November 21, 2022
The latest cost estimate for a project to build the first NuScale small modular reactor (SMR) power plant in the United States underscores the need for scalable advanced nuclear technology that can produce cleaner, safer and more cost-effective energy, said NuScale Power CEO.
What a VOYGR-6 facility at the Idaho National Laboratory might look like (Image: UAMPS)
“Earlier this fall, the latest cost estimate for the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) was completed with our partners Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and Fluor Corporation. The cost estimate is currently being reviewed by UAMPS and the CFPP project team and underscores the need for a scalable advanced nuclear technology capable of producing cleaner, safer and cheaper energy,” said John Hopkins in a message addressed to “colleagues, partners and friends”.
The UAMPS project, to be built near Idaho Falls, Idaho, will employ six of NuScale’s 77 MWe VOYGR modules to generate 462 MWe of carbon-free power.
UAMPS is a political subdivision of the state of Utah that provides wholesale electricity services throughout the Intermountain West region of the United States on a not-for-profit basis. It represents 48 members from Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah. Members choose which UAMPS projects to participate in based on their needs: “more than two dozen” of UAMPS members are currently participating in the CFPP, according to NuScale.
The cost estimate, developed within the guidelines of the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering, outlines the impact of inflation and a changing financial market on the CFPP and is “consistent with the external cost pressures exerted on all forms of energy projects nationwide ,” Hopkins said. “From wind and solar power to hydrogen and nuclear power, inflation has impacted the cost of new energy projects in a way we haven’t seen in more than 40 years. Additionally, the benchmark interest rate used for cost modeling of the project has increased approximately 200 basis points since July 2022,” he added.
A preliminary update to the so-called Class 3 project cost estimate has been shared with UAMPS members who have committed to participate in the CFPP, Hopkins said. “It is important to understand the current Class 3 cost estimate that it reflects the changing landscape for energy project development across the country and is primarily influenced by external factors, not the development of the project or a change in the Cost competitiveness of the NuScale scope of the project. In addition, the CFPP has matured to address, understand and address these challenges that are faced by other similar technologies and power generation options.”
The cost estimates were not publicly disclosed, but according to minutes of a meeting of one of the participants — Idaho Falls Power — in October, preliminary estimates were expected to exceed the projected/contracted $58 per megawatt-hour, above which an “offramp” decision was made could be hit.
“At NuScale, we stand ready to help clients assess how inflationary pressures may impact potential clean energy projects,” said Hopkins. NuScale is the first and only SMR design to be approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and earlier this year the regulator issued the final safety assessment report on NuScale’s contingency planning zone methodology, he said, describing it as “another tremendous first.” “. ‘ for NuScale’s technology”.
Researched and written by World Nuclear News