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  • By Admin
  • November 29, 2023

THE STATE OF THE INDUSTRY – by Sid Crouch, GTTSi Chief Technical Consultant

Nuclear proponents are optimistic after Vogtle 3 achieved commercial operation, with Unit 4 close behind. The lessons learned are expected to be a catalyst for future units; but the industry took a gigantic blow when NuScale and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems announced termination of the Carbon Free Power Project. The culprit was once again COST. In January, NuScale announced an increase in the target price – up 53% from an earlier estimate of $58/MWh (megawatt hour) to $89/MWh. But small modular reactors (SMRs) and micro-reactors are still valued – from the Nuscale SMR design to the PHYLON micro-reactor design. Tennessee Valley Authority is looking at the GE-Hitachi BWRX-300 SMR, with plans to add 20 SMRs to their nuclear fleet. Duke Energy is planning 15 gigawatts of new nuclear by 2050 and has identified 31 site locations in North and South Carolina. The Belews Creek site is their 1st choice, with no specific design named. Oklo micro-reactors have been slated for Ohio, with plans to build another at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) by 2026 or 2027.The Microreactor Applications Research Validation & Evaluation (MARVEL) micro-reactor is another project in full swing at INL, with operation expected by the end of 2024. INL is expecting delivery of Project Pele by the end of 2024. Three other micro-reactor designs were awarded funding at the INL. Net Zero Needs Nuclear but a comeback faces significant challenges.