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A failed attempt to build a nuclear power plant from mini-reactors in the US

A failed attempt to build a nuclear power plant from mini-reactors in the US

November 15, 2023, 12:25 pm

Construction of a six-reactor nuclear power plant in the United States has failed. That’s because spending has exploded to the tune of $9.3 billion. Affected energy providers are now increasingly relying on wind and solar power.

In the US, plans to build a new type of nuclear power plant consisting of several small reactors have so far failed. as The journal Science reports, a coalition of municipal electric utilities in the western United States withdrew from a related contract with NuScale Power. This is due to very high costs for a designed power plant with six small modular reactors (SMR). They more than doubled to $9.3 billion.

According to Scientific Reports, NuScale mini-reactors are small, but built for relatively advanced reactor design. While other advanced furnace models rely on exotic coolants, NuScale furnaces continue to use water. In addition, the same low-enriched uranium fuel used in previous power reactors is used. Due to the small size of mini reactors, cooling water is directed through the reactor cores by simple flow transport (convection), making expensive pumps unnecessary. Additionally, mini-reactors can be mass-produced and delivered to a site in bulk, reducing costs, the report added.

It’s not clear why costs for the planned mini-reactor project at the Idaho National Laboratory, funded by $1.4 billion from the US Department of Energy, exploded from the original $4.2 billion to $9.3 billion, according to the Science report. Municipal electricity supplier association Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) canceled planned construction of a mini-reactor plant, according to its boss Mason Baker, who still sees a future for new nuclear plants. However, in the future, “wind capacity will need to be expanded, and solar power at the scale of the power plant [und] “Insert batteries”.

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