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Energy Department, NuScale complete agreement on small modular reactors


From the May 29, 2014 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published May 29, 2014

By Jeannine Anderson
Editor, Public Power Daily

NuScale Power LLC announced yesterday that it has finalized an agreement with the Department of Energy under a DOE cost-sharing program to encourage the development of small modular reactor designs. The company's first planned project is in Idaho, with two public power partners: Energy Northwest of Richland, Wash., and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems of Salt Lake City.

NuScale was selected last December as the sole winner of funding from DOE in the second round of the program. The agreement calls for NuScale to receive up to $217 million in matching funds over a five-year period. The company said it will use the money to do engineering and testing work needed for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's design certification process.

NuScale said it expects to submit the application for design certification in the second half of 2016. That would allow the Idaho project to begin commercial operation in 2023, the company said.

"We are pleased to have completed this agreement, initiating our partnership with DOE to develop a global-leadership position for American products in the small modular reactor market," said John Hopkins, NuScale Power’s chairman and chief executive officer.

"Small modular reactors represent a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology and provide a strong opportunity for America to lead this emerging global industry," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz when he announced NuScale’s selection late last year.

A nuclear power plant using the NuScale small modular reactor technology is made up of individual power modules that each produce 45 megawatts of electricity. A power plant could include as many as 12 of these modules and could produce as much as 540 MW. The reactor coolant is driven by natural circulation and can be shut down safely with no operator action, no AC or DC power, and no external water, the company said.

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