Fortum and MIT launch SMR modelling project

07 October 2020

Finnish utility Fortum and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have entered into a three-year cooperation to create an open source tool for techno-economic modelling of small modular reactor projects.

SMR concept (Image: Fortum)

Current SMR designs in the industry feature many new and exciting innovations in the areas of manufacturing, siting and construction, Fortum noted. Gaining a more in-depth understanding of these new features and determining which to focus on will be critical in ensuring the feasibility and success of these projects, it said.

"We are excited to start this SMR cooperation project with MIT. They have done extensive work in, for example, identifying the cost drivers of new nuclear," said Konsta Värri, project manager at Fortum. "We hope that making the modelling tool open source will drive the nuclear sector forward and a step closer to making SMRs a reality."

Koroush Shirvan, principal investigator at MIT, added: "SMR's have the potential to reduce the risk to cost overruns by leveraging their smaller and simpler designs. However, reducing risk alone is not enough and they must still provide competitive cost to meet market demands. We hope to explore this relationship between risk and cost within our multidisciplinary team."

At MIT, the project will be performed in collaboration between researchers in nuclear science and engineering and the civil and environmental engineering departments.

In January this year, Fortum, Estonia's Fermi Energia and Belgian engineering company Tractebel agreed to start enhanced cooperation on studying SMR deployment project in Estonia. Research will focus on a licensing model suitable for SMRs and a preliminary siting study for light-water SMR deployment.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News