advanced reactors based on emerging technologies. Congress directed the NRC to streamline the licensing processes for advanced reactors with the passage of NEIMA, but the reforms are trailing the licensing needs of applicants and are unavailable at this critical moment.

“As the necessity of decarbonizing our energy grid and power sector becomes more urgent, advanced nuclear energy designs will need to be permitted far quicker than the NRC is currently prepared or equipped for. Congress must act to force the NRC to comply with NEIMA and speed up its design certification and permitting process.”