Northwest Company Gets Closer To Building Small Nuclear Reactors

The control room simulator at NuScale Power. CREDIT: JES BURNS
The control room simulator at NuScale Power. CREDIT: JES BURNS

Listen

A Northwest company is aiming to build the country’s first house-sized reactor that can put electricity onto the grid.

It recently cleared a big hurdle with the federal government, passing part of a safety review by the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“They look at every aspect of our design in terms of safety,” said Jose Reyes, co-founder of NuScale Power, based in Corvallis, Oregon.

These small modular reactors are essentially scaled-down nuclear plants. They’re called “modular” because the idea is that power companies could add as many of them as their customer-base requires.

“You can add modules as modules are needed, as the regional demand increases. They’re very flexible. They’re factory-built,” Reyes said.

The company hopes to build a pilot project in Idaho by 2025. That plant would be licensed by the Utah Associate Municipal Power Systems as it decommissions some of its coal-fired power plants.

Reyes said many utilities with whom they are in talks are also thinking of using this technology as they shut down coal plants.

“I think it could have a big impact on reducing carbon emissions, really, worldwide,” Reyes said.

That Idaho plant would have 12 modules and could power a city the size of Portland.

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility has long opposed nuclear power — it says small modular reactors bring the same threats to human health and the environment as those posed by larger-scale nuclear plants, including radioactive waste from spent nuclear fuel.

“(Small modular reactors) still present a huge hazard in the form of meltdowns or other catastrophes. It’s just not a risk that we have to take,” said Damon Motz-Storey, clean energy organizer with Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Copyright 2018 Earthfix

Related Stories:

Changing the clock for the first Daylight Saving Time in 1918. CREDIT: U.S. SENATE HISTORICAL OFFICE

Dread The Dark? West Coast Lawmakers Say It’s Time To Stop The Clock ‘Fall Back’ Routine

According to some Oregon and Washington legislators, it’s high time to get rid of the twice-yearly ritual of changing clocks. This past month, 60 percent of California voters approved Proposition 7, a ballot proposition to make daylight saving time permanent. Continue Reading Dread The Dark? West Coast Lawmakers Say It’s Time To Stop The Clock ‘Fall Back’ Routine

Read More »
City leaders in Depoe Bay are anxiously awaiting word if silt accumulating at the south side (image right) of their harbor will be dredged in 2019. CREDIT: CITY OF DEPOE BAY

Officials Worry ‘World’s Smallest Harbor’ In Depoe Bay Could Shrivel Unless Dredged

If you’ve traveled the central Oregon coast, you might remember the signs marking Depoe Bay’s claim to fame: the “World’s Smallest Harbor.” But now that harbor is getting even smaller because of accumulating silt. City officials are on tenterhooks because of the problem. Silt buildup renders the fuel dock inaccessible at low tide. Continue Reading Officials Worry ‘World’s Smallest Harbor’ In Depoe Bay Could Shrivel Unless Dredged

Read More »
The latest variant of the Cubic Ares unmanned reconnaissance drone during flight testing at Pendleton on October 28. CREDIT: CUBIC CORP.

In Eastern Oregon, Pendleton Has Become A Drone-Testing Hub, With Hopes For More

A dream to make rural Pendleton, Oregon into a drone testing mecca is becoming very real. It’s so real, in fact, that the city-owned airport has run out of hangar space to rent to global aerospace companies. Now, the Pendleton airport is seeking millions more in public funding to help expand. Continue Reading In Eastern Oregon, Pendleton Has Become A Drone-Testing Hub, With Hopes For More

Read More »