Obama Administration reaffirms commitment to SMRs

The Department of Energy announced this week a second round of grants to encourage the development of small modular reactors (SMRs) in the United States, hoping to spark the growth of a domestic manufacturing industry and replace the country’s aging coal plants with nuclear reactors in coming decades, Greenwire reports.

"We have a vision of having a whole fleet of [small modular reactors] produced in factories," Rebecca Smith-Kevern, the director of light water technology at the DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy, told a regulatory conference in Maryland this week, according to Greenwire. "We envision the U.S. government to be the first users."

The aim is to incubate a domestic industry with production tax credits and fee-in tariffs that will produce 20 SMRs a year by 2030, says Greenwire. The DOE hopes to establish an industry that would manufacture up to 50 SMRs a year by 2040, or sooner, with the goal of eventually becoming an exporter of the small nuclear plants, Smith-Kevern said.

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