Department of Energy will fund up to Two Small Modular Nuclear Reactors for 2022

World Nuclear News – The US Department of Energy (DoE) is to help push forward the manufacture of small modular nuclear reactors through new cost-sharing arrangements with private industry to support design and licensing activities. The DoE intends ultimately to fund up to two designs for small modular reactors (SMRs) through a cost-shared partnership which will support first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing. To that end, it has issued a draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to solicit inputs from industry in advance of the full FOA, aiming at a deployment date for the reactors of 2022.

Platts – The US Department of Energy is seeking applications for two grants, estimated to total $452 million over five years. The funds will pay up to half the cost of developing and deploying up to two small modular reactor designs.

Pittsburgh-based engineering company Westinghouse Friday said it will apply for government funding to advance nuclear technology that would produce a new type of small reactors.

The DOE’s announcement launches an Obama administration initiative to position the US to lead the world in SMR technology, which the president and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have said will boost exports and create domestic manufacturing jobs. But the program has been delayed for more than a year by congressional standoffs on how to fund the federal government. The DOE’s SMR program received $67 million for fiscal 2012, which ends September 30. Funding levels in future years will depend on congressional appropriations.

The department defines SMRs as reactors of 300 MW or below. “The government is particularly interested in SMR designs that incorporate passive safety features,” which rely on physics — such as gravity — instead of mechanical means or human interference to keep the reactor safe, DOE said Thursday in a draft funding opportunity notice Thursday.

It also said DOE will only consider applications for SMR designs that can be licensed by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and begin commercial operation in the US by 2022. Applications that propose an earlier deployment date will be considered favorably

Small modular reactor projects that will likely apply are as follows

Integral Light Water Reactors (LWR)
o Babcock & Wilcox – mPower Reactor (160 MW)
o NuScale Power Inc. – NuScale Reactor (45 MW)
o Westinghouse – AP 1000 derived SMR (200 MW)
o Holtec – Inherently Safe Modular Underground Reactor (HI-SMUR 140) (140 MW)

High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors
o AREVA – Antares
o General Atomics – Gas Turbine Modular Helium Reactor (GT-MHR)
o Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Ltd. – Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR)

Liquid Metal-Cooled and Fast Reactor
o GE Hitachi – Nuclear Power Reactor Innovative Small Module (PRISM) (311 MW)
o Hyperion Power Generation – Hyperion Power Module (HPG) (70 MW thermal)
o Toshiba – Toshiba 4S (Super Small, Safe and Simple) (10 MW)

Overview of Small Modular Reactors

An overview of the status of small modular reactors that are being developed around the world is here.

Overview and Status of SMRs Being Developed in the United States (17 pages)

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