Holtec steps up efforts for SMR design certification

November 4, 2020, 3:01PMNuclear News

Artist’s rendering of a Holtec SMR-160 plant. Image: Holtec International.

Holtec International announced yesterday a drive to secure Nuclear Regulatory Commission design certification of the company’s SMR-160 small modular reactor on an accelerated schedule.

According to the announcement, Holtec met with NRC officials and staff on September 30 to present a licensing roadmap that charts what the company referred to as a “seamless progression from [10 CFR Part 50] to [10 CFR Part 52] and a licensing topical report submittal schedule to support an accelerated availability plan for our global customers.”

The first planned submittal, scheduled to occur within the next few weeks, is a topical report covering the SMR-160’s essential safety features: the Passive Core Cooling System (PCCS) and Passive Containment Heat Removal System (PCHR). These systems, Holtec said, “undergird the SMR’s guaranteed safety under the various operational occurrences and hypothetical accidents that may afflict the plant.”

The submittal also aims to demonstrate that the PCCS and PCHR comply with the NRC’s General Design Criteria (Part 50, Appendix A), “an important enabler to expedite licensing efforts,” according to Holtec.

What they’re saying: “The pending NRC submittals mark a major milestone in the development and certification of the SMR-160,” said Tom Marcille, vice president of nuclear technologies for Holtec, in an email to Nuclear News. “The SMR-160 design is inherently safe and well-positioned to play a key role in meeting our country’s clean energy goals.”

The reactor: The SMR-160 is a small modular pressurized light-water reactor, generating 160 MWe (hence the name). According to Holtec, unlike the current fleet of power reactors, “the SMR-160 is designed such that all the cooling water needed for safe shutdown of the plant, under even the most severe accident scenarios, is integral to the plant and securely located to prevent the reactor from overheating. The plant safety systems that access the SMR-160 cooling water reserve are passive, meaning they operate under the force of gravity to enable rejection of the waste heat generated from reactor operations.”


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