Report: Problems with UAMPS' Proposal to Construct NuScale Small Modular Nuclear Reactors


NuScale Power, a small modular nuclear reactor development firm based in Oregon, is seeking approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the design of their initial reactor model. The company has an agreement with the Utah Association of Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), a collection of small publicly-owned municipal utilities in Utah, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming, to deploy a first-of-its-kind plant of a dozen 60-megawatt (MW) pressurized water reactors grouped in a common containment facility at the Idaho National Laboratory site, assisted by a proposed power purchase agreement to sell some of the output to the US Department of Energy. As of August 2020, UAMPS has not found subscribers for all the power that this plant would produce if constructed.

Read the full report.

Read the press release about the new report.

Read a statement by M. V. Ramana, PhD, the author of the new report.

Read a statement from Edwin S. Lyman, PhD, Director of Nuclear Power Safety with Union of Concerned Scientists.

View video of a news conference on the report's release on Wednesday, September 2nd at 10:00 AM.

As has been true with other recent nuclear power projects in the US and in Europe, UAMPS members could be on the hook for extreme cost overruns and project cancellation, making it a risky proposition for them to continue investing in an untested, first-of-its-kind nuclear power facility.

Our new report, authored by M. V. Ramana, PhD, takes a deep dive into the wide range of issues facing the NuScale small modular nuclear reactor design and its implications for UAMPS members in the Great Basin. Dr. Ramana is the Simons Chair in Disarmament, Global and Human Security and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of The Power of Promise: Examining Nuclear Energy in India (Penguin Books, 2012) and a number of reports, articles and peer reviewed papers on small modular nuclear reactors.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the NuScale project.