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NuScale laying off almost a third of staff

Illustration of a question mark with a nuclear symbol as the dot on the bottom.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Advanced nuclear reactor developer NuScale Power says it's laying off close to a third of its full-time staff.

Why it matters: The news follows the company's abrupt cancellation of what would have been the first small modular reactor in the U.S., illustrating the challenges ahead for the nascent sector.

Details: Portland, Oregon-based NuScale, which went public via a SPAC in 2022, says the reduction of 154 employees would result in annualized savings of $50 to $60 million.

  • The company says the layoffs will help it transition from R&D to commercialization.
  • The idea behind small modular reactors, or SMRs, is that they can be built in factories and shipped to sites, potentially avoiding the cost overruns that have plagued conventional large nuclear plants.
  • In November, NuScale agreed to terminate its small modular reactor project with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, a wholesale energy services provider, as construction costs climbed from $5.3 billion to $9.3 billion.

Of note: NuScale's stock rose slightly in pre-market trading on the cost cutting move.

Big picture: SMRs have been under development for years but haven't been deployed commercially.

What we're watching: GE Hitachi is spearheading an effort with Ontario Power Generation to build an SMR outside Toronto. Meanwhile Holtec is moving ahead with a four-reactor project.

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