Funded SMR project may be cut back

27 July 2021

It has been reported by local press that Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a co-operative that last year received nearly $1.3m in federal funding to pursue an SMR (small nuclear reactor) project to be built on property of the US Idaho National Laboratory, proposes to decrease the size of the plant, called the Carbon Free Power Project, from twelve to six small reactor modules. UAMPS says the move would cut the generating capacity of the plant by only about 138 to 462 MW. 

The question being raised is whether the reduction will raise the cost of SMR generation and cause backers such as the 36 public utilities that signed up to off-take the electricity to exit the deal. Several did back out last year, citing concerns over rising costs.

The designer and prospective builder of the SMR is NuScale Power, which is backed by major investors such as Fluor and Doosan Heavy Industries. Earlier this year, NuScale and UAMPS announced agreements to prepare for licensing of the Carbon Free Power Project plant

The proposed SMR design, which has received federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission design approval and is nearing the point when construction can begin, is being posited as a less expensive option than traditional large-scale nuclear reactor projects.

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