Japanese manufacturer commits $20M to NuScale small nuclear reactor plan

Illustration of potential NuScale SMR site.

Small modular reactor (SMR) designer NuScale Power is receiving investment support from a second Japanese firm in the past two months.

Engineering and construction firm Fluor Corp., which has been a primary investor with NuScale Power for several years, announced a $20 million investment from IHI Corp. of Japan. The initial funding may be followed by an equal amount later, according to the release.

“IHI’s decision to invest in NuScale’s leading-edge SMR technology is another concrete example of the growing interest in this industry-leading, carbon-free energy solution,” said David Constable, chief executive officer, Fluor Corporation. “This significant investment by IHI also aligns with Fluor’s strategy to bring aboard new strategic investors to NuScale.”

IHI will become a global manufacturing partner and could provide design and manufacturing for steel plate reinforced concrete wall structures. NuScale has received federal approval for its small nuclear reactor modules which could be deployed with smaller footprints and price tags than current nuclear power plant projects.

In April, Fluor and NuScale announced that Japanese EPC firm JGC Holdings Corp. was investing $40 million in the SMR startup.

Fluor and NuScale are currently working for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) to bring the world’s first carbon-free SMR project to commercialization. NuScale also has other potential projects in the planning or discussion stages.

Each NuScale SMR takes up about a fraction of the space of a conventional plant reactor and generates to 60 MW in power, according to the design plan. The modules would be pre-fabricated and transported to the plant site and be situated in below-ground pools, to lessen earthquake dangers.  

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Nuclear power is a carbon-free generation resource with a high capacity factor. Conventional nuclear currently accounts for about 20 percent of the U.S. electricity mix and 10 percent worldwide.

Aside from safety concerns in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown, conventional nuclear projects have been few and far in-between due to the hefty $25 billion price tags for projects such as Georgia Power’s Vogtle expansion and the Hinkley Point C project in the United Kingdom.

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