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Repurposing U.S. Coal Power Plant Sites and Revitalizing Communities

In the U.S., coal-fueled power plants have for decades offered a cost effective solution for meeting the energy demand of our country. However, these plants are now facing retirement due to age, competition from other generating sources, and market and regulatory factors. By 2030, the U.S. will see approximately 73 coal power plants retire, resulting in a loss of 38 GW of capacity.

While other low carbon technologies exist, NuScale has designed a new kind of nuclear power plant that is smarter, safer, cleaner, and more cost competitive than the large gigawatt nuclear power plants of the past. At the heart of the NuScale power plant is the NuScale Power Module™ ("module"), a small modular reactor (SMR) that brings together traditional components—the reactor vessel, steam generator, pressurizer, and containment—into a single, simplified, and fully factory-fabricated unit. Each module can produce 200 megawatts thermal (MWt) of heat energy or 60 megawatts of electricity (MWe), and one NuScale plant can house up to 12 modules for a total output of 683 MWt (net)/720 MWe (gross). This scalability feature is unique to NuScale and allows for customization of facility output to match demand and project economics.

Computer rendering of the NuScale standard plant design

Bringing environmental benefits with a small land footprint of about 30 acres, a NuScale plant can be built on an existing coal plant site and also repurpose some existing systems at significant savings. With input from utility companies on our NuScale Advisory Board, we estimate that on average, approximately $100M of existing coal plant infrastructure could be reused for a NuScale plant. Examples include but are not limited to cooling water delivery systems, demineralized water, potable water, site fire protection, switchyard, administrative, warehouse, and other existing buildings.

Continuing to use the site for power generation means keeping economic benefits within the community. The existing coal plant workforce can also be retained and cross-trained to operate and maintain a NuScale plant. Each plant will employ around 270 people full-time in high quality, high-paying jobs. For nuclear-specific positions, the coal plant workforce can transition to the nuclear plant through professional development and training. Building and operating a nuclear power plant brings direct economic benefits to the community it serves, much as coal power plants have across our country to date.

The NuScale plant is the U.S.’s only near-term deployable SMR-based nuclear generation solution for states all across the country that seek a reliable, safe, and carbon-free solution to repurpose coal power plant infrastructure, retain and retrain the coal plant workforce, and create continued economic prosperity for the regional economy.