Oklo finds sites for second, third plants; Constellation to acquire Texas power station

Our pick of the latest nuclear power news you need to know

Artist's rendition of a Oklo power plant (Source: Oklo)

Microreactor developer Oklo and the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI) have agreed to deploy two commercial Oklo power plants in Southern Ohio, the company said in a statement.

The plants will provide up to 30 MW of electricity and over 50 MW of clean heating, and will have opportunities to expand, Oklo said.

SODI is a leading partner for the Site Reuse Deployment Guidance for Advanced Reactors project, together with EPRI, the DOE, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Orano Fderal Services, and Southern Nuclear Company.

The project is funded by a grant from the DOE Office of Nuclear Energy. 

The company plans to own and operate its own power plants, the first of which will be sited at the INL.

“SODI is proud to partner with Oklo and see the land developed in a way that will provide benefits to the community and the entire region,” said Kevin Shoemaker, Legal Counsel of SODI.  

Constellation to aquire Texas plant

Constellation plans to acquire NRG Energy’s 44% ownership stake in the 2,645-MW, dual unit South Texas Project Electric Generating Stationm, the operator of the U.S.’s largest fleet of nuclear power plants said in a statement.

The acquisition of the stake in the plant, located around 90 miles (144 km) from Houston, is valued at $1.75 billion with an effective purchase price of $1.4 billion after taking into account the present value of tax benefits to Constellation, the company said in a statement.

The buyout, expected to be completed by the end of the year and subject to approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), will be financed through a combination of cash and debt, it said.

“The South Texas Project is an exceptionally well-maintained plant and its ability to produce resilient, carbon-free energy 24/7 makes it among the most valuable power sources in the world,” said Joe Dominguez, president and CEO of Constellation.

“With the potential to run for at least 46 more years with the right policy support, we look forward to working with the South Texas Project’s other owners to continue bringing clean, reliable electricity to this growing region for decades to come.”

Constellation will be one of three owners with the oversite of the South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) which will continue to operate the plant.

US, UK Atlantic Declaration includes nuclear

The United States’ and the United Kingdom’s new bilateral agreement, the Atlantic Declaration, signed after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visited U.S. President Joe Biden in Washington mid-June, includes a call for a civil nuclear partnership that will be overseen by senior officials in both governments.

A Joint Action Group on Energy Security and Affordability (the JAG) will be mobilized to set near-term priorities for joint action to encourage the establishment of new infrastructure and end-to-end fuel cycle capabilities by 2030 in both continents, and substantially minimize reliance on Russian fuel, supplier, and services.

“Our joint activity and leadership will support and facilitate the safe, secure, and sustainable international deployment of advanced, peaceful nuclear technologies, including small modular reactors, in accordance with the highest non-proliferation standards and consistent with a 1.5 degree Celsius limit on global warming,” the declaration said.

These moves will form the basis of a Joint Standing Committee on Nuclear Energy Cooperation (JSCNEC) which has been designed to deliver on shared commitments by the end of the year, it said.

Companies sign MoU on Romania SMR deployment

Six companies, including Romania’s Nuclearelectrica, NuScale Power, E-INFRA, Nova Power & Gas, Flour Enterprises, and Samsung C&T Corporation, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to deploy NuScale’s Voygr power plants in Central and Eastern Europe and Romania, Nuclearelectrica said in a statement.

The companies will support SMR development and the implementation of NuScale SMR power plants in areas of development such as project planning, obtaining licenses and authorizations, engineering, procurement, construction, operation, maintenance, decommissioning, financing, and capitalization of local resources, it said.

Such cooperation will enable regional states to implement SMRs under conditions of safety and in accordance with national energy needs, the partially state-owned nuclear operator said.

The accord will help set Romania up as a regional hub to support the production and assembly of SMR components and a training and education center for future operators and specialists, it said.

“The SMR project will ensure energy security, local and regional development, reuse of former coal-fired power plant sites and will provide multiple economic and social benefits. From financial support to technical support, the implementation of SMR, in Romania and internationally, benefits from the joint effort of states and organizations with special experience and skills,” General Manager of Nuclearelectrica Cosmin Ghiță said.

The Romania project will provide 190 permanent jobs and over 1,500 jobs in construction and 2,300 jobs in production, while thousands more jobs will be generated by companies interested in investing in the area, the company said.

By Reuters Events Nuclear