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NuScale, UAMPS terminate small modular reactor project in Idaho

A NuScale reactor module. The company and its partner, the  Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, announced Wednesday that they had decided to terminate a 462 MW small modular reactor project in Idaho. Permission granted by NuScale Power, LLC

NuScale and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems determined that the 462-MW project would likely not reach a sufficient subscription level to continue toward deployment.

NuScale Power and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems announced Wednesday that they’ve agreed to terminate the small modular reactor Carbon Free Power Project, or CFPP.

“Despite significant efforts by both parties to advance the CFPP, it appears unlikely that the project will have enough subscription to continue toward deployment. Therefore, UAMPS and NuScale have mutually determined that ending the project is the most prudent decision for both parties,” NuScale and UAMPS said in a press release.

Nuscale said in March that it would need to reach an 80% subscription level by February 2024 for the project, which was expected to include six 77-MW modules for a total of 462 MW and be built at the Department of Energy’s Idaho National Lab.

The project, which was expected to be the first commercial SMR in the U.S. faced rising costs. In January, NuScale raised the target price for power from the SMR to $89/MWh from $58/MWh, citing a “changing financial landscape for the development of energy projects nationwide.”

Despite the termination of the CFPP, NuScale President and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins said Wednesday during NuScale’s Q3 earnings call that the company is focused on deploying its SMR modules and is “poised to expand into new markets, applications and capabilities.” Hopkins highlighted a number of other partnerships and projects, including plans to develop two NuScale VOYGR-12 power plants that will have a combined capacity of nearly 2 GW and power nearby data centers in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“Though there are risks to any project, the CFPP presented unique challenges that NuScale does not expect will be replicated with other customers,” Diane Hughes, vice president of marketing and communications at NuScale, said in a statement to Utility Dive.

Industry groups expressed disappointment but understanding of the decision.

“Innovation — particularly in new technologies — is defined by fits and starts. And innovation in next-generation nuclear is no different,” a spokesperson for the Nuclear Energy Institute said in an email.

Source: Utility Dive