Axios Pro: Climate Deals

March 23, 2023

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

We made it to Thursday. Let's get to it.

1 big thing: Here come the first 10 small reactors

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

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.

  • Dominion invested in GE Hitachi's SMR program in 2018. Duke has been in talks with the company.

View archive