Powering Strong Communities

Nebraska Public Power District Launches Siting Study for Small Modular Reactors

Nebraska Public Power District is beginning the process of studying sites that could have the potential to host advanced small modular nuclear reactors, it said on Jan. 13.

Under Nebraska legislative bill 1014, the State of Nebraska allocated $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding to complete a siting study for small modular reactors.

As an owner of a current operating nuclear power plant, Cooper Nuclear Station, NPPD qualified to apply for these funds to complete the siting study. NPPD’s application for funding was approved by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development on January 6.

The first phase of the siting study involves doing a Nebraska-wide assessment to determine the 15 best locations for siting small modular reactors based on geographic data and preliminary licensing criteria. Some of the key criteria being considered will be access to water and transmission lines among many others. This phase is estimated to be completed in spring of 2023.

The second phase of the study will perform a more in-depth evaluation and will focus on reducing the number of sites from 15 to four. This effort includes detailed field environmental and constructability evaluations based on criteria used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when licensing nuclear plants. This phase of the study is estimated to take approximately a year to complete.

NPPD will be completing the study with the help of engineering firm, Burns & McDonnell, which has experience in the development and design of advanced small modular reactors.

TVA Enters Agreement With GE Hitachi Related To Potential Deployment Of Small Modular Reactor

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 2022 entered a two-party agreement with GE Hitachi to support TVA's planning and preliminary licensing for a potential deployment of a BWRX-300 small modular reactor at the Clinch River Nuclear site and provide additional information needed as TVA continues to analyze the viability of SMRs, subject to future TVA board approval.

This follows an April 2022 collaboration agreement with Ontario Power Generation to support the development of small modular reactors as an effective long-term source of 24/7 carbon-free energy in both Canada and the U.S.

Carbon-Free Power Project

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems has also been pursuing SMRs.

The UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project is a nuclear plant to be located at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls Idaho. It will comprise of up to six 77 megawatt NuScale Power Modules.

The NuScale Power Modules provides flexibility to ramp up and down as needed to follow load and complement intermittent renewable resources like wind, and solar. The first module is anticipated to be on-line in 2029 with the remaining modules being installed in 2030.