nuclear milestone
Carbon Free Power Project VOYGR Plant Rendering
Carbon Free Power Project VOYGR Plant Rendering

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) agreed to review the Carbon Free Power Project’s application to begin early construction activities for one of the nation’s first small modular reactor (SMR) projects. 

If approved, the company can start pushing dirt at its proposed site in Idaho to build a six-module small modular reactor plant using NuScale Power’s technology. 

The first power module is expected to be operational by 2029.

Streamlining the Process

CFPP LLC is a subsidiary of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems.

It was created to oversee the demonstration of a six-module NuScale VOYGR power plant at Idaho National Laboratory. The Carbon Free Power Project demonstration is projected to receive more than $1.3 billion  from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) over the next ten years, pending appropriations from Congress. 

CFPP submitted its limited work authorization application to the NRC in late July with support from the DOE funding as part of the combined license application (COLA) process. 

If approved, it will clear the way for the company to perform early-construction work, such as building excavation and road improvements at the proposed site.

This is the first time ever a limited work authorization application was submitted to the NRC ahead of the remaining COLA and would allow the project to start prepping for nuclear-grade construction while they wait for an approved license.

“The acceptance of the LWA application is a result of the dedicated and strategic efforts put in by the CFPP and also emphasizes the significance of early interactions between the project management team and the NRC,” said CFPP President Mason Baker. “Furthermore, we are appreciative for the invaluable partnership we've formed with the DOE as this collaboration has been instrumental in driving our shared goals forward. This progress is not only a major milestone for CFPP as a specific entity but also within the broader context of nuclear energy.”

“This innovative approach gets a lot of work done at very low risk and will hopefully keep new reactor projects like this one on time and budget,” said Dr. Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “I appreciate the coordination between the CFPP, the NRC, industry, and our colleagues to try new approaches to getting things done and look forward to the review process.”

NRC approval of the limited work authorization could allow preconstruction activities to start by mid-2025. 

CFPP plans to submit the remaining COLA application to the NRC in January 2024. 

Learn more about the Carbon Free Power Project.