Jeff Whitt is the Business Development / Operational Performance Manager in AREVA’s Fuel business unit and has been working with the NuScale project for AREVA for over three years.
Throughout your life, there are opportunities to see or be a part of things that may only happen once in a lifetime and have a unique place in history.
This past week, my colleague Jeff Reed, AREVA Project Manager for the NuScale Fuel Design Project, and I had the opportunity to witness one of those occasions at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. We were on hand to celebrate NuScale Power’s Design Certification Application (DCA) submittal to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for the first ever small modular reactor (SMR) design. This historic submittal will have a positive influence in the nuclear power industry for generations to come.
The event on Jan. 12 symbolized eight hard years of research and development for NuScale and all of its partners. Jeff and I considered it a privilege to sit amongst NuScale executives, members of Congress, representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, industry leaders, and the key contributors that helped make this event possible.
When Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.) specifically mentioned the contributions AREVA has made and our importance to this submittal, it was a reminder of the significant accomplishments our AREVA colleagues have made in helping NuScale meet their planned submittal. This was well-deserved recognition for the more than 100 individuals at AREVA who contributed to this project for the past several years. Our AREVA team has clearly demonstrated a “can do” attitude and innovative approach in achieving a significant amount of work on a very compressed schedule.
It has been refreshing to observe NuScale’s unwavering commitment to innovation and dedication to improving nuclear energy technology. These are some of the same principles that drive us at AREVA every day to meet our customers’ needs, and ones that drive our future for Delivering the Nuclear Promise.
Like any new technology or design, there were bumps in the road to reach the finish line. We understand – we’re no stranger to introducing new products to the market, most recently ATRIUM™11 and GAIA fuel designs. But our expertise in fuel design, licensing, and testing, and close working relationships with our various business units has again enabled us to adapt and deliver the highest quality products.
I have worked in the nuclear industry for more than 25 years, and I’m glad I got to be part of this event both professionally and personally. This was one of those unexpected moments in our careers that you can’t necessarily plan for or anticipate, but one that Jeff and I will always remember as a defining day in our industry.