U.S. agency to back NuScale in South Africa

October 26, 2020, 7:00AMNuclear News

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has signed a letter of intent to support NuScale Power in the development of 2,500 megawatts of nuclear energy in South Africa, according to an October 16 DFC press release.

The announcement was made during the virtual Investing in Africa’s Future conference, hosted by the DFC and the Atlantic Council. The purpose of the conference was to bring together African heads of state, senior U.S. government officials, African development finance institutions, and others to announce new efforts to promote and strengthen U.S. trade and investment in Africa in support of the Trump administration’s Prosper Africa Initiative, the press release stated.

Quotes: “We are pleased to convene leaders from across the public and private sectors to increase investment in Africa,” said Adam Boehler, the DFC’s chief executive officer. “The initiatives announced today will help advance investments that strengthen economic growth, technology, energy independence, and infrastructure in Africa.”

In emailed comments to Nuclear News, Diane Hughes, NuScale’s vice president of marketing and communications, said, “NuScale is excited to work with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to explore the applications of our groundbreaking technology to provide clean, cost-effective energy to South Africa. The signed letter of intent by the DFC marks an important step in the process to bring the first, and only, approved U.S. small modular reactor to the African continent and support the growing energy demands and resilience needs of South Africa. We are committed to working with the DFC to support its comprehensive process as we collaborate with entities in South Africa interested in NuScale’s energy solutions.”

Background: Self-described as “America’s development bank,” the DFC was established in 2019 through the Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018 by merging the Overseas Private Investment Corporation with the Development Credit Authority of the United States Agency for International Development. In July of this year, the DFC lifted its ban on financing nuclear power projects abroad.

Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in December 2016 for certification of its small modular reactor design for use in the United States, and in March 2017, the NRC accepted the application for review. Last month, the NRC issued a standard design approval for the NuScale SMR.

South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant, Africa’s sole nuclear power facility, houses two 930-MWe two-loop pressurized water reactors. Unit 1 began commercial operation in 1984, and Unit 2 in 1985.

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