Three small modular reactor (SMR) designs will be competing for US government funding to support their licensing and construction in the US by 2022.
SMR developers from Westinghouse, NuScale Power and Babcock & Wilcox were all expected to file applications by the May 21 deadline for funding from the Department of Energy.
Department of Energy (DOE) SMR investment funds will be awarded to SMR projects that have the most potential and promise to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and achieve commercial operation by 2022. The cost-share agreements will span a five-year period and, subject to Congressional appropriations, provide a total investment of approximately $900 million, with at least 50 percent provided by private industry.
NuScale Power LLC is working with South Carolina Gas & Electric, a division of Scanna, who will lead the formation of a consortium to license and operate the first NuScale plant at the federal Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
NuScale was the first US-based SMR vendor to begin discussions with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and has been engaged in pre-application discussions since 2008, the company said in a statement May 21, confirming its application for funding.
NuScale Power said a Customer Advisory Board was formed in 2008, and is now comprised of 17 utilities and organizations, to guide NuScale in the commercialization of its technology.
Its membership includes the operators of more than one-half of the 104 operating U.S. nuclear power plants and organizations representing all of the U.S. cooperatively-owned utilities.
NuScale is working with the Fluor Corporation on its design.
Westinghouse confirmed May 21 that it had filed its application for funding and announced that Burns & McDonnell and General Dynamics Electric Boat would join its consortium with plans to build the Westinghouse SMR on an existing nuclear reactor site at Callaway in Missouri.
Generation mPower LLC, a joint venture between Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, Inc. and Bechtel Power Corporation, was also expected to submit its application May 21 for the B&W mPower SMR design.
All three consortia’s SMR designs are based on light water reactor technology.
A fourth SMR design, the G4M by Gen4 Energy, formerly Hyperion, uses lead bismuth liquid metal coolant. Gen4 Energy continues to work with the DOE under a Memorandum of Agreement to deploy its SMR at the federal Savannah River site in South Carolina.
But the company announced April 24 that it would withdraw from plans to apply for the DOE SMR development funds, saying that the terms of the funding competition meant that light water reactor technology had “a much higher probability of success.” –David Stellfox