Small modular nuclear reactors given boost by DOE; Westinghouse to apply

The White House on March 22 said a total of $450 million will be made available to support first-of-its-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for up to two small modular reactor (SMR) designs over five years, subject to congressional appropriations.

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

Through cost-share agreements with private industry, the Department of Energy (DOE) will solicit proposals for promising SMR projects that have the potential to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and achieve commercial operation by 2022. These cost-share agreements will span a five-year period and, subject to congressional appropriations, will provide a total investment of approximately $900 million, with at least 50 percent provided by private industry.

Westinghouse said that it will apply for the DOE program for the company’s 225 MWe SMR, integral pressurized water reactor, with all the primary components located inside the reactor vessel. It utilizes passive safety systems and proven components to achieve the highest level of safety and reduce the number of components required.

The full Funding Opportunity Announcement is available at Grants.gov.

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