NuScale/Paragon agreement offers reactor protection system to broader industry

July 15, 2022, 7:00AMNuclear News
Rendering of a VOYGR plant. (Image: NuScale)

NuScale Power and Paragon Energy Solutions have signed a patent license agreement that will make NuScale’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission–approved reactor protection system architecture available to the broader nuclear industry, the two companies announced on July 12.

Known as the Highly Integrated Protection System (HIPS) platform, the system was developed by NuScale and Rock Creek Innovations (RCI), a hardware supplier of commercial nuclear protections systems, over six years of collaboration that began in 2010. Paragon, a supplier of safety-related parts and components, acquired RCI in December 2021.

Rendering of a NuScale Power Module. (Image: NuScale)

The platform: According to NuScale, the HIPS platform is composed of four module types that can be connected in multiple configurations to support different reactor safety systems. It uses field programmable gate array (FPGA) technology that is not vulnerable to cyberattacks. In 2017, the NRC evaluated the HIPS platform and concluded that it was effective for safety-related instrumentation and control systems in nuclear applications. A Paragon fact sheet provides more information on the HIPS platform.

NuScale plans to use the technology with its 77-MWe NuScale Power Module, a pressurized water reactor that is the modular design inside NuScale’s VOYGR power plants, offered in configurations including a four-module (308 MWe) and 12-module (924 MWe) plant.

They said it: “The nuclear community shares a common goal of delivering carbon-free and reliable power to our respective customers and ensuring the highest level of safety,” said John Hopkins, NuScale president and chief executive officer. “NuScale and Paragon are thrilled to offer our sophisticated HIPS technology to help our industry advance into a clean energy future.”

“HIPS performs with robust, analog-like reliability while providing essential diagnostics for plants to reduce O&M costs. The HIPS technology is a game-changer for nuclear power plant operators who are looking for safety-related systems that work for multiple decades without major upgrades,” said Doug VanTassell, President and CEO of Paragon Energy Services, in a July 12 press release. According to Paragon, nuclear companies could implement the HIPS platform for existing plants as well as developing technologies.

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