DOE approves $1.4B award to help demonstrate and deploy a 12-module NuScale nuclear power plant; construction to begin in 2025
The US Department of Energy (DOE) approved a multi-year cost share award to a new special purpose entity named Carbon Free Power Project, LLC, (CFPP) an entity wholly owned by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), that could provide up to $1.4 billion to help demonstrate and deploy a 12-module, 720 MWe NuScale power plant located at Idaho National Laboratory.
The 12 small modular reactors in the project will provide the flexibility to ramp up and down as needed to follow load and complement intermittent renewable supply.
Energy from the project will replace electric generation from coal plants that are nearing the end of their life cycles. The CFPP, combined with UAMPS renewable projects, will enable many members to completely decarbonize their energy portfolios.
NuScale Power is developing a new modular light water reactor to supply reliable and abundant carbon-free nuclear energy. The small modular reactor (SMR) design features a fully fabricated NuScale Power Module capable of generating 60 MW of electricity using a safer, smaller, scalable version of pressurized water reactor technology.
The SMR design is scalable, allowing customers to incrementally increase facility output to match demand. A NuScale power plant can house up to 12 SMRs—as in this project—for a total facility output of up to 720 megawatts (gross).
The billion award, allocated over 10 years, will fund the one-time costs for the first-of-a-kind project, as funds are appropriated by Congress, to reflect what second and subsequent NuScale plants would cost. This will help ensure that the levelized cost of energy target price of $55 MWh can be achieved at a level of risk UAMPS can manage.
That price makes the CFPP competitive with other non- intermittent dispatchable energy sources like combined cycle natural gas plants, but without greenhouse gas emissions. It will ensure long-term affordable energy to UAMPS member participants while avoiding exposure to greenhouse regulation and compliance costs.
The agreement serves as a funding vehicle and is subject to future appropriations by Congress. Construction for UAMPS’ Carbon Free Power Project is expected to begin in December 2025, with the first power module operating at the lab by 2029.
DOE’s recent agreement for UAMPS’ Carbon Free Power Project is a big step forward in helping to lower the risk of first-of-a-kind advanced nuclear technologies like NuScale Power. Global leadership starts at home and this project will be instrumental in the deployment of SMRs around the world.—Dr. Rita Baranwal, the Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy