Is nuclear power Utah’s future? Red flags suggest holding off

in People

Members of the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) currently are deciding whether to continue with the small modular nuclear project promoted by NuScale Power. As someone who has analyzed numerous nuclear energy projects across the world, I see several red flags in the UAMPS project.

UAMPS has promised electricity at $55 per megawatt hour (MWh), down from the $65 it promised two years ago. One might imagine that the lower price is due to declining costs, but according to UAMPS, the project’s estimated costs have gone up, not down.

In its 2018 Budget & Plan of Finance, UAMPS approved a construction cost of approximately $4.2 billion. This year, the UAMPS Amended Budget & Plan of Finance mentions a figure of approximately $6.1 billion. If the construction costs are going up, then why did the cost of electricity come down from $65/MWh to $55/MWh?

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