by Jon Guze
Senior Fellow, Legal Studies, John Locke Foundation
U.S. officials have for the first time approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor, and a Utah energy cooperative wants to build 12 of them in Idaho.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday approved Portland-based NuScale Power’s application for the small modular reactor that Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at a U.S. Department of Energy site in eastern Idaho.
The small reactors can produce about 60 megawatts of energy, or enough to power more than 50,000 homes. The proposed project includes 12 small modular reactors. The first would be built in 2029, with the rest in 2030.
NuScale says the reactors have advanced safety features, including self-cooling and automatic shutdown.
“This is a significant milestone not only for NuScale, but also for the entire U.S. nuclear sector and the other advanced nuclear technologies that will follow,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins in a statement.
Nuclear reactors are cheaper and safer than other energy sources, even so-called “renewables,” and, unlike some renewable sources, they emit no carbon dioxide and do not contribute to global warming. Environmentalists and green energy advoates ought to be pleased by this news, but–somehow–I doubt they will be.