SMR-160, LLC, based in Camden, NJ, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Holtec International (United States). SMR LLC’s designated activities include establishing business alliances with other companies, securing regulatory acceptance, business and project management of reactor projects, and promoting global acceptance of SMR-160.
As its name implies, SMR-160 is a small modular reactor with 160 MW(e) rated electric output. In physical size, it is minuscule compared to the operating nuclear reactors, occupying a mere 6 acres of land for a two unit site (total electrical output: 320 MW(e) and 4.5 acres for a single unit installation). True to its name, SMR-160 is truly modular: each reactor unit is entirely autonomous of others at a multi-unit site. And, as is true of all nuclear plants, it provides pollution-free energy.
Traditional reactors reject waste heat to natural bodies of water, making it virtually impossible to deploy them in the arid regions of the world. Recognizing that over two-thirds of the earth’s land mass is water-challenged, SMR-160 has been designed to reject its waste heat directly to the ambient air, if desired. The air cooling capability unfetters SMR-160 from having to be sited in the vicinity of a natural body of water. Thus, SMR-160 can be deployed anywhere in the world, no matter how barren: examples of dry areas include the vast tundra of north Asia, deserts of the Middle East, the highlands of the American west, western China, western India, the hinterlands of Australia, among others.
The placement of fissile materials below the earth’s surface for the SMR-160 provides the first hint of recognition by its technology developers of the widening circle of conflict and terrorism that stalks humankind in the 21st century. Further, the developers of SMR-160 understand that locating the nuclear materials deep in the ground must be merely the first barrier of security. To make it truly impregnable against any hazard hurled at it by the nature or by human malevolence, the SMR-160 plant must be “walk away safe” in the wake of any conceivable accident, regardless of the actuating cause. Nuclear engineers use the term “coping period” to define the length of time a reactor struck by an overpowering accident can maintain its radioactive confinement on its own before human intervention must arrive. The new generation of large reactors boast coping periods as high as one week. SMR-160 overcomes this coping limitation, taking plant safety to the extreme with unlimited, walk-away cooling. Holtec International has 30 years of experience and expertise designing, licensing, fabricating and delivering vertically ventilated nuclear fuel storage systems within integrated steel-concrete containment casks, to nuclear power plant clients around the world. The SMR-160 uses this same proven and tested solution to facilitate unlimited heat rejection from all the plants nuclear fuel, within a stout vertically ventilated Containment Enclosure Structure. In short, SMR-160 is the nuclear power plant solution for the future, with absolute certainty through proven performance, regardless of the severity of an accident or event.
It is the unconditional safety of SMR-160 that gives us the confidence that it will become the transformative technology in this century that will erase the fear of nuclear energy’s safety even among the most skeptical segment of the populace. Banishing the fear of safety from the public’s consciousness, we believe, will finally enable humanity to cheerfully access, via SMR-160, the boundless amount of clean energy locked up in the vast deposits of uranium in the earth’s crust.
To anchor its supreme safety credentials on a firm footing, SMR-160 utilizes our planet’s all-pervasive gravity as the motive force to run the plant. This passive design attribute extends to all of the plant’s thermal-hydraulic systems within the SMR-160 plant. The fact that SMR-160’s developers have leveraged gravity across all facets of the plant’s design lies at the heart of SMR-160’s operational reliability and differentiates it sharply from its peers.
The most elegant equations that reveal natural laws, it is said, are disarmingly simple. The same is true of a nuclear power plant: SMR-160 is comprised of less than half the number safety significant systems used in a typical nuclear plant. Accordingly, SMR-160 is incomparably easier to operate and costs substantially less on a per kW basis than a large nuclear plant. Thanks to its low capital cost and ease of operation, Holtec remains bullish on the prospect of SMR-160’s global industry acceptance even in this age of “fracked” gas and cheap fossil fuels.
PSEG, which is the operator of the three unit Salem and Hope Creek plant sites in Southern New Jersey, is an early supporter of SMR-160. PSEG entered into a long term teaming arrangement with Holtec International in 2013 to help its development.