We are pleased to observe that the mounting demand for clean and reliable base load energy generation is fueling strong interest from many countries that view our inherently safe and economically viable SMR-160 small modular reactor (SMR) as the solution for reducing their carbon footprint.
A recent example of the burgeoning interest in our SMR-160 is an agreement that Holtec inked with ÚJV Řež, a company that is part of the ČEZ Group and majority owned by the Czech Republic government, for the evaluation of our SMR-160 reactor for deployment in the country. The Czech Republic is currently developing a project for a new nuclear unit for the Dukovany Nuclear Power Station and is strongly committed to increasing nuclear generation capacity in the next few decades.
“Small modular reactors are being strongly considered as part of the Czech Republic’s efforts to increase nuclear capacity,” said Dr. Rick Springman, Holtec’s SVP of International Projects. “This agreement will provide for technical exchange and cooperation, focusing on the licensing pathway and project assessment for SMR-160 to provide the country with a safe and secure source of clean energy in the future.”
In another case, Holtec has joined a consortium with 15 major companies to establish the Moorside Clean Energy Hub in North West England. At the center of the Hub’s plan is a number of nuclear projects at Moorside, including a new UK-EPR pressurized water reactor together with potentially a clutch of small modular reactors and other innovative technologies. It is believed that co-locating innovative new technologies alongside the UK-EPR will bring together a range of skills, experience and industry knowledge to promote a clean energy ecosystem in the Northwest of England.
“Holtec’s SMR-160 is the perfect candidate for the Hub as the consortium looks to develop and deploy SMRs at the site,” said Springman. “This is also an opportunity for HI-POWER, our manufacturing subsidiary co-owned with Eos, to implement a battery energy storage facility at Moorside utilizing Eos’s patented Zynth® (zinc hybrid cathode) technology-based aqueous batteries.”
The above two announcements follow a previous agreement that Holtec established last year with the Ukraine’s national nuclear operator, NAEK Energoatom, and the country’s State Scientific and Technology Center (SSTC), to form a consortium partnership to lead the deployment of the SMR-160 in Ukraine.
Discussions are also underway with top policy makers in India to deploy hundreds of SMR-160s throughout the subcontinent to generate geographically dispersed clean energy. With its small footprint (4.5 acres per reactor) and its ability to be operated without a natural water source, SMR-160 provides an ideal solution to the vast nation’s skyrocketing energy needs. “We are poised to build major components for SMR-160 locally to accord with Prime Minister Modi’s national manufacturing drive,“ says Holtec’s SVP Jyoti Chatterjee based in Pune, India.
The SMR-160 is a light-water based pressurized small modular reactor, which generates 160 MWe (525 MWth). The essential differentiator of the design is its absolute safety, which is essential to garnering public support and regulatory approval for diversified applications and distributed generation. Unlike today’s operating plants, the SMR-160 is designed such that all the cooling water needed for safe shutdown of the plant, under even the most severe accident scenarios, is integral to the plant and securely located to prevent the reactor from overheating. The plant safety systems that access SMR-160’s cooling water reserve are passive, meaning they operate under the force of gravity to enable cooling of the heat generated from reactor operations. In short, the safety of SMR-160 is passive and intrinsic to the design.
SMR-160 has completed the Vendor Design Review (VDR) Phase 1 process in Canada and the licensing process is underway with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Holtec thanks the U.S. Department of Energy for their partial funding of a test program to benchmark the safety analysis codes against a physical mockup of the SMR-160 in support of the licensing process.
The development of SMR-160 has been led since 2013 by Thomas Marcille, previously of Los Alamos National Lab and NuScale Power. MEPPI, the U.S. subsidiary of Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (Japan) and Kiewit Engineers and Constructors of Kansas City are key partners. SVP Pierre Oneid and SVP Jyoti Chatterjee are in charge of SMR-160’s adoption efforts in North America and Asia, respectively. An illustrious group of the nuclear industry’s technology leaders organized under the Holtec Advisory Council render critical oversight of the reactor’s development to ensure that the promise of SMR-160 is met by the reality of its design.