“Plug and Play” Modular Nuclear Reactors in the Works

01/20/2012 |


The U.S. Department of Energy has announced the first step toward manufacturing small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) in the United States. 

Through the draft Funding Opportunity Announcement announced today, the Department will establish cost-shared agreements with private industry to support the design and licensing of SMRs.

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.

Specifically, they could be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready to “plug and play” upon arrival, reducing both capital costs and construction times.

The small size also makes SMRs ideal for small electric grids and for locations that cannot support large reactors, providing utilities with the flexibility to scale production as demand changes.  SMRs could revolutionize the way industries select energy solutions.

The draft Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) announced today 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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