NuScale merger to accelerate SMR commercialisation

14 December 2021

NuScale Power has announced plans to merge with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp to create a new "first of its kind" energy company to accelerate the commercialisation of NuScale's small modular reactor (SMR). The new publicly listed company will be named NuScale Power Corporation and is projected to be 60%-controlled by NuScale's current majority owner Fluor Corporation.

How a future NuScale plant could look (Image: NuScale)

"NuScale is building the next generation of nuclear power technology that is safer, more versatile and more cost-efficient than ever before," NuScale President and CEO John Hopkins said. "The scale of our ambition is only matched by the world's enormous decarbonisation needs, and now is the right time to accelerate and expand our efforts to bring our trailblazing SMR technology to more customers around the world. Spring Valley will be a highly complementary strategic partner for NuScale as we enter this next phase of growth, with leadership that brings deep expertise in sustainable energy and a strong operating and investment record in the energy sector, including in nuclear power."

NuScale's proprietary NuScale Power Module is a pressurised water reactor with all the components for steam generation and heat exchange incorporated into a single unit, capable of generating up to 77 MWe. In 2020, it became the first - and to date, only - SMR to receive standard design approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The company offers plant configurations of four, six and 12 power modules under the recently announced VOYGR name.

NuScale is currently working with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems to deploy a NuScale VOYGR power plant in 2029, on a site at the US Department of Energy's (DOE's) Idaho National Laboratory. It has also been working to develop its customer pipeline beyond the USA, and has some 19 Memoranda of Understanding or agreements in 11 countries.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, the transaction is valued to be worth an estimated USD1.9 billion. NuScale expects gross cash proceeds of USD413 million on completion, including USD181 million of so-called PIPE investments from Samsung C&T Corporation, DS Private Equity, Segra Capital Management and Pearl Energy. NuScale intends to use these proceeds to fund its path to commercialisation.

Existing NuScale shareholders, including majority owner Fluor, will retain their equity in NuScale and roll it into the combined company. Fluor will also continue to provide NuScale with engineering services, project management, administrative and supply chain support. Additional existing strategic investors in NuScale include Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction, Samsung C&T Corporation, JGC Holdings Corporation, IHI Corporation, Enercon Services Inc, GS Energy, Sarens and Sargent & Lundy.

"Fluor expects that the proposed transaction will bolster and accelerate the path to commercialisation and deployment of NuScale Power's unique small modular nuclear reactor technology," Fluor Corporation Executive Chairman Alan Boeckmann said, adding that this is the "next step" in a plan first outlined by the company ten years ago to work with NuScale Power, the US Congress and the DOE to commercialise the technology. "Today's announcement is further evidence that cost-shared government funding to build first-of-a-kind commercial scale technology can attract private investment and yield results," he said.

Spring Valley CEO Christopher Sorrells described NuScale as a "bellwether" company that has developed pioneering technology that can have a transformational impact on humanity. "This is the rare chance to invest in an industry-defining technology. We are very pleased to partner with NuScale and its deeply knowledgeable management team to bring this critical technology to market," he said.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022 and is subject to approval by Spring Valley's shareholders as well as other customary closing conditions. Following the transaction, NuScale will continue to be led by its current leadership team.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News