- Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems will partner with NuScale Power to develop a small modular reactor capable of providing 600 MW of nuclear baseload, but EnergyBiz reports that the project's road ahead is long and anything but certain.
- UAMPS said it is still investigating the proposal and has not made a final decision. Should it move forward with an application, the entire process would take two years and require an application about 40 times the length of War and Peace.
- But the small reactors appear to have backing from the Obama administration, in particular for their ability to help combat greenhouse gas emissions; the The Department of Energy is preparing to spend more than $450 million to get licensing of the smaller facilities up and running.
UAMPS, which provides power to 45 community systems out west, is slowly moving forward with what could be the first small modular reactor in the United States. But as EnergyBiz reports, the road ahead is a long one and the power provider has yet to make a final decision.
"UAMPS is still in the investigatory stage,” a spokesperson told the energy outlet. “We haven't yet made a final decision to go forward."
If UAMPS does, in partnership with NuScale Power, it will spend about two years developing a 40,000-page application and would be aiming to bring the unit online around 2023.
SMRs have been in the news recently as possibly the next innovation in carbon-free power. And once in development, the smaller units could be constructed off-site and developed quickly. But for some, that represents a problem. Many remain wary of nuclear power after Japan's Fukushima disaster, and some say the units' smaller capacity could lead to a loosening of nuclear oversight.
But the reactors seem to have growing support at the federal and state level. DOE is preparing to examine applications, and President Obama reportedly favors the technology for its ability to reduce greenhouse gas. In Maine, legislators were considering allowing nuclear turbines with a capacity less than 500 MW to be developed without a referendum.