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Eyes Wide Shut: Problems with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems Proposal to Construct NuScale Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

AuteurRamana
6-01-3-60-09.pdf
DatumAugust 2020
Classificatie 6.01.3.60/09 (NUCLEAR SAFETY - REACTORS - OTHER TYPES, SMALL MODULAR REACTORS)
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Uit de publicatie:

Eyes Wide Shut:
Problems with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems Proposal
to Construct NuScale Small Modular Nuclear Reactors
M. V. Ramana


Executive Summary
NuScale Power, a small modular nuclear reactor development firm based in 
Portland, Oregon, is seeking approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory 
Commission for the design of their initial reactor model. The company has 
an agreement with the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), 
a collection of small publicly-owned municipal utilities in Utah, California, 
Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming, to deploy a first-of-its-kind plant 
of a dozen 60-megawatt (MW) pressurized water reactors grouped in a common 
containment facility at the Idaho National Laboratory site, assisted by a 
proposed power purchase agreement to sell some of the output to the US 
Department of Energy. As of August 2020, UAMPS has not found subscribers for 
all the power that this plant would produce if constructed.

The proposal is being pursued at a time when the American nuclear power 
industry has stalled, and two nuclear power plant projects initiated in 
Georgia and South Carolina have ended up costing many billions of dollars more 
than promised. The latter project has been abandoned, after $9 billion had been 
spent on the project, when Westinghouse entered into bankruptcy protection, and 
left ratepayers with a huge debt obligation much of which will likely be 
included in their power bills. The former project has doubled in cost and in its 
construction timeline, and is still not complete. These add to the longstanding 
and consistent questions about the cost competitiveness of new build nuclear power. 

NuScale’s nearly 20 year-long history of changing reactor design offers reasons to 
be similarly concerned about its costs and timeline.