The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced an award to support a new project to design, license, and help commercialize small modular reactors (SMR) in the U.S. The project supported by the award will be led by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel.
The announcement made on Nov. 20 follows a funding opportunity announcement in March. The DOE also announced plans to issue a follow-on solicitation open to other companies and manufacturers, focused on furthering small modular reactor efficiency, operations, and design.
The DOE announcement says this project represents “a significant investment in first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing 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 Babcock & Wilcox (B&W).”
The DOE portion of the funding is intended to help B&W obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing and achieve commercial operations by 2022.
The DOE says its support will help to “provide U.S. utilities with low carbon energy options as well as create important export opportunities for the United States and advance our nation’s competitive edge in this emerging global industry.” POWER reported in a web supplement to its November issue that 11 nations are developing SMRs. For a profile of B&W’s mPower SMR, see the August issue of POWER.
The project will be based in Tennessee and will support additional suppliers and operations in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
Sources: POWERnews, DOE
—Gail Reitenbach, PhD, Managing Editor (@POWERmagazine)