Skip to main content

NuScale Back in Action with Unexpected Support

The other day, we mentioned Babcock & Wilcox’s small reactor project and its indirect use in the Gubernatorial race in Indiana. Now, another vendor of small reactors, NuScale, has attracted some press attention from Reuters. It’s especially nice to see that NuScale has overcome its financial difficulties.

NuScale staff half-jokingly refer to the first half of 2011 as the "Great Pause," when NuScale could not pay its bills and dozens among its 100 employees at the time had to be let go. It now employs 260 people, and hopes to add another 70 by year-end.

And how did it do this, at least in part?

But NuScale is trumpeting the safety aspects of its new technology, and has found helpful supporters including U.S. engineering giant Fluor Corp, which bought a majority stake in the 5-year-old company last October.

Fluor is no stranger to the nuclear energy business. Start here for more on its activities. Fluor has been around for much of the nuclear age.

Like Indiana, Oregon, where NuScale is located, has no nuclear energy facilities. It closed its one plant, called Trojan, in 1992. But, as with Pence in the Hoosier state, NuScale has found some support from the Beavers.

Yet the NuScale design has managed to win over Oregon's national representatives, who tend to be against nuclear power. Senator Jeff Merkley, a self-described "proud progressive," surprised [NuScale Chief Executive Paul] Lorenzini by throwing his support behind SMRs.

The story talks a bit about other subjects – and is interesting in general – but the key point is that NuScale has found a path forward. There are a lot of hurdles yet to clear in the small reactor arena and some of the numerous competitors will probably fail as the marketplace develops. But let’s at least have the marketplace develop some more before/if the winnowing starts.

---

If friends knew that I don’t like mushrooms, they might tease me by telling me they love them.

Then I would say, “Mushrooms wouldn’t exist without government help. No one would eat them.”

“But did you see the study that mushrooms are a great source of potassium?”

“More propaganda from the mushroom brigade,” says I. “Mushrooms are just dolled-up toadstools.”

And on and on.

So, in the middle of his story on NuScale, writer Braden Reddall felt the need to get the other side.

"SMRs are just the next chapter in a nuclear industry that can't stand up on its own," said Don Hancock, director for nuclear waste safety at the Southwest Research and Information Center. "So it always has to be funded by the government."

It can’t be fun having reporters calling on you to play the tarantula on the valentine all the time. I wonder if his friends tell him how much they’d like more nuclear energy facilities in the area.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories

Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.

Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?
As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant…