US small nuclear pioneer NuScale says it will keep going despite the cancelation of its most significant project.
A week after the multi-state utility Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) canceled a NuScale project, the CEO, assured the American Nuclear Society (ANS) that the company would "keep moving" to deliver on other contracts.
"We have $200 million in the bank. That's cash, no debt. So we have a healthy balance sheet," Hopkins said in a specially-scheduled announcement at the opening plenary of the ANS Winter Conference in Washington today.
He cited other projects and potential customers, including RoPower in Romania which has just received a second round of government funding, and reported that US approval for the NuScale design is on track: "There's no slowdowns."
UAMPS deal was NuScale's most advanced customer deal, however. UAMPS wanted to have six small modular reactors for the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), but Hopkins explained the deal depended on three conditions: continued US government funding, a price target for the power, and subscriptions from UAMPS' member organizations.
"I feel confident we would have met that price target, and the US government came through," said Hopkins. The UAMPS members failed to support the project, however, feeling that they couldn't risk public money on it.
"I so much wanted to see it happen, but it just wasn’t meant to be," said Hopkins, adding that both NuScale and UAMPS agreed to stop investing: "Why continue to spend money if you know the project will not go ahead?"
Despite this, Hopkins says NuScale got a lot of good outcomes from the project, including getting approvals for its technology and methodology.
"Overall enthusiasm for advanced nuclear continues to grow all over the world," said Hopkins, who will be pitching the technology at COP28.
NuScale is reallocating its people and resources to other projects, he said: "We are in production with six modules in Korea. We want to move those over to the next customer."
The next customer seems to be Standard Power a blockchain company which has ordered 24 SMRs to deliver 2GW of power at sites in Ohio and Pennsylvania, Hopkins says he expects to sign a master agreement for this project in the next "couple of weeks."
This deal was harshly criticized by short seller Iceberg Research, who branded Standard Power as a "fake customer" in a report last month that led to investigation by lawyers and a further fall in NuScale's stock price.
Hopkins said that NuScale is also talking to "Moral industrials," who want low carbon power for energy-hungry processes such as ammonia or hydrogen production. "If we can figure that out, it opens the aperture huge for our industry."