US nuclear regulator approves first modular reactor design

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With reducing carbon emissions being the primary goal of power generation, nuclear power is about to make a big comeback. As nations seek to secure their energy needs, nuclear reactors offer a viable option. However, nuclear power plants using conventional reactors are not only land-intensive but also require time investments.

Small nuclear reactors are presented as the solution that can overcome the disadvantages of large nuclear power plants. However, these reactors are still in their design and testing phases and are still far from actual deployment, with the exception of Oregon-based NuScale Power, whose small modular reactor will soon be certified.

How does the NuScale Modular Reactor work?

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors which must be built on site, NuScale aims to mass produce its reactors and then ship them to a power generation site for assembly and operation. NuScale has deployed a modular design for its small reactors, with each module no larger than 65 feet (20 m) high and nine feet (2.7 m) in diameter. Each of these modules can generate 50 MW of energy, and a power plant can have between four and 12 such modules to provide a total output of 600 MW.

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