WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 28, 2020) – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced selections to receive funding to accelerate advanced nuclear technology development. There are two selections – one to support site preparation for a future domestic advanced reactor demonstration project and one for an advanced reactor regulatory licensing grant. The projects have a total value of $5.4 million.

The awards are through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development. This is Cycle 2020-1, which is the eighth round of funding provided through this innovative FOA. DOE announced previous funding awards in 2018 and 2019. Subsequent application reviews and selection processes will be conducted through December 2022, as supported by Congressional appropriations.

“These cost-shared projects will allow the industry and government to work together to advance U.S. commercial nuclear capability,” said Dr. Rita Baranwal, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Nuclear Energy. “Nuclear energy plays a vital role in our all-of-the-above energy strategy to meet increasing energy demand and clean energy goals.”

The solicitation is broken into three funding pathways:

  • First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project pathway, intended to address major advanced reactor design development projects or complex technology advancements for existing plants which have significant technical and licensing risk and have the potential to be deployed by the mid-to-late 2020s.
  • Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway, which allows a broad scope of proposed concepts and ideas that are best suited to improving the capabilities and commercialization potential of advanced reactor designs and technologies.
  • Regulatory Assistance Grants pathway, which provide direct support for resolving design regulatory issues, regulatory review of licensing topical reports or papers, and other efforts focused on obtaining certification and licensing approvals for advanced reactor designs and capabilities.

The following project was selected under the Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway:

  • Generic Design Support Activities for Advanced Reactors – Under this proposal, Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (Waverly, OH) assembled a team to initiate characterization, permitting, and decontamination and decommissioning studies to support potential advanced reactor deployment at the Portsmouth, Ohio Site. This work includes the development of an early site permit template that will envelope a broad range of advanced reactor technologies, potentially supporting the DOE goal of demonstrating an advanced reactor by the late 2020s.

Total Award Value: $4,956,589

The following project was selected under the Regulatory Assistance Grant pathway:

  • Topical Report: Guidelines for Implementing Seismic Base Isolation in Advanced Nuclear Reactors to Reduce Risk and Overnight Capital Cost – Under this proposal, Southern Nuclear Development, LLC (Birmingham, AL) will provide a pathway acceptable to and vetted by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that an applicant could follow to develop, document and qualify a seismic isolation system for an advanced reactor. The pathway will be presented in a technology neutral Topical Report to be submitted to NRC for review. Total Award Value: $462,383

NE funds research, development, and demonstration projects to reduce the risk and cost of advanced nuclear technologies, and to improve nuclear energy’s contribution to meeting the nation’s economic, energy security, and environmental challenges. More information on the Office of Nuclear Energy and previous funding announcements can be found here.