In its latest show of interest in Central and Eastern European markets, Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power has signed a memorandum of understanding with Kazakhstan Nuclear Power Plants LLP (KNPP) to explore the deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor plants—recently christened VOYGR—in Kazakhstan.
Under the MOU, which was signed on December 15, NuScale will support KNNP’s evaluation of the proposed plant. Topics to be assessed include plant engineering, construction, commissioning, operation and maintenance, and project-specific studies and design work. The agreement builds on an existing relationship between the two companies, as NuScale submitted a technical and price offer to KNPP in 2019.
Although it is the world leader in the production of uranium, Kazakhstan has no operational nuclear power facilities. (A Russian-designed BN-350 sodium-cooled fast reactor operated in the country from 1972 to 1999, producing electricity and desalinating water.)
The official words: “NuScale is continuing to gain impressive momentum in international interest around the globe,” said John Hopkins, NuScale’s president and chief executive officer. “We look forward to continuing our collaboration with KNPP and demonstrating the immense benefits of our technology to the people of Kazakhstan as they seek safe, emissions-free, and reliable methods of decarbonization.”
KNPP CEO Timur Zhantikin said that Kazakhstan has set the goal of carbon neutrality by 2060, and that to reach that goal, carbon-free sources such as nuclear and renewables must be considered. “Small modular reactors are the most promising for Kazakhstan, and we consider the cooperation of KNPP with NuScale Power as a real opportunity to develop this direction and achieve the set goal of the country’s transition to a green economy,” he stated.
Background: The announcement follows a string of MOUs that NuScale signed in recent years with Romania (March 2019), the Czech Republic (September 2019), Ukraine (February 2020 and September 2021), Bulgaria (February 2021), and Poland (September 2021).
More recently, on the sidelines of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, the Biden administration’s special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry, joined Romanian president Klaus Iohannis to announce a partnership between NuScale and Romanian utility Nuclearelectrica to build a six-module VOYGR plant in Romania.