ANS Winter Meeting: NuScale CEO on “unfortunate” UAMPS cancellation

November 14, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News


This morning, just ahead of the plenary session “Space: The (Next) Nuclear Frontier,” American Nuclear Society Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy invited John Hopkins, president and CEO of NuScale Power, to take the stage. The audience knew Hopkins was there not to announce a new contract or business development, but to answer the spoken and unspoken questions that followed last week’s announcement that the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP)—for years expected to be NuScale’s first operational reactor—had been terminated by mutual agreement of the company and its customer, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS).

Predictably, media headlines have burbled with doubt about the prospects for nuclear energy because one high-profile contract backed by significant cost-shared funds from the Department of Energy had been cancelled—out of dozens of ongoing projects by NuScale and other reactor developers. But those headlines—and the questions of curious ANS members—deserve a response.

UAMPS and NuScale drop plans to build SMRs at INL

November 9, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
Concept art of the six-module CFPP at INL, terminated before construction could begin. (Image: NuScale)

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and NuScale Power announced November 8 that they have mutually agreed to end the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP)—a plan to build a set of 77-MWe pressurized water reactors, called NuScale Power Modules, at Idaho National Laboratory. The reactors were intended to provide power to INL and UAMPS customers in Utah and surrounding states with an anticipated start date of 2029.

UAMPS subsidiary applies to NRC to begin CFPP construction activities

August 1, 2023, 9:37AMNuclear News
Concept art of the six-module Carbon Free Power Project, to be sited at INL. (Image: NuScale)

CFPP LLC, the limited liability company established by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) in 2020 to bring its Carbon Free Power Project to fruition, has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a limited work authorization (LWA) to permit certain early project construction activities prior to the issuance of a combined license (COL). In a July 31 news release, CFPP said that should its application be approved, early-scope construction on the small modular reactor project would likely begin in mid-2025.

Final rule certifying NuScale SMR design published

January 20, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

A rendering of a NuScale VOYGR plant. (Image: NuScale Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its final rule certifying NuScale Power’s small modular reactor design, making the Portland, Ore.–based company’s power module the first SMR design to be certified by the agency (and only the seventh reactor design okayed for use in the United States).

Published in yesterday’s Federal Register, the rule goes into effect on February 21, allowing utilities to reference the NuScale design when applying for a combined license to build and operate a reactor. The design will be incorporated as Appendix G to 10 CFR Part 52, Licenses, Certifications, and Approvals for Nuclear Power Plants.

As noted last July—when the commission voted unanimously to approve the design certification and directed staff to issue the final rule—an application for a nuclear power plant combined license that references a certified design does not need to address any of the issues resolved by the design certification rule. Instead, the combined license application and the NRC’s safety review would address any remaining safety and environmental issues for the proposed plant.

UAMPS downsizes NuScale SMR plans

July 21, 2021, 7:06AMNuclear News
A still image from a three-part video tour of NuScale’s facilities. (Photos: NuScale Power)

When Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) in 2015 announced its plan to develop the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) using NuScale Power’s modular light water reactor design, it envisioned the construction of a dozen 50-MWe modules for a plant that could produce a total of 600 MWe. The CFPP’s target output later rose to 720 MWe, when UAMPS opted to scale up to 60-MWe modules. In late June, the plans changed once again, as UAMPS participants chose to build 77-MWe modules but downsize the plant from 12 units to six, which would yield 462 MWe—about 64 percent of the 720 MWe that could have been generated from 12 of the 60-MWe modules.

With DOE funds in hand, UAMPS preps for NuScale SMR licensing phase

October 20, 2020, 9:29AMNuclear News

An artist’s rendering of NuScale Power’s small modular nuclear reactor plant. Image: NuScale

Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) announced on October 16 that the Department of Energy has approved a $1.4-billion, multiyear cost-share award to Carbon Free Power Project LLC, a new business entity wholly owned by UAMPS that was created for the development and construction of a 720-MWe NuScale power plant—the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP)—to be sited at Idaho National Laboratory. The funding comes as UAMPS prepares to develop the first combined license application (COLA) for a small modular reactor.

Statement from ANS Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy on DOE award for UAMPS' Carbon Free Power Project

October 16, 2020, 11:54AMPress Releases

As the voice of American nuclear professionals, ANS applauds the Department of Energy's decision to award UAMPS' Carbon Free Power Project $1.355 billion in cost-sharing funding. The award will accelerate the deployment of NuScale's small modular reactors in supplying carbon-free power and ensuring the reliability of power grids with growing amounts of intermittent renewable electricity.


Op-ed: UAMPS project needed for abundant, carbon-free energy

September 18, 2020, 1:52PMAround the Web


An op-ed piece in the September 17 Salt Lake City Tribune touts nuclear energy as needed for a carbon-free future. The piece was written by Doug Hunter, chief executive officer and general manager of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS).

UAMPS clarifies next steps for planned NuScale SMR deployment

September 8, 2020, 3:00PMNuclear News

Full-scale mockup of the upper third of the NuScale Power Module. Photo: NuScale

With a design that has just emerged from a rigorous safety evaluation by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and a customer—Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS)—getting ready to prepare a combined license (COL) application, what is next for Oregon-based NuScale Power and for near-term small modular reactor prospects in the United States? As milestones are reached, many want to know.

NuScale plans to supply twelve 60-MWe modules for a 720-MWe plant—called the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) by UAMPS—to be sited at Idaho National Laboratory. A smaller, 50-MWe module version of NuScale’s design recently became the first SMR to receive a final safety evaluation report (FSER) from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The NRC design approval represents a significant de-risking factor for the CFPP,” said UAMPS spokesperson LaVarr Webb. The project is “making steady progress,” Webb said, adding that “UAMPS General Manager and CEO Doug Hunter has said it is much more important to do the project right than to do it fast.”