NuScale Power, among the best-known companies developing small modular reactor (SMR) technology, said it would cut 28% of its workforce as the company looks to save $50 million to $60 million annually.
Rumors of job cuts surfaced last week with online news service HuffPost reporting employees were told of the restructuring plan at a meeting on Jan. 5. NuScale confirmed the layoffs in a Jan. 8 news release.
The company was dealt a major blow to its operations with the November cancellation of a flagship project the group had planned with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). NuScale, founded in 2007, is the only U.S.-based SMR maker with U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approval for its technology.
Monday’s announcement said the company’s restructuring includes cutting 154 full-time employees. John Hopkins, NuScale’s president and CEO, in a statement said, “Our U.S. Nuclear Regulatory-approved, industry-leading SMR technology is already many years ahead of the competition. Today, commercialization of our SMR technology is our key objective, which includes near-term deployment and manufacturing.”
To learn more about advancements in SMR technology, and the current state of the market, read “2023: A Transformative Year for Small Modular Reactors”, part of POWER’s year-end nuclear technology roundup.
Most of NuScale’s workforce is based in Oregon, with the headquarters in Portland and the company’s research and engineering site in Corvallis.
The group in its news release said it remains committed to “advancing revenue-generating projects and securing new orders.” The company’s SMR technology, which is powered by the NuScale Power Module, is considered versatile and scalable. Each module has 77 MW of generation capacity. The company has said it is designed for deployment worldwide in various applications, including for power generation and production of hydrogen.
Energy analysts have touted SMRs as important for the growth of zero-carbon energy, particularly because the units are versatile and scalable. The industry has challenges, though, as several groups in recent weeks have sustained setbacks.
California-based Oklo’s project with the U.S. Air Force announced last year is on hold, but the company has said other projects are progressing. That includes a supply deal with Siemens Energy announced in December.
Maryland-based X-energy, which is working with the federal government to develop a next-generation reactor that would use gas instead of water for cooling, in October cut some of its workforce and dropped plans for a public offering of stock.
NuScale on Monday said it is looking to transition from research and development to commercialization, focusing resources “in key strategic areas” in facilitate growth and strengthen the company’s position in the SMR market.
“We continue to invest in our future, including work needed for the near-term deployment of our SMR power plants powered by our 77-MWe NuScale Power Modules,” said Hopkins. The company does have four proposed projects ongoing in the U.S., and has discussed SMR deployment in at least another eight countries.
—Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).
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Author: Darrell Proctor