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Idaho’s Nuclear Energy Project Abruptly Terminated

A company that develops small nuclear reactors announced on Wednesday that it was canceling a project that was expected to lead to the construction of new power plants.

NuScale Power, based in Portland, Ore., stated that it did not have enough subscribers to move forward with the Carbon-Free Power Project, which was supposed to provide six of the company’s 77-megawatt reactors in Idaho. Despite more than two dozen utilities committing to purchasing electricity from the reactors, it was still not enough to meet NuScale’s requirements to progress the project.

The Carbon-Free Power Project was a partnership between NuScale and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, which provides electricity to public power providers in seven Western states, including California. The project was initially proposed in 2014.

“This decision is very disappointing given the years of pioneering hard work,” said Mason Baker, chief executive of Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems. “We are working closely with NuScale and the U.S. Department of Energy on next steps to wind the project down.”

The decision to cancel the project followed an update from NuScale this year about the cost of building the reactors, which had increased to $9.3 billion from $5.3 billion due to rising interest rates and inflation.

NuScale needed to triple the number of customers for the Carbon-Free Power Project by February. The company, which also has an agreement to deliver its technology to Romania, informed investors that it would repurpose materials developed for the Carbon-Free Power Project for other customers.

NuScale’s stock price fell more than 20 percent, to $2.37, in after-hours trading. Its value has declined more than 70 percent in the past 12 months.

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