Leading developers and potential customers of small modular reactors (SMR) have formed a consortium to advance the commercialization of the innovative reactor designs. The memorandum of understanding establishes an organization called SMR Start.
The organization is designed to help accelerate the commercialization of SMRs by creating an industry-driven entity whereby potential reactor owners/operators would be a unified voice in a variety of policy and regulatory issues and in creating cost-share funding structures.
Initial SMR Start members include BWX Technologies Inc.; Duke Energy; Energy Northwest; Holtec; NuScale; PSEG Nuclear; Southern Co.; SCANA; and Tennessee Valley Authority. The organization will represent these companies in interactions with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congress and the executive branch on small reactor issues.
The Nuclear Energy Institute is assisting in the formation of SMR Start and will work closely with the organization on policies and priorities relating to small reactor technology. SMR Start will focus on light-water reactor based SMR designs and will serve as a demonstration to the public and private sectors of small reactor customers’ commitment to the market.
Nuclear power plants supply around one-fifth of America’s electricity and nearly 63% of its carbon-free electricity. The Energy Information Administration forecasts an 18% growth in electricity demand by 2040. In light of this forecast and nuclear plant retirements, the US market will need more than 100 new nuclear plants by mid-century to maintain the benefits of a diverse electricity portfolio, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).