South Korea and Saudi sign SMART deal; NuScale targets Canada with SMR design

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know.

South Korea and Saudi Arabia sign revised SMART deal

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT) has signed a revised contract with Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) to establish a joint entity for the construction of its SMART SMR in the Kingdom.

SMART (System-integrated Modular Advanced Reactor) is a 330 MWt pressurised water reactor with integral steam generators and advanced safety features. The unit is designed for electricity generation (up to 100 MWe) as well as thermal applications, such as seawater desalination, with a 60-year design life and three-year refuelling cycle.

The Ministry said the amendment was due to Saudi Arabia requesting the participation of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power (KHNP) in the project, due to their reactor experience.

Under the revised pre-project engineering (PPE) contract, before the launch of the joint venture – named SMART EPC – KHNP will lead projects to refine the reactor design, license its use for deployment and develop business models and infrastructure, as well as promote exports to other countries.

These exports could be accelerated due to both countries agreeing on a shortened review process for design approval for SMART.

“We will reorganize the project promotion system by clarifying the participation and role of KHNP through the revision of the PPE agreement and the signing of the standard design approval agreement,” said MSIT director Choi Won-ho.

Developed by the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI), SMART received standard design approval from the Korean regulator in mid-2012. KAERI had planned to build a demonstration plant to operate from 2017.

NuScale submits SMR design to Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission

NuScale has made its first submittal to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) for pre-licensing vendor design review (VDR) of its SMR design.

This submission reflects the substantive work that NuScale continues to accomplish in the regulatory field as the company is simultaneously bringing the U.S.’s first NuScale power plant into production and operation by 2026.
“Interest in building NuScale plants in Canada continues to grow. This pre-licensing process allows our design to be reviewed by another highly respected regulator, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and we look forward to their thorough evaluation of our innovative safety features,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins. 

“We are thrilled to continue our path forward to introduce our scalable, economic, carbon-free, and safe SMR technology to Canadian customers.”

Building on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) design certification application (DCA) process, the submission to CNSC will allow a potential customer to maximize increased efficiencies for technical reviews when later seeking to submit a construction license application, according to NuScale.

NuScale’s design is the world’s first SMR to undergo design certification review by the NRC, completing Phase 4 of its DCA in December. 

NuScale has signed an agreement with Bruce Power to develop a business case to support the company’s efforts to bring its SMR technology to Canada. Ontario Power Generation participates on the NuScale Advisory Board and provides advice on potential deployment in Canada, SMR licensing in Canada, and the CNSC vendor design review process.

Philippsburg preparing for decommission after scheduled shutdown

Unit 2 of the Philippsburg nuclear power plant in Germany will begin decommissioning in the second half of this year following disconnection on 31 December.

The planned shut down by operator EnBW came after 35 years of operation of the pressurized water reactor.

EnBW said this process – the same as that carried out prior to planned annual maintenance and refuelling outages – went technically as planned.

Since its commissioning, the unit has generated about 10 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. EnBW submitted an application in 2016 for decommissioning and dismantling Philippsburg 2. The dismantling will begin with the transfer of used fuel from the reactor's core to its storage pool. Dismantling of the primary coolant lines is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year. EnBW expects dismantling to take around 10 to 15 years.

Philippsburg 1 was one of eight reactors taken out of service at the order of Chancellor Angela Merkel days after Fukushima Daiichi in 2011.

“Together we have ensured 40 years of safe electricity production at the Philippsburg site with units 1 and 2,” said Jörg Michels, head of EnBW’s nuclear power division. “From now on, unit 2 will focus on safe and speedy dismantling - as has been the case with unit 1 since 2017.”

Nuclear Energy Insider