The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award approximately $18 million to eleven domestic advanced nuclear technology projects; project values total $25 million. The projects are cost-shared and will allow industry-led teams, including participants from federal agencies, public and private laboratories, institutions of higher education, and other domestic entities, to advance the state of US commercial nuclear capability.
The awards are through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s (NE) funding opportunity announcement (FOA) U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development. This is the third round of funding through this FOA. The first group was announced on 27 April and the second group was announced on 10 July. The total of the three rounds of awards is approximately $98 million. The awards also include vouchers through the Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear (GAIN) initiative. Subsequent quarterly application review and selection processes will be conducted over the next four years.
The solicitation is broken into three 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 pathway, 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.
The following project was selected under the FOAK Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project pathway:
Integral and Separate Effects Test Program for the Investigation and Validation of Passive Safety System Performance of SMRs - Phase 1 Only. SMR, LLC will develop a uniquely configurable set of testing platforms to demonstrate small modular reactor (SMR) passive safety system performance, accelerate the SMR-160 and other SMR designs to market, and help license these designs with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and international regulators.
DOE Funding: $1,624,729; Non-DOE: $1,624,729; Total Value: $3,249,458
The following four projects were selected under the Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway:
Development of Cable Aging Acceptance Criteria for Nuclear Facilities. This work proposed by Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation aims to develop acceptance criteria for mechanical, electrical, thermal, and chemical condition monitoring tests that trend with age-related degradation of electrical cables.
DOE Funding: $2,812,547; Non-DOE: $703,137; Total: $3,515,684
Modeling and Analysis of Exelon Boiling Water Reactors (BWRs) for Eigenvalue & Thermal Limits Predictability. Under this proposal, Exelon Generation will provide a deeper understanding of BWR core behavior (including Exelon’s 15 BWRs) using the reactor modeling tool Virtual Environment for Reactor Applications (VERA). This will lead to improved core performance predictions for BWRs including reactivity and thermal margins, which has a direct, positive economic impact in terms of cycle energy production and fuel costs.
DOE Funding: $5,000,000; Non-DOE: $1,740,000; Total Value: $6,740,000
Establishing Modular In-Chamber Electron Beam Welding. The Electric Power Research Institute will demonstrate the capability to produce large, thick-section components to support nuclear production in the United States via Modular In-Chamber Electron Beam Welding.
DOE Funding: $2,925,057; Non-DOE: $731,265; Total Value: $3,656,322
Integrated Risk-Informed Condition Based Maintenance Capability and Automated Platform. A team comprising Public Services Enterprise & Group (PSE&G) Nuclear, LLC, Idaho National Laboratory, and Rolls-Royce North America will develop and perform pilot implementation of a fully integrated risk-informed condition based maintenance capability, on an automated platform. The key outcome of this project, when implemented, is significantly reduced O&M costs associated with time-based maintenance, across the UA nuclear fleet.
DOE Funding: $3,567,190; Non-DOE: $891,798; Total Value: $4,458,988
The following project was selected under the Regulatory Assistance Grant pathway:
TEUSA-USNRC Pre-Licensing Activities for the Integral Molten Salt Reactor (IMSR). Terrestrial Energy USA will conduct pre-application interactions with the US NRC to advance the progress of licensing the IMSR.
DOE Funding: $499,232; Non-DOE: $124,808; Total Value: $624,040
DOE has selected five companies to receive technology development vouchers under the GAIN program. The companies selected are Westinghouse Electric Company in the amount of $420,000; Elysium Industries in the amount of $500,000; NexDefense in the amount of $400,000; Exelon Generation in the amount of $480,000; and Eastman Chemical Company in the amount of $350,000.