​Description

Because of new proposed environmental regulations, specifically targeted to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, there is now, more than ever, a need for a strategic focus on an “all of the above” strategy, which includes nuclear. The small modular reactor (SMR) landscape has changed in the past four years. Declining demand for baseload generation, lower load growth, competitively priced natural gas generation, and financing and market challenges arising in the wake of the U.S. recession have led to a decline in interest on the part of SMR vendors and their prospective utility customers. This article reviews the state of the market for SMR technology, specifically the reduction in alternatives at varying stages of development, and the effect on options for maintaining a diverse low carbon fuel mix.

Value to Electric Cooperatives

Several factors are driving co-op interest in small modular reactors (SMRs): carbon-free generation; fuel diversity; incremental addition of capacity, and thus matching it with load growth; incremental financing, which can reduce risk; zero emissions of acid gases and heavy metals, and minimal water effluents; among others. With the changing SMR market, some cooperatives that had joined SMR vendor consortia and alliances have chosen to observe developments from the sidelines, but others are considering a more active role in supporting the licensing and construction of SMRs.

Audience

Engineering, Operations, Member Services​​

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