Q. How many megawatts from the CFPP had Los Alamos subscribed?
A. As of June 25, 2021, Los Alamos was subscribed for 1.8 megawatts to stay within the County's budget of $1,260,000, approved by the Council on August 25, 2020. By reducing the size of the facility to six modules and an output of 462 MW, reaching full subscription levels for the nuclear plant appeared to be achievable. Los Alamos expected to be able to increase its subscription back to 8.6 megawatts without increasing its costs as subscription was confirmed and expanded.
Q. What was the cost of the project?
A. With the most recent revised cost estimate less the cost sharing from the Department of Energy and NuScale, the total project cost to the project owners was estimated at $4.8 billion. Los Alamos currently had 1.8 MW capacity interest out of the total plant capacity of 462 MW. The cost to Los Alamos, had the project been realized, would have been paid through the targeted cost of power at approximately $58/megawatt hour with a 40-year commitment. If the target price of $58/MWH had not been met, Los Alamos would not have been liable for its 1.8 MW interest. UAMPS and NuScale signed a Development Cost Reimbursement Agreement (DCRA) that provided for 100% reimbursement to the project participants if there was a failure of the Economic Competitive Test (ECT) of $58/MWh through the COLA development phase of the project.
Q. What was the cost sharing from the Department of Energy?
A. In October 2020, the Department of Energy approved a multi-year cost share award to provide $1.355 billion toward the CFPP project over a period of nine years. A modification request was submitted to the DOE to change the award from a 12-module facility to six while keeping the DOE monetary support the same. If the request had not been granted, then the DCRA would have provided protection to the project participants if the CFPP failed the ECT.
UAMPS structured the DOE cost share funds so that the higher DOE percentages would have been used toward the earlier stages of the project where the risk was the highest.
Q. Why did Los Alamos pursue this project?
A. As recommended by the Future Energy Resource Committee (a Los Alamos citizen ad hoc committee) and at the direction of the Board of Public Utilities, DPU explored whether to add the CFPP to the County's energy generation portfolio to meet a 2040 goal to be carbon neutral as well as to diversify and increase reliability of the County's resources.
Q. What happened next?
A. In June 2021, UAMPS project participants voted to scale down the size of the facility, going from 12 modules to six, decreasing the output to 462 MW. While a smaller nuclear plant would improve the ability to realize full subscription, the target price increased by $3, going from $55 to $58 per MWh.
Because of this change, a new off-ramp decision point was inserted by UAMPS and the project returned to each governing body for the project participants. The Board of Public Utilities and the County Council considered DPU's continued participation in the project with an additional DPU financial commitment. After that, the Combined Operation License Application was to be submitted to the NRC.