The future of small modular reactors just received a major boost from the Department of Energy. Struggling in recent weeks after the collective decision by the Utah Associated Municipal Power System (UAMPS) to scrap its acceptance to be the pilot program for leading small modular reactor (SMR) designer and startup, NuScale Power, the company was under duress concerning its future here in the U.S. (Canada has completed its licensing process with NuScale for a SMR project to bring the cutting-edge technology across the border). But that future is a bit brighter now after the Trump administration’s directive for the DOE to award a $1.4 billion grant to alleviate the financial burden of testing the new technology.
The award is to be distributed over ten years and will go directly to UAMPS, in conjunction with the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) site that is already building the world’s first SMR site at Idaho National Laboratories. “We appreciate this tremendous vote of confidence in CFPP by the Department of Energy, says Douglas Hunter, CEO of UAMPS, “It is entirely appropriate for DOE to help de-risk this first-of-a kind, next-generation nuclear project that will provide affordable, carbon-free electricity all over the country and the world. This project is much bigger than UAMPS itself.”
The Washington Examiner offered a similar take on the announcement, saying in an article released this past week that the 10 year distribution “Could be manageable given that bipartisan majorities have supported NuScale over the years for its potential to prove the viability of small reactors, an emissions-free technology of a type that has never been deployed and expected to be safer and cheaper than traditional large nuclear projects that have struggled economically.”
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