The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved the first small modular reactor, NuScale. This is the smallest reactor in the world – several tens of times smaller than those used in modern power plants. NuScale’s modular design makes it easy to use and safe even in the event of errors and operational problems. They can also be produced in the factory and then transported to the construction site of the power plant.
“Safety is of course one of the top priorities when it comes to nuclear power, and the power plants in use today operate under strict regulations that are generally considered much safer than older generations. The new device will further enhance safety and allow you to operate the device in a much smaller space, ”the researchers noted.
The NuScale Power reactor is a steel cylinder 23 m high and 5 m wide. Inside there are uranium fuel rods that use a nuclear chain reaction to heat the water in the inner loop. The heated water transfers the temperature to the external steam circuit through a heat exchanger. The steam drives a turbine that generates electricity. During operation, the steam cools down and the water droplets again fall back into the internal circuit.
A typical nuclear power plant of this type will consist of 12 small reactors. According to the developers, small reactors are much safer than conventional ones. In addition, they can be used in small towns, industrial facilities, and submarines. The entire module is submerged in water to help control excess heat, and if any part of the reactor fails, the reactor is lowered into a safe environment to prevent disaster.