NuScale Power layoffs will involve roughly 28% of staff at the modular nuclear reactor company, NuScale disclosed.
The staff cuts come at a key time for both NuScale and the broader energy market -- where the United States is racing to compete against Russia and China on multiple nuclear and energy transition fronts.
In addition to renewable energies (Wind, Solar, Hydro, Bio), proponents believe nuclear power can play a key role in zero-carbon energy production. Amid that backdrop, China is building nuclear reactors faster than any other country, The Economist notes. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is counting on NuScale Power's technology as a potential way to energize the U.S. nuclear agenda.
Related: See all sustainability industry layoffs tracked here.
Nuclear Business Focus, Project Cancellation, Layoffs
NuScale, founded in 2007, is based in Portland, Oregon. The company designed a "new kind of nuclear power plant that is smarter, safer, cleaner, and more cost competitive than the large gigawatt nuclear power plants of the past."
Potential business challenges surfaced in November 2023, when NuScale and a Utah coalition of municipal power systems cancelled a major U.S. nuclear project due to "worries about low subscription for the plant's power," Reuters reported. The project cancellation was a big blow to President Biden's clean energy agenda, Fortune reported.
Fast forward to January 8, 2024, when NuScale disclosed plans to:
- Cut 28% of staff or roughly 154 full-time employees.
- Cut annual costs from $50 million to $60 million.
- Transition "from R&D to commercialization" while focusing "resources in key strategic areas as part of its growth and to strengthen its position going forward."
NuScale Power Layoffs: CEO Perspectives and More
The company described the layoff news as part of a plan that positions the company for "the next phase of growth." In a prepared statement, CEO John Hopkins (pictured, top of page) said: “Our U.S. Nuclear Regulatory-approved, industry-leading SMR technology is already many years ahead of the competition. Today, commercialization of our SMR technology is our key objective, which includes near-term deployment and manufacturing.”
Moreover, the company reinforced that it remained "the only technology provider and producer of small modular nuclear reactors that has obtained U.S. regulatory approval and is ready for commercial deployment."
Rumors about NuScale layoffs were first reported by HuffPost on January 5, 2024.