Reporting its fourth quarter and full year results for 2023, US-based NuScale Power said progress continued toward “commercialisation of small modular reactor (SMR) technology to meet consumer demand for safe, reliable, 24/7 and carbon-free baseload energy”.

NuScale President & CEO John Hopkins said over the course of 2023, “we made significant progress towards commercializing our SMR technology, including continued activities to ensure readiness for manufacturing of our first NuScale Power Modules, building traction amongst data centres and further developing industrial applications for SMRs, such as process heat, hydrogen, and ammonia production”.

He added: “Additionally, as the first and only SMR to receive US Nuclear Regulatory Commission design approval and certification and have Long Lead Materials in production, NuScale maintains our position as the global first mover in commercial SMR development. We continue to receive serious interest from major technology and industrial companies, utilities, national and local governments, and others seeking 24/7 clean, reliable energy and process heat.”

The NuScale SMR is a 77 MWe (250 MWt) pressurised water reactor (PWR) designed to be deloyed as a series of modules that can be scaled to meet specific demand up to 924 MWe. VOYGR SMR plants will feature four six or up to 12 power modules. NuScale says its SMR projects are already being considered in more than 10 countries. However, the first project, which was expected to begin operation in 2029 in partnership with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) at the US Department of Energy's (DOE’s) Idaho National Laboratory (INL) as part of the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) was cancelled.

“Despite significant efforts by both parties to advance the CFPP, it appears unlikely that the project will have enough subscription to continue toward deployment,” a joint statement said at the time. NuScale had already placed an order for the production of pressure vessel components or the project and South Korea’s Doosan Enerbility had begun producing forgings for the plant. Other projects are planned in Poland and Romania.

In its Business Update, NuScale listed the following progress:

  • In Romania, the RoPower project is working to advance into the next phase of development by initiating Phase 2 Front-End Engineering and Design.
  • NuScale technology was selected by Standard Power to support the development of two SMR-powered facilities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The facilities are planned to produce nearly 2 GWe through the deployment of 24 NuScale Power Modules.
  • Standard Design Approval (SDA) application for an uprated 77 MWe module design was accepted for review by NRC in July 2023 and NuScale received a schedule for an anticipated 24-month review process. The increased power output will support the capacity needs of a wider range of customers with 12 modules producing nearly 1 GWe.
  • As NuScale accelerates its commercialisation efforts, it is also initiating the manufacture of NuScale Power Modules. Notably, our supply chain partners commenced the production of long lead time components, including forgings and other materials associated with the first NuScale Power Modules.

NuScale’s Financial Update said the balance sheet includes cash and equivalents of $125.4m ($5.1m of which is restricted), and no debt. “In response to the burgeoning market opportunities and the reality of lengthy sales and development cycles, in January 2024, NuScale announced cost efficiency actions projected to result in approximately $50-60m in annualised savings. [This was immediately after the collapse of the UAMPS project]. The Company is redirecting resources to the most immediate commercial opportunities with a focus on advancing revenue-generating projects, securing new orders and positioning NuScale towards long-term success.”

NuScale reported revenue of $4.6m and net loss of $56.4m for the three-month period ended December 31, 2023, compared with revenue of $3.4m and a net loss of $47.2m, respectively, for the same period in 2022. Revenue of $22.8m and a net loss of $180.1m for the 12-month period ended 31 December 2023, compared with revenue of $11.8m and a net loss of $141.6m for the same period in 2022.

NuScale had more than 550 employees at the start of 2023. Its headquarters are in Portland, Oregan but most of the staff are in Corvallis. NuScale’s actions following the UAMPS included a reported workforce reduction of 154 full-time employees.

Image: Visualisation of the VOYGR reactor from NuScale (courtesy of NuScale Power)