US-based NuScale Power and Grant County Public Utility District (Grant PUD) on 26 May announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to evaluate the deployment of NuScale’s advanced nuclear technology in Central Washington. NuScale said the agreement underscores the increasing demand for innovative small modular reactors (SMRs) to provide communities with reliable and affordable clean energy.

Based in Ephrata, Washington, Grant PUD is a public electric utility with the capacity to generate more than 2,100 MWe for the Northwest at its hydropower plants. The utility also serves 40,000 retail customers in Grant County, which includes an expanding industrial sector.

“We are proud to partner with an experienced, pioneering utility that has brought reliable, low-cost power to its people by investing in innovative, sustainable energy projects,” said NuScale Power Chairman and CEO John Hopkins. Grant PUD CEO Kevin Nordt said: “NuScale’s dedication to innovation and safety fit well with Grant PUD’s values. We are excited to work towards making nuclear power a key part of a carbon free future in the Pacific Northwest.”

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’s SMR in August 2020 became the first SMR design to receive approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. NuScale and Fluor are currently working for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) to commercialise the plant.

NuScale has developed a new modular light water reactor nuclear power plant to supply energy for electrical generation, district heating, desalination, and other process heat applications. It features a fully factory-fabricated NuScale Power Module capable of generating 77MW of electricity using pressurised water reactor technology. NuScale's scalable design—a power plant can house up to four, six, or 12 individual power modules reduces the financial commitments associated with gigawatt-sized nuclear facilities.