The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted a design certification application for a Small Modular Reactor (SMR) by NuScale Power, a company that designs SMRs. The NRC’s acceptance marks a major milestone for the first ever SMR design to attempt obtaining US certification, and while the certification process can take up to 40 months, it would be a significant development for nuclear technology in the US. There are many advantages attributed to SMRs, including that they are largely viewed as economical, are factory built and shippable, flexible enough to desalinate seawater, have the ability to refine oil and produce hydrogen, and are scalable so that the power plant can be made any size. Arguably the most significant advantage, however, is that the reactor cannot melt down, and therefore virtually eliminates any emergency situation in which radioactive gases would be released into the environment.
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