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Second Belarus unit enters commercial operationRosatom has announced that power unit 2 of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, in Ostrovet, Belarus, has entered commercial operation. Meanwhile, rising costs have led to the US’ first small modular reactor project being terminated.
The first unit of the Belarus plant was synchronised and supplied the first kWh of electrical energy to the grid in May 2023, reaching full capacity in June. To date, the unit has already generated more than 2bn kWh of electricity.
With two power units of the Belarus plant now in operation (its total capacity being 2,400 MW), the plant is expected to provide about 40% of the electricity needs of Belarus.
‘The successful and timely implementation of the nuclear power plant construction project became possible owing to the joint work of Russian and Belarus specialists. I am confident that our nuclear power plant in Belarus will set an example for many potential foreign Rosatom partners. Today, the construction of VVER-1200 power units is already underway in Bangladesh, Hungary, Egypt, Turkey and China,’ comments Vitaly Polyanin, ASE JSC Vice President – Project Director for Construction.
Elsewhere, Rosatom has also announced that the core catcher for unit 2 of the El-Dabaa nuclear power plant in Egypt has now been delivered. The core catcher is one of the main passive safety systems of the El-Dabaa plant.
US small modular reactor project terminated
Meanwhile, in the US, NuScale Power Corporation and Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) have announced they are to terminate their small modular reactor (SMR) project in Utah as ‘despite significant efforts by both parties to advance the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), it appears unlikely that the project will have enough subscription to continue toward deployment’.
The news is seen by some industry observers as a setback for SMR technology as efforts gather pace in the US and elsewhere in the world to develop and deploy a new generation of reactors in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security.
It is understood that rising construction and inflationary costs meant the project would no longer be financially viable. NuScale had said in 2021 it would deliver power for $58/MWh, but that figure had risen to $89/MWh, according to a report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), a price that UAMPS' members were not prepared to sign up to.
NuScale’s Voygr technology is the first and only SMR design to date to receive approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.