Problems for Small Nuclear Reactors
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Problems for Small Nuclear Reactors

The CATO Institute has issued a blog throwing doubts on the future of small modular reactors, “Cost Escalation and Delays for Small Modular Reactors Suggest Caution about Nuclear Power Renaissance.”  It says:

The Washington Post reported that two leading companies, NuScale Power and the Bill Gates founded TerraPower are facing difficulties. Both companies are developing Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), which, as the name implies, use smaller reactor designs and off‐​site modular construction to avoid the high construction costs of conventional reactors. NuScale’s first power plant, the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) at Idaho National Labs, recently increased its initial estimated electricity cost from 5.8 cents per kWh to 8.9 cents per kWh and TerraPower’s first plant, in Wyoming, pushed back its planned opening by two years because of difficulties sourcing fuel from Russia after the war with Ukraine….

In a press release and talking points, NuScale says the new cost was “primarily influenced by external impacts, not by the project’s development.” They note both inflationary increases for the costs of commodities, including steel, copper wiring, and electrical equipment, and increased interest rates. This has boosted their projected construction costs, including financing costs, 75 percent from $5.3 billion to $9.3 billion.

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