DOE takes step towards developing small modular nuclear reactors

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the first step toward manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the United States. Through the draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) announced on Jan. 20, the DOE will establish cost-shared agreements with private industry to support the design and licensing of SMRs.

“America’s choice is clear - we can either develop the next generation of clean energy technologies, which will help create thousands of new jobs and export opportunities here in America, or we can wait for other countries to take the lead,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

DOE said small modular reactors, approximately one-third the size of current nuclear plants, have compact designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, siting, construction and economic benefits.

The draft FOA solicits input from industry in advance of a full FOA, which will support first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing through a cost-shared partnership. The full FOA will fund up to two SMR designs with the goal of deploying these reactors by 2022.

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