ST. GEORGE — Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and NuScale Power Corporation announced Wednesday they have mutually agreed to terminate the Carbon Free Power Project.

Image shows artistic rendering of NuScale’s Carbon Free Power Project site, Idaho Falls, Idaho | Image courtesy of NuScale Power, St. George News

Had the plan been completed, it would have resulted in the first-ever small modular nuclear reactors in the U.S., according to a news release. It was originally intended to deliver 924 megawatts of power to the power systems’ small-town members in Utah and other western states.

As recently as February, city councils in Washington City and Hurricane voted to continue to support the project.

While a NuScale news release said the decision to terminate the project was mutual and cited positive progress, several entities opposed to the project all but celebrated the final result.

“This decision is very disappointing given the years of pioneering hard work put into the CFPP by UAMPS, CFPP LLC, NuScale, U.S. Department of Energy, and the UAMPS member communities that took the leadership role to launch the CFPP,” said UAMPS Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Mason Baker said in a news release.

One opponent said the project would have been hard-pressed to succeed.

Image shows artistic rendering of NuScale reactor module for comparative purposes | Image courtesy of NuScale Power, for St. George News

“As we have said for many years, taxpayer-funded entities should not be acting as venture capitalists on risky projects, no matter what the nature of the project is,” Rusty Cannon, president of the Utah Taxpayers Association, said in a news release in response to the cancellation of the Carbon Free Power Project. “This welcome news for taxpayers in Utah confirms what reasonable voices surrounding this project have known and spoken about for years — that it was doomed to fail.”

NuScale offered the following explanation for terminating the plan: “Despite significant efforts by both parties to advance the CFPP, it appears unlikely that the project will have enough subscription to continue toward deployment. Therefore, UAMPS and NuScale have mutually determined that ending the project is the most prudent decision for both parties.”

Prior to Wednesday’s cancellation announcement, ratepayer advocates and nuclear power finance experts warned power service members of cost-escalations and further project delays, the news release said.

“We’re happy for the communities and ratepayers who have dodged a huge financial debacle as a result of the cancellation of NuScale and UAMPS’ proposed SMR project,” David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis at the institute and author of the 2022 report of the UAMPS/NuScale project, said in a news release.

But the power service said the endeavor was not a total loss after much “pioneering hard work” was completed by all involved.

“We have learned many invaluable lessons during the development of the CFPP that we will carry forward in future development work to meet the future energy needs of the UAMPS member communities,” UAMPS Chief Executive Officer and General Manager Mason Baker said in a news release.

According to NuScale, “UAMPS is an interlocal agency of the State of Utah, established in 1980. As a project-based energy services entity, UAMPS provides a variety of power supply, transmission, and other services to its 50 members, which include public power utilities in seven western states: Utah, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico and Wyoming.” The Veyo Heat Recovery Project is affiliated with UAMPS.