NuScale goes off the scale


Small Modular Reactors are far too expensive, have terrible economies of scale and will never get here in enough numbers or in time to make any contribution toward mitigating the climate crisis that is already upon us.

Just to confirm the folly of pursuing such a path, NuScale and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) have announced that the costs of their planned 462-megawatt small modular reactor (SMR) have risen dramatically — a 53% increase in the last two years alone.

As the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reports: 

“As recently as mid-2021, the target price for power was pegged at $58 per megawatt-hour (MWh); it’s risen to $89/MWh, a 53% increase.

The price would be much higher without $4 billion federal tax subsidies that include a $1.4 billion U.S. Department of Energy contribution and a $30/MWh break from the Inflation Reduction Act.

The higher target price is due to a 75% increase in the estimated construction cost for the project, from $5.3 to $9.3 billion dollars.”

And, warns IEEFA, “It also is important to remember that the $89/MWh target price is in 2022 dollars and substantially understates what utilities and their ratepayers actually will pay if the SMR is completed. For example, assuming a modest 2% inflation rate through 2030, utilities and ratepayers would pay $102 for each MWh of power from the SMR—not the $89 NuScale and UAMPS want them to believe they will pay.”

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