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Mini nuclear reactors might be the next step in carbon-free energy. Could be safer too.

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Mini nuclear reactors might be the next step in carbon-free energy. Could be safer too.

Watch|  In a huge step toward the development of the next generation of nuclear power technology, Oregon-based NuScale Power has requested the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to approve the company's small modular reactor commercial plant design. 

We really believe that this is a game changer for our nation.
Dr. Jose Reyes, NuScale chief technology officer

This is the first design application of its kind submitted for NRC approval and its been nine years in the making, affiliate KVAL reported. The NRC review is expected to take 40 months. 

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Dr. Jose Reyes, NuScale's chief technology officer, claimed their new design is much safer than traditional nuclear power plants and could be a game changer for production of carbon-free energy in the U.S. 

"This plant will safely shut itself down without any operator action, without any AC or DC power," Reyes said. 

This type of design would have prevented the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, one of the disaster scenarios NuScale found.

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"It's a relatively simple concept: a reactor inside of a thermos bottle, underwater, underground," Reyes said. 

I believe this will happen, Reyes said. My level of confidence today is very high.
Dr. Jose Reyes, NuScale chief technology officer

NuScale and its main investor, Fluor Corporation, have invested $500 million into the project and grants from the Department of Energy have also helped in the research.  

Reyes said if all goes according to plan, the first power plant based on this technology would be built and up and running in Idaho by 2026.

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