Holtec’s Dual-Unit SMR-300 Small Modular Nuclear Plant in Perspective View
Buoyed by the State of Michigan’s commitment to expand in-state carbon-free generation as well as by the broad-based federal, state, and community support for repowering the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, we have started the program to build our first two SMR-300 reactor units at the Palisades site. The existing Palisades plant refurbished with an array of enhancements is on track to be restarted by the end of 2025 and is designed to provide decades of safe and reliable service. The addition of two Holtec small modular reactors (SMRs) near the existing 800-megawatt (MW) plant will nearly double the Michigan site’s total carbon-free generation capacity.
Holtec’s twin SMR-300 reactors are designed to produce a minimum of 300 MW (net-electric) power under the most adverse climate conditions and water-challenged regions (forcing the use of air instead of water for rejection of the plant’s waste heat). The thermal output per reactor is well above 1000 MW. The filing of the Construction Permit Application (CPA) for the two Holtec Palisades SMRs is targeted for 2026, shortly after the existing Palisades plant returns to service. Target commissioning date for the first SMR-300 plant is mid-2030, subject to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) regulatory reviews and oversight of our SMR, which is likely to be the nuclear industry’s first.
“Siting the first two SMR-300 units at Palisades eliminates the delays associated with erecting the plant at an undeveloped property and confers the many benefits of synergy that accrue from the presence of a co-located operating plant – including shared infrastructure and operational expertise, enhancements to grid stability, and resource optimization. By building at our own site with our own credit and our own at-risk funds, we hope to deliver the dual-unit SMR-300 plant within schedule and budget – an outcome that has eluded our industry for a long time. We thank our federal, state, and community partners for their critical support, which have made the Palisades re-start and our pioneering SMR-300 construction in Michigan feasible,” says Holtec’s CEO, Dr. Kris Singh.
Holtec’s SMR has been in development since 2011 undergoing several design evolutions, the most recent of which is the incorporation of forced flow capability overlayed on gravity-driven flow in the plant’s primary system which has been the hallmark of Holtec’s SMR. The addition of booster pumps for normal operations does not change the plant’s essential safety features, as the pumps are not relied upon for safe shutdown operations. SMR-300 remains “walk-away safe” with its redundant passive safety systems that operate without any operator action nor any external source of electricity or cooling water. This power uprate has the added critical benefit of aligning the reactor’s embodiment with the existing U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, eliminating the need for certain exemptions from them, and thus making the uprated plant more conducive to timely licensing by the NRC and other overseas regulatory authorities. The SMR-300 reactor is intended to be deployable in virtually any terrain, including those with significant seismic loadings. The Plant is also readily adaptable for diverting all or some of its cycle steam for other purposes such as hydrogen production and industrial thermal needs.
The 700-acre Oyster Creek site, also owned by Holtec on Barnegat Bay in Central New Jersey, is another favored domestic location for early SMR-300 deployments, especially because of the strong support from the nuclear-savvy local communities that proudly hosted clean nuclear energy generation in their midst for nearly 50 years. That 600-MWe plant shutdown in 2018 and has been substantially decommissioned by Holtec at the present time. The focus for deployment of Holtec’s SMR-300 at Oyster Creek has turned to hydrogen production due to the ongoing electricity market dynamics. The technical assessments will advance deployment of SMR-300s at Oyster Creek to accord with the mission of a recent DOE award to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Clean Hydrogen Hub (MACH2), of which Holtec is a member.