US gives first-ever OK for small commercial nuclear reactor

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The U.S. for the first time has approved a design for a small commercial nuclear reactor. A Utah energy cooperative wants to build 12 of them in Idaho. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Friday approved Portland-based NuScale Power’s application for the small modular reactor Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems plans to build at a U.S. Department of Energy site in eastern Idaho. The small reactors can produce 60 megawatts of energy, or enough to power about 50,000 homes. The proposed project includes 12 small modular reactors. Additional steps, including environmental analysis, are needed before the work can begin. The first reactor is anticipated to start operating in 2029.