50MW SMNR approved. 77MW version in development


The NuScale SMR is furthest along in the licensing and planning processes, with the first reactors to be installed at the Idaho National Laboratory, as described in the OP link.

Another SMR design which seems to be progressing is the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300. As the name suggests, this is a 300 MW plant. Ontario Power Generation has applied for a construction license, to add onto the existing Darlington station east of Toronto.

  • Pete

For those of us who are not power systems engineers, 1 MW will power somewhere between 400 homes where air conditioning is used more heavily and 900 homes less reliant on AC.


In the US, figure AC is used VERY heavily–especially with ever-warmer year-round weather. So the issue becomes housing density to figure out what approximate demands for power could be. IMO, high rises would use more due to the elevators, 24 hour lighting, central AC, and more. The average hospital (according to a quick search–2003 data/pricing, so adjust appropriately) use(d) about 27.5MW of power per year. IMO, using more today (more “stuff” that is electrical/electronic, so higher usage). Efficiency helps but there are limits to the savings realized when adding lots more medical equipment requiring electricity.

Residential demand: 640 acres to a square mile. If a house is on an average piece of property (say 1/3 acre–arbitrary), that means ~1920 houses per square mile. Knock off 1/3 (arbitrary, again) to allow for streets, parks, police/fire stations, etc–so 1280 houses per square mile in a development. A 4MW SMNR could reasonably provide that demand for power with a modest cushion of extra capacity. So a 50MW could reasonably handle about 14k similar properties (with a moderate cushion to allow for future power demands by existing properties).

As the earliest units are not until the end of this decade at the earliest, we won’t have any way to evaluate their effectiveness until well into the 2030s to 2040s.

1 Like

In other small modular nuclear reactor news, GE-Hitachi recently announced a contract with Ontario Power Generation.

From the link:
WILMINGTON, North Carolina—January 27, 2023—GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), SNC-Lavalin and Aecon have signed a contract for the deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) at OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project site. This is the first commercial contract for a grid-scale SMR in North America.

& & & & & &

I’m not sure about the claim of the “first commercial contract for a grid-scale SMR in North America”. NuScale is still progressing with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) for their first project in Idaho. I guess it depends on the definition of “commercial contract”. The agreements with UAMPS might be along the lines of Memorandums of Understanding, or something. Regardless, the Idaho project remains on track, though there might be some cost increases just from the overall systemic inflation affecting the entire economy.

& & & & & &

There was another thread here recently about GE and problems with its wind turbine business. With this Canadian project, maybe GE (with Hitachi) is getting back into the nuclear reactor business?

  • Pete