Nuclear Power

25 Feb 2022

Wisconsin Co-Op to Explore Adding Small Modular Nuclear Reactor to Generation Mix

25 Feb 2022  by   

NuScale Power Reactor Building (Courtesy: U.S. Dept. of Energy)

NuScale Power and Dairyland Power Cooperative signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to evaluate the potential deployment of NuScale’s small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear technology.

La Crosse, Wisconsin-based Dairyland delivers electricity for 24 distribution cooperatives and 17 municipal utilities in four northern states. The MOU signing means the cooperative will explore adding NuScale’s SMR to its generation portfolio.

In 2020, NuScale received U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval on its SMR design, the first design approval for a small commercial nuclear reactor. SMRs have a smaller footprint, capacity and anticipated cost than traditional high-capacity nuclear power plants.

NuScale is among several companies developing SMRs, with the intent of reigniting the country’s nuclear power sector. The company touts its reactors as “smarter, cleaner, safer and cost competitive,” adding that the SMRs are well-suited for placement at retiring coal plant sites, preserving critical jobs in the energy industry and helping communities decarbonize.

Notably, the Oregon-based company is building an SMR for Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) at a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) site in Idaho. NuScale recently projected the project’s first module would come online in 2029, with all six modules online by 2030. We recently reported on one institute’s analysis of cost risks, construction timelines, and competitive alternatives for the project.

Dairyland Power Cooperative owns 897 MW of generating capacity, according to its website. In 2021, its generation mix included 38% natural gas, 37% coal, 22% wind and solar and 3% from other renewable sources.

By 2031, the cooperative projects its generating mix will be 38% natural gas, 36% wind and solar, 25% coal and 1% other renewables.

Dairyland purchases wind and additional hydro, solar and biomass generation from facilities in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.


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