NuScale debuts but requires 'a lot of funding' to launch a small nuclear reactor in 2029 - Utility Dive

NuScale debuts but requires ‘a lot of funding’ to launch a small nuclear reactor in 2029 – Utility Dive

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The collapse of the Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 put the nail in the coffin for the construction of large nuclear power plants with similar technologies in the United States, according to nuclear power proponents and regulators. That disaster, along with previous accidents and persistent delays and cost overruns at the Vogtel nuclear plant in Georgia, have added the tailwind to moving nuclear technology known as Modular Small Reactors to market. The drive for decarbonization, combined with the war in Ukraine and Europe’s loss of Russian natural gas supplies, has fueled interest in the base loading capacity that can come from SMRs.

The leading US SMR technology developer went public last month, and is the first such company to do so. The revamped NuScale Power entered the stock market May 3 after merging with special-purpose acquisition firm Spring Valley Acquisition. NuScale is farther in the Nuclear Regulatory Authority approval process for any company developing SMR technology.

Being the first publicly traded company to design and deploy SMR technology was a “historic moment” for the company, enabling it to accelerate its “efforts to help meet the world’s urgent clean energy needs,” John Hopkins, NuScale President and CEO, said during announcing its IPO. . Fluor Corporation is the largest investor in the company.

But reactions to NuScale’s trading on the New York Stock Exchange have been mixed. Some analysts have heralded the prospects for the company’s small reactors to help achieve clean energy goals with zero-carbon nuclear power in the United States and abroad. Others insist that NuScale reactors are just a smaller version of today’s dangerous and expensive nuclear power plants, which generate long-lived radioactive waste.

ahead of competitors

Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear energy safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the company is outperforming its SMR competitors because it uses existing light water reactor technology but is also “fighting economies of scale.” While this type of SMR at 77 megawatts is less expensive than a large light water reactor, electricity from SMR is more expensive because its expected costs are prohibitive and much less energy will be sold, he added. This causes NuScale to seek “lower costs to the bone,” which puts safety at risk, he said.

“There is an astonishing division among people on every side of the issue” over whether going public with NuScale is an important step toward commercializing its technology, said Richard Rees, senior advisor at technology consultancy ARC Advisory Group.

SMR from NuScale and those being developed by other companies entail technology that allows for modular construction, with small reactor units installed side by side. This is expected to allow for faster and less costly construction, according to the Department of Energy. Small and medium-sized reactors are small reactors with a capacity of up to 300 megawatts, according to the World Nuclear Association.

“Envisioned economies of scale due to numbers produced,” and World Nuclear Association He said about SMR technologies last month. The Department of Energy said in late 2018 that it would support the NuScale project over several years with 1.4 billion dollars. But the proposed budget for fiscal year 2023 would save NuScale just $40 million, according to the agency.

Supporters and critics say the company’s first SMR isn’t expected to come online before 2029, and requires significant funding to stay afloat until then.

“They need a lot of funding because their first reactor won’t start operating until 2029,” said Reese, a nuclear engineer who has worked on several large projects. The public offering, he added, is “a measure of confidence in the company, which is essential to their future.”

NuScale’s share price has fluctuated between $8.56 and $11.23 since it went public. Right before its public launch, NuScale was being held in high esteem 2 billion dollars. Its market value at the end of May was $2.16 billion.

‘As a result of business combination [with Spring Valley]Diane Hughes, the company’s vice president of communications, said NuScale received total revenue of approximately $380 million.

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