SMR-160 Delivers High Performance with a Smaller Footprint

Major features of SMR-160 include its small footprint (4.5 acres), minuscule site boundary dose, large inventory of water in the reactor coolant system and its modularity – allowing project owners the freedom to effectively build the number of units to meet current and future demand. Small physical plant size and the reduced scope of equipment and systems means a reduction in capital investment as well as security and maintenance costs as compared to operating plants.

Holtec continuously evaluates plant cost, to optimize the affordability of the design to compete with renewable and fossil energy generation in US and international markets. A primary objective is to enable a risk-informed plant design with significant improvements in safety, security, economics, and environmental impact over current operating plants.

Value engineering and risk-informed assessments have been performed and are a part of the SMR‑160 design development approach, including identifying opportunities to reduce cost and complexity of construction and operation of the plant, and modifying the plant specification to optimize the design for maximum safety and minimum capital and O&M cost.

Design Approach

Recognizing the critical need to reduce the capital cost of new nuclear power plants and SMRs, and  working closely with Kiewit Power Constructors, Holtec applies a design approach to develop the SMR‑160 plant design specification to utilize commercial design and construction codes and standards to the maximum extent possible, to eliminate unnecessary and costly nuclear design, procurement and operational direct and indirect costs. Power markets demand that new nuclear power plants be cost-competitive with alternate fuel and power sources. Compared to the current generation of large reactors, and by defining clear and concise functional system requirements for all plant SSCs, the SMR-160 power plant substantially reduces capital plant construction costs by maximizing the fraction of plant structures, systems and components amenable to the application of commercial codes and standards.  

Minimal Operation & Maintenance Cost (O&M)

SMR-160’s innovative design features reduce the burden for operations to achieve safety, reliability, and availability goals. The following features of SMR-160 significantly reduce O&M cost:

  • 80-year service life.
  • On-site underground storage of used fuel from 80or 100 years of operation
  • The primary system is based on natural convectioncirculation, eliminating the reactor coolant pumps and associated seals and components necessary to make them operate reliably
  • The steam generator provides superheated dry steam to preserve turbine blade life
  • All ASME welds in safety-related systems, structures, and components are located with inspectability in mind so that In-Service Inspection can be readily performed
  • The Containment is protected by a Containment Enclosure Structure engineered to withstand a crashing aircraft. 
  • All irradiated fuel not already in underground storage is located inside the Containment and protected by the Containment Enclosure Structure or in underground storage to meet for certain nuclear material safety and security requirements
  • SMR-160 uses state-of-the-art automated data collection and diagnostic tools to minimize emergent labor maintenance needs

The operational simplicity and modest outlay required to commission and operate SMR-160 will make it an ideal solution to deliver pollution-free nuclear energy to developing countries, help expand reliable and affordable supplies of energy to developed nations and sustain economic growth worldwide.

Short Construction Lifecycle

The time from “the first shovel in the ground to the completion of erection” is expected to be 36 months for the 1st SMR-160, with construction times reduced to 30 months or less for subsequent units, and with multiple units at a site only limited by site constraints or owner needs.

The short construction lifecycle is possible because all plant components are shop fabricated, easily transportable and site assembled. This means reduced lead times, assured delivery of high-quality products and reduction in cost.

Transportability and/or Manufacturing Approach 

Holtec has delivered turnkey engineered and licensed SSCs to the nuclear industry for more than three decades. As a result, Holtec has mature and quality assured manufacturing programs and processes, with a dedicated logistics organization that plans, coordinates, and ships procured and manufactured components to clients and project sites around the world. The largest SMR-160 piece of equipment by size and weight is the Steam Generator, and this is designed to be shipped as a single heavy module by rail, ship or road, consistent with Holtec logistic processes, and in strict accord with US and international transportation requirements, routes and limitations. This has an advantage over large reactors which require substantial on-site construction.