NuScale: small modular reactor breakthrough?

NuScale was founded in 2007 and is developing a small modular reactor (SMR), measuring 2.7m wide x 20m tall, weighting 700T and producing 250MWth of heat, for 77MWe of power. NuScale’s small modular reactor is part of a renaissance of new technology progress and pragmatism.

Recent progress is strong. It is the first design of its kind to win US regulatory approval, unlocking the first plants in 2029-30. In November-2021, plans were also announced to build SMRs in Romania, by 2028, displacing coal power.

NuScale’s patents scored well on our framework, with multiple, clear innovations to improve the safety, compactness and cost-effectiveness of SMRs. This could enable nuclear plants to be constructed for costs below $3,000/kW. Details that impressed us are in the data-file.

Our roadmap to net zero sees nuclear increasing from 2,800TWH in 2023 to 7,000TWH by 2050 at a 3% CAGR, with global useful energy demand growing by ca 50% to 120,000TWH in the same timeframe. But as old plants need to be continuously phased out and replaced, the real need for nuclear is higher. We think NuScale small modular reactor designs can be a part of supplying that demand while also abating CO2 emissions and displacing coal.

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