Small modular nuclear reactor that was hailed by Coalition as future cancelled due to rising costs
(The Guardian, 9 Nov 2023) Opposition climate and energy spokesperson had pointed to SMRs as a solution to Australia’s energy needs, but experts raise questions over price tag.
The only company to have a small modular nuclear power plant approved in the US – cited by the Australian opposition as evidence of a “burgeoning” global nuclear industry – has cancelled its first project due to rising costs.
NuScale Power announced on Wednesday that it had dropped plans to build a long-promised “carbon free power project” in Idaho. It blamed the decision on a lack of subscribers for the plant’s electricity.
The Coalition’s energy and climate spokesperson, Ted O’Brien, has cited NuScale’s technology as part of the opposition’s contentious argument that Australia should lift a national ban on nuclear energy and that small modular reactors (SMRs) could be an affordable replacement for its ageing coal-fired power plants.
In an opinion piece in the Australian earlier this year, O’Brien said the company’s integrated reactors, starting with the Idaho plant in 2029, offered “exceptional flexibility” and were an example “of a burgeoning nuclear industry for next-generation technology” in the US.