The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on July 29 directed staff to certify that NuScale's small modular reactor design "meets the agency's applicable safety requirements," bringing a new generation of nuclear development closer to reality.

Portland-based NuScale submitted its safety application to the NRC on Dec. 31, 2016. The company's design uses natural, "passive" processes such as convection and gravity in its operating systems and safety features, with capabilities of producing up to approximately 600 MW of electricity. Its 12 modules of 50 MW apiece are all submerged in a safety-related pool built below ground level, according to the NRC.

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Editor - Clearing Up

Steve began covering energy policy and resource development in the Pacific Northwest in 1999. He has been editor of Clearing Up since 2003, and has been a fellow at the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources and University of Texas.