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Energy Department Announces New Investment in Innovative Small Modular Reactor

December 12, 2013 - 4:04pm

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WASHINGTON – Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to continue America’s leadership in clean energy innovation, the Energy Department today announced an award to NuScale Power LLC to support a new project to design, certify and help commercialize innovative small modular reactors (SMRs) in the United States. This award follows a funding opportunity announcement in March 2013.  View a new Energy Department infographic on small modular reactors and their potential to provide clean, safe and cost-effective nuclear energy.

“Small modular reactors represent a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology and provide a strong opportunity for America to lead this emerging global industry,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Energy Department is committed to strengthening nuclear energy’s continuing important role in America’s low carbon future, and new technologies like small modular reactors will help ensure our continued leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear power worldwide.”

This project represents a significant investment in first-of-a-kind engineering and design certification for small modular reactors in the United States. Through a five-year cost-share agreement, the Energy Department will invest up to half of the total project cost, with the project’s industry partners matching this investment by at least one-to-one. The specific total will be negotiated between the Energy Department and NuScale and will be derived from the total $452 million identified for the Department’s Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support program.

The Energy Department investment will help NuScale obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission design certification and achieve commercial operation around 2025, while providing innovative and effective solutions for enhanced reactor safety, operations and performance. The Energy Department’s cooperative agreements require that the reactors be built domestically – strengthening American manufacturing capabilities and creating important export opportunities for the United States. The project will be based in Oregon and will support additional suppliers and operations in California, Idaho, Washington, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, Texas and Maryland.

Small modular reactors – which are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear power plants – have compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits. The Energy Department is seeking small modular reactor designs that can be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready for installation upon arrival. The smaller size could reduce both capital costs and construction times – helping to provide U.S. utilities with more nuclear energy options and support new low-carbon capacity for small electric grids and locations that cannot support the traditional large reactor designs.

Find more information on the important steps the Energy Department is taking to jumpstart America’s nuclear industry and support clean energy innovation at www.energy.gov/ne.

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