Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) - Small Modular Nuclear Reactor (SMR)
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As of 6/25/2021: The Carbon Free Power Project or CFPP was scaled down to a proposed 462 megawatt nuclear electric generation facility to be constructed at Idaho National Laboratory and utilize small modular reactor (SMR) technology developed by NuScale Power.  Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is subscribed for 1.8 megawatts.  Read the CFPP Fact Sheet (revised July 2021) or watch the CFPP project video.  


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (CFPP)

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (updated July 9, 2021)

Q. What is the Carbon Free Power Project?
A. The Carbon Free Power Project or CFPP is a proposed nuclear electric generation facility to be constructed at Idaho National Laboratory and will utilize small modular reactor (SMR) technology developed by NuScale Power.

Q. What is the proposed size and output of the CFPP?
A. Recently, Nuscale uprated the electrical power output rating for each small modular reactor (SMR) from 60 MW to 77 MW.  Therefore, UAMPs voted on June 25, 2021, to scale down the CFPP plant from its proposed original 12 modules to six modules. At 77 MW for each small modular reactor, reducing the number to six reacrors changes the capacity of the CFPP from 924 MW to 462 MW.  The lower overall output level will make subscription easier to achieve.   

Q. When is the plant expected to come online? 
A. The facility is expected to be operational by 2030. 

Q. What is the expected life of the plant? 
A. The expected life of the plant is 60 to 80 years. The agreement with DOE is 99 years, which would allow for two twenty year extensions beyond the original 40 year license and decommissioning. 

Q. Who are the project owners? 
A. Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), and NuScale Power entered into a teaming agreement to investigate the viability of developing the Carbon Free Power Project. UAMPS' participating partners are the project owners. Nuscale is the developer of the small modular reactor technology. UAMPS' participating partners expect to allow other entities to subscribe power through Power Purchase Agreements. 

Of the 46 municipal and cooperative utilities that comprise UAMPS, 28 members have subscribed power from the CFPP and make the decisions regarding UAMPS’ involvement. Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is one of these members.

Q. How many megawatts from the CFPP has Los Alamos subscribed?
A. As of June 25, 2021, Los Alamos is 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 are likely to be achieved.  As subscription is confirmed and expands, Los Alamos will be able to increase its subscription back to 8.6 megawatts without increasing its costs.     


Q. What is 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 is estimated at $4.8 billion. Los Alamos currently has 1.8 MW capacity interest out of the total plant capacity of 462 MW. The cost to Los Alamos, should the project be realized, would be paid through the targeted cost of power at approximately $58/megawatt hour with a 40 year commitment.  

Q. What if the target price of $58/megawatt hour can't be met? 
A. UAMPS and NuScale signed a Development Cost Reimbursement Agreement (DCRA) that provides for 100% reimbursement to the project participants if there is a failure of the Economic Competitive Test (ECT) of $58/MWh through the COLA development phase of the project.    

Q. What is 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 has been 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 is not granted than the DCRA will provide protection to the project participants if the CFPP fails the ECT. 

UAMPS has structured the DOE cost share funds so that the higher DOE percentages will be used toward the earlier stages of the project where the risk is the highest. 


Q. Why is Los Alamos pursuing 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 is exploring 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. Where are we in July 2021? 
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 improves the ability to realize full subscription, the target price will increase 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 is returning to each governing body for the project participants. The Board of Public Utilities and the County Council will consider the project with the new parameters at the July 21, and July 27, 2021 meetings respectively.  If approved, the 
next off-ramp decision will occur in 2022.  

Q. What if Los Alamos County decides to unilaterally exit the CFPP at the July meetings?
A. If the Board of Public Utilities and County Council decide to exit the CFPP, the County would be on the hook to reimburse the project $286,699 within the year.    

Q. How do citizens provide feedback to the members of the Board of Public Utilities and County Councilors?
A. Public comment is always welcome during a Board of Public Utilities and/or County Council meeting. Currently BPU and Council meetings are being held in a hybrid mode (virtual and in person). Individuals may attend the meeting in person or participate via Zoom.

Emails are also welcome.  Individuals may send written comments to the board members at bpu@lacnm.us and to councilors at countycouncil@lacnm.us.