Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today congratulated NuScale Power and Oregon State University, after the Department of Energy announced it will invest in the Corvallis company’s research and development of a new generation of safer and smaller nuclear reactors.
The DOE is investing in NuScale Power’s promising work in developing a “small modular reactor,” which is generally thought to be safer, more flexible and cutting-edge than the current generation of nuclear power plants. NuScale’s reactor is designed to shut down and cool itself in the event of a mishap, rather than depending on cooling pumps or other equipment that can go offline during a power outage. This technology, originally developed by researchers at Oregon State University, was granted to NuScale Power to help commercialize this design.
“Innovative projects like these could one day be the game changers in the way we meet our energy needs,” Wyden said. “As older nuclear power plants begin to go offline, it simply makes sense to explore ways to make nuclear power a much safer and more cost-effective way to provide low-carbon power.”
NuScale Power competed with other applicants after the DOE announced the funding opportunity in March 2013. DOE did not announce how much funding NuScale will receive. However, the department will provide up to half the cost of the project over a five-year cost-share agreement, with industry partners meeting the remaining costs. NuScale employs more than 200 people in Corvallis, Oregon. DOE’s news release is pasted below.
News Media Contact: (202) 586-4940
For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 12, 2013
Energy Department Announces New Investment in Innovative Small Modular Reactor
WASHINGTON – Building on President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to continue America’s leadership in clean energy innovation, the Energy Department today announced an award to NuScale Power LLC to support a new project to design, certify and help commercialize innovative small modular reactors (SMRs) in the United States. This award follows a funding opportunity announcement in March 2013. View a new Energy Department infographic on small modular reactors and their potential to provide clean, safe and cost-effective nuclear energy.
“Small modular reactors represent a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology and provide a strong opportunity for America to lead this emerging global industry,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “The Energy Department is committed to strengthening nuclear energy’s continuing important role in America’s low carbon future, and new technologies like small modular reactors will help ensure our continued leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear power worldwide.”
This project represents a significant investment in first-of-a-kind engineering and design certification for small modular reactors in the United States. Through a five-year cost-share agreement, the Energy Department will invest up to half of the total project cost, with the project’s industry partners matching this investment by at least one-to-one. The specific total will be negotiated between the Energy Department and NuScale and will be derived from the total $452 million identified for the Department’s Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support program.
The Energy Department investment will help NuScale obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission design certification and achieve commercial operation around 2025, while providing innovative and effective solutions for enhanced reactor safety, operations and performance. The Energy Department’s cooperative agreements require that the reactors be built domestically – strengthening American manufacturing capabilities and creating important export opportunities for the United States. The project will be based in Oregon and will support additional suppliers and operations in California, Idaho, Washington, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, Kansas, Texas and Maryland.
Small modular reactors – which are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear power plants – have compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits. The Energy Department is seeking small modular reactor designs that can be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready for installation upon arrival. The smaller size could reduce both capital costs and construction times – helping to provide U.S. utilities with more nuclear energy options and support new low-carbon capacity for small electric grids and locations that cannot support the traditional large reactor designs.
Find more information on the important steps the Energy Department is taking to jumpstart America’s nuclear industry and support clean energy innovation at www.energy.gov/ne.