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NuScale nuclear plant
Artwork shows NuScale’s concept for a small modular nuclear reactor. (NuScale Illustration)

Oregon-based NuScale Power is the big winner in today’s round of grants from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy for innovations in nuclear reactor technology.

NuScale is receiving $7 million from the Energy Department and $7.1 million from other sources to advance the company’s plans to build its first small-scale modular reactor by 2026. NuScale was granted $40 million in federal funds nearly three months ago under the same program.

Plans for the first facility, which is to be built at the Idaho National Laboratory, have undergone Phase 1 review by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The plant will be owned by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems and run by Energy Northwest. Each of the plant’s 12 modules is designed to generate 60 megawatts of electricity, for a total of 720 megawatts.

NuScale builds on technology developed at Oregon State University. The company is headquartered in Corvallis, Ore., with Texas-based Fluor Corp. owning a controlling share.

Nine teams in all were awarded grants or vouchers for cost-shared research and development focusing on advanced nuclear technologies, with the total amounting to nearly $20 million. Three of those teams have Washington state connections:

  • Columbia Basin Consulting Group (Kennewick, Wash.): $400,000 to support pre-conceptual design and a preliminary cost estimate for a lead-bismuth small modular reactor. Additional non-DOE funding: $100,000.
  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (Richland, Wash.) and Flibe Energy (Huntsville, Ala.): $2.1 million to study the use of nitrogen trifluoride as an agent to remove uranium from a molten-salt fuel mixture. Non-DOE funding: $525.000.
  • ThorCon USA (Stevenson, Wash.): $400,000 in GAIN technology development vouchers for a molten-salt fission reactor concept.

The other awards were made to GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy ($1.9 million), the Electric Power Research Institute ($1.1 million), Holtec International ($6.3 million), Pittsburgh Technical Institute ($498,000) and Yellowstone Energy ($160,000 in GAIN vouchers).

Roughly $30 million more will be awarded in the next quarterly cycle of the Office of Nuclear Energy’s advanced nuclear technology development program.

“DOE is investing in advanced nuclear technologies because we are looking to the future,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in today’s news release. “Nuclear energy is a critical part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy for the country, and early-stage research can help ensure it will continue to be a clean, reliable, and resilient source of electricity.”

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