Grant County PUD signs MOU on possible small modular reactor deployment

May 26, 2021

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
May 26, 2021

NuScale Power and Washington State’s Grant County Public Utility District on May 26 announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to evaluate the deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology in Central Washington State.

Under the MOU, the two parties will work together to support Grant PUD’s due diligence process in evaluating reliable, carbon-free energy solutions. “The deployment of NuScale’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)-approved design will support meeting the demands of Grant PUD’s customers and the desired commercial operation timeline with acceptable and affordable cost certainty,” NuScale and Grant PUD said in a news release.

NuScale’s power plant design is scalable in 77 megawatts electric (MWe) increments up to 924 MWe. Modules can be added incrementally as regional load demands increase.

“This flexibility also allows for seamless integration with intermittent sources of power utilizing exceptional load following capabilities. These qualities align well with Grant PUD’s long-term objective of providing its customers with reliable, carbon-free energy and are a driving force in the initiation of the due diligence process in order to investigate the applicability of the NuScale technology in Central Washington,” NuScale and Grant PUD said.

In April, Grant PUD with Energy Northwest and X-energy signed a MOU for the development of an advanced nuclear reactor demonstration project.

The partners agreed to collaborate and share resources to evaluate the goal of siting, building, and operating an X-energy Xe-100 SMR plant at an existing Energy Northwest site north of Richland, Wash. The plant would have four 80-MW units and is scheduled to begin construction in 2024 and come online in 2027.

“It’s too early to tell how this will ultimately come to fruition,” said Chuck Allen, Grant PUD public affairs supervisor.

“At this time, we’re pursuing both opportunities with the intention of having small modular reactor nuclear power as a generation resource for our customers and we’re excited to work with our partners in pursuit of that goal,” he said.

Based in Ephrata, Washington, Grant PUD is a public electric utility with the capacity to generate more than 2,100 megawatts of renewable, carbon-free energy for the Northwest at its hydropower plants. The utility also serves 40,000 retail customers in Grant County, which includes an expanding industrial sector. Grant PUD is a forward-thinking leader in managing and securing affordable, reliable, clean energy for its customers.

UAMPS, TVA

In January, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) and NuScale Power signed agreements to facilitate the development of the Carbon Free Power Project that would deploy NuScale’s SMR design at the Idaho National Laboratory. Energy Northwest has the option to operate the SMR plant.

Meanwhile, in April 2020 it was disclosed that the University of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority had signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the development of a new generation of cost-effective, advanced nuclear reactors, such as small modular reactors, at TVA’s 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear Site in Roane County.

TVA signed a similar agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in February 2020 to explore advanced reactor designs as a next-generation nuclear technology with potential for improved safety and increased flexibility.

TVA and Kairos Power recently announced plans to collaborate on deploying a low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Jeff Lyash, President and CEO of TVA, discussed the Kairos Power news in a recent episode of the American Public Power Association’s Public Power Now podcast.

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