In 2008, Oregon-based NuScale announced that a small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear plant could be producing electricity by 2015-2016. That didn’t happen, and today any possibility of an operational plant still remains many years off. Our timeline picks up in 2015, when NuScale and the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) launched their plan for an SMR plant in Idaho Falls, and UAMPS set out to raise money for the venture from towns in the West.
UAMPS and NuScale formally launch the SMR project in Idaho, at an estimated cost of $3.1 billion for twelve modules generating 720 MW.
UAMPS members sign contracts to buy power from the project.
UAMPS says plant construction will begin in 2023, with the first module coming online in 2026 and the rest soon after.
UAMPS and NuScale increase the estimated total project cost again—to $6.1 billion—and push back the timeline for completion to 2030.
UAMPS acknowledges that they’re still short buyers for more than 500 megawatts of power from the plant.
Citing concerns over cost and uncertainty, eight Utah cities decide to withdraw from the project. Two others cut their subscriptions by 40-50%.
The U.S. Department of Energy cancels on paying for the first module and switches to uncertain funding promises subject to appropriations by future administrations.
Plant operator Energy Northwest backs out of the project. There is no public announcement.
With subscription levels still well short of their goal, UAMPS downsizes the project from twelve to six modules, producing 426 MW. The estimated cost for power increases from $55 to $58/MWh.