Curtiss-Wright signs up for SMR work

13 November 2012

NuScale Power has enlisted engineering company Curtiss-Wright to design the control rod drive mechanisms (CRDMs) for its proposed small modular reactor (SMR).

NuScale SMR cutaway
A cutaway of a NuScale SMR
(Image: NuScale)

Under a contract signed with NuScale, Curtiss-Wright will design the CRDMs - which control the insertion and removal of control rod assemblies into reactors - at its plant in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. The initial contract covers just the design phase of the program.

Curtiss-Wright has supplied over 5000 mechanisms to nuclear power plants around the world, including the first-ever installation on a reactor head in the USA.

NuScale is developing a 45 MWe self-contained pressurized water reactor and generator set, which would be factory made and shipped for deployment in sets of up to 12. These could result in scalable nuclear power plants with capacities from 45 MWe to 540 MWe.

The reactor unit uses conventional nuclear fuel assemblies of under 5% uranium-235, which would require replacement only after about two years. The core would be cooled by natural circulation, requiring fewer components and safety systems.

NuScale is one of three developers of SMR technology - the other two being Babcock & Wilcox and Westinghouse - who have submitted applications to the US Department of Energy for funding to support first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News