March 23, 2023
We made it to Thursday. Let's get to it.
1 big thing: Here come the first 10 small reactors
A three-country nuclear energy coalition is investing $400 million to win federal sign-off and begin making components for at least 10 small modular reactors.
Why it matters: The nine-figure investment is another concrete milestone toward building a new nuclear energy supply chain in North America.
Driving the news: The Tennessee Valley Authority, Ontario Power Generation, and Poland's Synthos Green Energy said today that they've ordered a pressure vessel from BWXT for the first small modular reactor from GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.
- The vessel is a key reactor component that takes more time to build than most. It will likely be manufactured in Canada. GE Hitachi is based in North Carolina.
Meanwhile, the $400 million should be enough to achieve sign-off from nuclear regulators while putting the pressure vessel into production.
Of note: Canadian nuclear regulators are expected to give final design approval in 2025. U.S. sign-off is anticipated in 2026.
- That would enable Ontario's first SMR to come online by 2028, and the TVA's reactor shortly thereafter.
- Ontario Power Generation has ordered one reactor unit, but indicated it would order three
What's next: The TVA, Ontario Power Generation and Synthos have announced plans to build 10 total SMRs.
- The TVA envisions four reactors at its Clinch River site near Knoxville. It said this month it's considering as many as 30.
Zoom out: NuScale, the Oregon-based SMR developer, announced this month that it had started manufacturing reactor components.
- The company aims to bring its first reactor online in Idaho in 2029.
👀 What we're watching: Whether utilities Dominion Energy and Duke Energy make follow-on investment announcements with GE Hitachi.