NuScale Unveils Potential for SMRs in Major Industrial Processes

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The company's research reveals novel capabilities for utilizing its carbon-free SMR technology with superheated steam in challenging-to-decarbonize sectors.

New findings from NuScale Power highlight the advanced abilities of the company's small modular reactors (SMRs) for mitigating emissions in industrial sectors, a key aspect in achieving global climate objectives. The research, spearheaded by Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer Dr. José Reyes, revealed that NuScale's SMRs could potentially be used in a broad array of high-temperature industrial processes not previously considered feasible with light water reactor (LWR) technology.

Such processes include heavy-to-light oil conversion, bulk plastic waste recycling, heavy oil dissolution to produce gasoline additives, and light plastics utilization for the regeneration of products like synthesis gas. This capability presents oil refiners and chemical companies with innovative ways to decarbonize their operations and products utilizing carbon-free nuclear energy.

According to NuScale's study, steam produced by a single NuScale Power Module can be condensed and heated to generate process steam at commercially viable scales, temperatures, and pressures. Typically, the lower steam temperatures and pressures produced by an LWR necessitate conditioning before injection into high-temperature/high-pressure processes. Dr. Reyes and his team discovered that a single NPM, generating 250 MWt, can produce over 500,000 lb/hr of steam at 1,500 psia and 500ºC (932oF), with potential to extend production to 2,400 psia and over 650ºC (1200oF). In a 12-module, VOYGR-12 plant, 3 GW of thermal power is produced, delivering both electrical power and substantial volumes of superheated steam from a plant that can be safely located near large-scale industrial processes.

Dr. Reyes shared, “The compression heating systems proposed through this research are an optimal application for NuScale's VOYGR plants and could further broaden the role of LWRs in worldwide decarbonization initiatives. These new findings reinforce the application case for NuScale's advanced SMR technology.”


NuScale continues to investigate the augmented flexibility, reliability, and economics of multi-module steam generation complemented by cost-effective and high-efficiency steam compression and heating. The company is currently partnering with end-users of steam, electric power, and hydrogen to evaluate and optimize Integrated Energy Systems, aiming to support industry clean energy objectives at a commercial scale.

VOYGR plants can be located closer to end-users, which reduces heat losses due to steam transport and results in a higher efficiency industrial energy system.