The USA will approve a new nuclear reactor design that will be significantly different from others. A small, modular NuScale reactor could be built at a central facility and then moved to the site where it would operate.
A total of seven reactor designs have been certified in the US, but NuScale will be the first to be relocatable. Mobility will make its construction cheaper compared to larger options. The reactor can be assembled at the factory and delivered to the site of operation, avoiding many of the problems associated with construction.
Many small modular reactors have technologies different from traditional ones. For example, they use molten uranium salts as fuel. The NuScale design is more traditional, with fuel, control rods, and energy transfer through boiling water.
For safety without an operator, the entire reactor is installed in a water tank, and cooling is provided by an external water source. When the power is turned off, the control rods are automatically pulled into the reactor by gravity.
The NuScale reactor certification process began back in 2016. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission required the manufacturer to demonstrate the safety of the design. It was tested for its ability to withstand accidents, natural disasters and even protection against the impact of a large commercial aircraft.
During the installation of the reactor, one will also need to consider the place where it will be located. One location for this is already under consideration – the NuScale reactor could be operational at the Idaho National Laboratory by 2030.