NuScale small modular reactor

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The NuScale small modular reactor is a smaller version of a standard Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR). This article will address the issues raised in the parent article Nuclear power reconsidered. Information is from the company website,[1] factsheet,[2] and 2020 Status Report to the IAEA.[3]

Diagram and specifications for the reactor.

The NuScale Power Module (NPM) is a 250 megawatts thermal (MWt) integral pressurized water reactor (IPWR) that employs gravity-driven natural circulation of the primary coolant for both normal operation and shutdown mode. The NPM, including containment, is fully factory-built and shipped to the plant site by truck, rail, or barge.


Accidental overheating.
• In a station blackout condition, the NPM safely shuts down and self-cools indefinitely—with no operator action, AC/DC power, or additional water needed.
• The feedwater and steam exit valves will close in the event of an emergency situation, and a secondary set of valves will open to depressurize steam from the reactor core into the containment vessel surrounding the reactor.[4]
• Natural circulation for normal operation eliminates the need for large primary piping and reactor coolant pumps.
• Each NPM houses approximately 5 percent of the nuclear fuel of a conventional 1,000 MWe nuclear reactor.

• NPMs are submerged in a below-grade pool of water housed in a Seismic Category 1, aircraft impact resistant building that serves as the ultimate heat sink for core cooling.

Waste Management

Same as existing Pressurized Water Reactors.

Weapons Proliferation

Same as existing Pressurized Water Reactors.


Specs for a 500MWe plant:
Plant cost per KW (including building but not land, permits or licensing):[5]
Operating cost per KWh (including fuel and maintenance):
Initial fuel load:
Fuel consumption per day:

Notes and References

  1. NuScale Media Resources
  2. NuScale SMR Factsheet
  3. NuScale Status Report IAEA ARIS Database 2020.
  4. 01 Aug 2022
  5. $20K per kW, according to The NuScale Debacle Jack Devanney, Feb 2023.