The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) plans to restructure its mPower Small Modular Reactor program (earlier post) to focus on technology development. Without the ability to secure significant additional investors or customer Engineering, Procurement and Construction contracts to provide the financial support necessary to develop and deploy mPower reactors, the current development pace will be slowed, the company said.
B&W, which had earlier signed a funding agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE) (earlier post), notified DOE on 9 April of its plans for reduced spending, indicating it would work with the DOE and other stakeholders during the next one to two months to confirm the best path forward to develop a mutually agreeable plan including program milestones for continuing the cost-shared industry partnership program.
B&W said that if its partnership with DOE is preserved, the focus will be on licensing activities (Design Certification Application and site permitting/licensing) with a target to have technology ready in the mid-2020s.
If not, B&W will focus on targeted areas of Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) technology and key licensing issues.
B&W expects to invest up to $15 million annually in the program, beginning the third quarter of 2014.
While we have made notable progress in developing a world-class technology, there is still significant work involved in bringing this climate-friendly technology to reality. The support provided by DOE, Congress, the Tennessee Valley Authority and our other partners has been critical and valuable. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to find the most efficient way to move this technology toward licensing and deployment in the mid-2020 timeframe.—E. James Ferland, President and CEO of B&W