Eyes Wide Shut: Problems with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems Proposal to Construct NuScale Small Modular Nuclear Reactors
|Classificatie||6.01.3.60/09 (VEILIGHEID - REACTOREN - REST TYPES, KLEINE REACTOREN (SMR))|
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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.