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US DOE awards NuScale up to $217 million for small reactors

The US Department of Energy and NuScale Power signed an agreement in which NuScale will receive up to $217 million over five years for small modular reactor development, the company said Wednesday.

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NuScale joins Babcock & Wilcox in receiving money as part of a six-year program DOE initiated in 2012 to distribute $452 million to support licensing and development of small modular reactors. DOE defines SMRs as reactors of less than 300 MW that can be built in a factory and shipped to utility sites as demand arises.

"It was only yesterday that we actually signed the cooperative agreement, which will provide up to $217 million to NuScale," John Kelly, DOE deputy assistant secretary for nuclear reactor technologies, said Wednesday at Platts' annual Small Modular Reactors conference in Washington.


Mike McGough, NuScale's chief commercial officer, said the funds are the amount NuScale expected to receive.

"We're ecstatic," McGough said in an interview on the sidelines of the conference. "It's approximately spread evenly over the next five years."

The funds will be used for design engineering, testing and work needed to receive design certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

NuScale, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, has a target commercial operation date of 2023 for its first SMR. The first plant is expected to be built in Idaho. NuScale is majority owned by Fluor, an engineering and construction company.

DOE announced in December that NuScale would receive a portion of the funds, on a 50:50 cost-share basis, to support design development and NRC certification and licensing of its 45-MW SMR design, but did not specify the amount.

NuScale applied for the funding under a solicitation, announced by DOE in March 2013, for proposals with the potential to deploy an SMR around 2025. It was DOE's second such solicitation for the program.

NuScale, along with B&W, Holtec International and Westinghouse, applied for DOE's SMR development program in 2012, but the department selected B&W's mPower SMR design in that first solicitation.

Under a cooperative agreement with DOE, B&W will receive $150 million-$226 million of the $452 million available through the program. B&W has received $101 million so far.

However, B&W said in April that it would spend no more than $15 million a year on its SMR project, starting in the third quarter, because the company was unable to secure investors and customer contracts. B&W spent about $80 million on its mPower SMR design in 2013.

--Michael McAuliffe, newsdesk@platts.com
--Edited by Annie Siebert, ann.siebert@platts.com