NuScale Power of Portland and Corvallis, the only US-based company that was created solely to commercialize small modular reactor (SMR) technology, offers a safer, simpler and less expensive alternative to traditional nuclear power plant development. Recently having received $226 million in funding from the United States Department of Energy, NuScale was awarded the funds after a competitive bidding process and will apply them to develop and commercialize a nuclear SMR. Research for the reactor was pioneered by OSU professor Jose Reyes.
SMRs fulfill Reyes’ decade-old vision of nuclear power that can be factory-made, transported easily, and grouped together to produce up to 540 megawatts of power. According to the NuScale website, their company was chosen in order to develop a technology that will maximize safety and natural hazard resistance. Amongst these technologies are safety systems that aim to successfully manage consequences from events like the earthquake that led to the Fukushima disaster – some based on utilizing natural forces like gravity and convection for shutdown procedures. These systems are based on OSU research from the 1990s, which is already being used in nuclear reactors worldwide.
OSU President Edward J. Ray calls DOE support for NuScale a vote of confidence in the relationships the university has built with the private sector. He adds that such relationship opportunities are expected to grow with a new university initiative called the OSU Advantage. This initiative, in partnership with the Oregon State University Advantage, connects businesses with faculty expertise, student aptitude, and world-class research and development facilities like NuScale.
by Kristen Daly