A Virginia company received the engineering contract to manufacture small modular reactors that are planned to be sited in eastern Idaho.

The nuclear power manufacturing company BWX Technologies, which supplies nuclear components and fuel both to the U.S. government and to private industry, was awarded the contract, the Oregon-based NuScale Power said in a news release Tuesday.

BWXT was chosen after an 18-month process, with interest expressed from 83 companies in 10 countries, and will “refine NuScale’s design for manufacturability, assembly, and transportability — the first phase in bringing NuScale’s pioneering design to life,” the company said.

“BWXT’s established industry experience was important for us, and so was choosing an American company,” said John Hopkins, NuScale’s president and chief executive officer. “Our technology will bring immense economic prosperity for people here at home, while improving the quality of life for those all across the world by providing resilient, carbon-free electricity.”

NuScale’s first customer is Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, which plans to build a small modular reactor plant at Idaho National Laboratory’s desert site to help provide power to Idaho Falls and other power systems in Utah and the Intermountain West.

BWXT has been involved in managing the INL site for more than a decade, and currently the company is part of Battelle Energy Alliance, which manages the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still reviewing the project. NuScale expects to get its final approval in September 2020, and the reactor plant to be operational in the mid-2020s.

BWXT will start immediately on the first manufacturing phase, which NuScale expects to continue through June 2020, and then NuScale will contract for the last two phases. BWXT expects to use the Pennsylvania company Precision Custom Components as its component manufacturing contractor.

“Innovation is a core value at BWXT, and that’s why we are incredibly proud to be selected as a manufacturer for NuScale’s revolutionary technology,” said Rex Geveden, BWX Technologies’ president and chief executive officer. “NuScale’s unique SMR design can be factory-made and offers scalable power based on need. We are excited to work with NuScale to help make their groundbreaking design a reality.”

The Blackfoot company Premier Technology also was in the running for the small modular reactor contract.

Reporter Nathan Brown can be reached at 208-542-6757. Follow him on Twitter: @NateBrownNews.

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