DOE awarding $60M to 13 projects for advanced nuclear technology development; $40M of that to NuScale for SMR
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has selected 13 projects to receive approximately $60 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies. Of that, $40 million will go to NuScale Power to further its commercialization of small modular reactor technology. (Earlier post.)
These selections are the first under DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy’s US Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development funding opportunity announcement (FOA), and subsequent quarterly application review and selection processes will be conducted over the next five years. DOE intends to apply up to $40 million of additional FY 2018 funding to the next two quarterly award cycles for innovative proposals under this FOA.
This FOA covers three innovative funding pathways:
First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project pathway, intended to address major advanced reactor design development projects or complex technology advancements for existing plants which have significant technical and licensing risk and have the potential to be deployed by the mid-to-late 2020s.
Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway, which allows a broad scope of proposed concepts and ideas that are best suited to improving the capabilities and commercialization potential of advanced reactor designs and technologies.
Regulatory Assistance Grants, which provide direct support for resolving design regulatory issues, regulatory review of licensing topical reports or papers, and other efforts focused on obtaining certification and licensing approvals for advanced reactor designs and capabilities.
As part of DOE’s commitment to supporting US industry through private-public technical partnerships for nuclear energy innovation, the Department is also announcing technical voucher awards to US companies selected under the Department’s Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative.
The following two projects were selected under the FOAK Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project Pathway:
Phase 1 NuScale Small Modular Reactor FOAK Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project: NuScale Power. This project will conduct design finalization activities and ensure supply chain readiness to meet a commercial operation date of 2026 for the first NuScale plant.
DOE Funding: $40,000,000; Non-DOE: $40,000,000; Total Value: $80,000,000
Design and License Application Development for TRISO-X: A Cross-Cutting, High Assay Low Enriched Uranium Fuel Fabrication Facility: X Energy, LLC. This project will develop the design and license application development for a fuel fabrication facility capable of handling high-assay, low-enriched uranium and production of US-developed uranium oxycarbide (UCO) TRistructural ISOtropic (TRISO) particle based fuel elements required for the future fleet of advanced reactors.
DOE Funding: $4,494,444; Non-DOE: $4,494,444; Total Value: $8,988,888
The following four projects were selected under the Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway:
Combining Multi-Scale Modeling with Microcapsule Irradiation to Expedite Advanced Fuels Deployment: General Atomics. This work proposed by General Atomics aims to combine advances made in microstructurally-informed fuel performance modeling and simulation tools with a new microcapsule irradiation capability that can substantially reduce the schedule and cost burden associated with qualifying new fuel systems for commercial deployment.
DOE Funding: $2,210,995; Non-DOE: $552,749; Total: $2,763,744
Modeling and Optimization of Flow and Heat Transfer in Reactor Components for Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor Application: Elysium Industries USA. This project will develop the computational fluid dynamics models needed to simulate and optimize the flows of chloride molten salt fuel in a reactor vessel and heat exchangers for their Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor design.
DOE Funding: $2,560,000; Non-DOE: $640,000; Total Value: $3,200,000
Establishment of an integrated advanced manufacturing and data science driven paradigm for advanced reactor systems;BWXT Nuclear Energy. This project will develop the ability to implement Additive Materials Manufacturing to the fabrication process for nuclear components and sub-components that will yield acceptable material structure and strength that can be accepted by the national code organizations and the regulator.
DOE Funding: $5,400,000; Non-DOE: $4,415,000; Total Value: $9,815,000
Dynamic Natural Convection - Passive Cooling for the LWR Fleet: NuVision Engineering. This project proposes an engineered solution to mitigate the effects of loss of power to light water-based nuclear reactors and to remove decay heat from the reactor core, mitigating losses due to random equipment failures and severe accidents.
DOE Funding: $ 2,999,657; Non-DOE: $749,914; Total Value: $3,749,571
The following two projects were selected under the Regulatory Assistance Grant pathway:
Resolving the Regulatory Issues with Implementation of Online Monitoring Technologies to Extend the Calibration Intervals of Process Instruments in Nuclear Power Plants: Analysis and Measurement Services (AMS) Corporation. This project will work with nuclear industry stakeholders and the regulator to develop guidelines for extending calibration intervals of transmitters using online monitoring technology.
DOE Funding: $499,906; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total Value: $624,906
Pre-Application License Review of Silicon Carbide Composite Clad Uranium Carbide Fuel for Long-Life Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor Cores: General Atomics. This project will engage the regulator to execute a pre-licensing review of a silicon carbide composite-clad uranium carbide fuel system for use in a gas-cooled fast reactor long-life core.
DOE Funding: $380,655; Non-DOE: $95,164; Total Value: $475,819
DOE selected five US companies to receive GAIN technology development vouchers in this first review cycle. The companies selected and the DOE contribution to the cost-shared vouchers are Terrestrial Energy, USA ($500,000); Vega Wave Systems, Inc. ($130,000); Oklo, Inc. ($417,000); Urbix Resources, LLC ($320,000); and ThorCon US, Inc. ($400,000).