NRC dockets application to begin CFPP's construction activities

September 11, 2023, 7:01AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review CFPP LLC’s limited work authorization (LWA) application to permit certain early construction activities at the Carbon Free Power Project site in Idaho prior to the issuance of a combined license. (An LWA, according to 10 CFR 50.10, allows for “the driving of piles, subsurface preparation, placement of backfill, concrete, or permanent retaining walls within an excavation, installation of the foundation, including placement of concrete, any of which are for an SSC [safety-related structures, systems, or components] of the facility for which either a construction permit or combined license is otherwise required.”)

In a September 5 acceptance-for-docketing letter, the NRC informed CFPP that its goal “is to conduct and complete an efficient and high-quality review” of the application by August 2025. The agency estimates that it will require approximately 3,000 staff hours to complete the review.

Established by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) in 2020 to bring the small modular reactor project to fruition, CFPP submitted its application on July 31 as the first part of a combined license application (COLA). According to the company, this action marked the first time under current regulations that a standalone LWA application had been submitted in advance of the remainder of the COLA.

Official words: “Our team is pleased that the NRC has accepted the LWA application, as it represents a major achievement in the project’s advancement and brings the CFPP closer to its objective,” said Mason Baker, CFPP LLC president. “The commencement of early construction activities is a vital step in advancing the project and sets a noteworthy precedent in the field of small modular nuclear energy regulation and development.”

Background: UAMPS launched the Carbon Free Power Project in 2015 to develop, own, and operate the United States’ first SMR plant, to be located at Idaho National Laboratory, with reactor technology supplied by Portland, Ore.–based NuScale Power. Currently, the project plan is to deploy by 2029 a NuScale VOYGR-6 plant—a facility housing six NuScale Power Modules, each capable of generating 77 MWe, for a total of 462 MWe of carbon-free electricity.