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DOE Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program awards $30M in initial funding for risk reduction projects

The US Department of Energy (DOE) is awarding $30 million in initial funding to five teams for projects under one of three programs—Risk Reduction for Future Demonstration—in the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). The awards are cost-shared partnerships with industry, and companies were chosen through a funding opportunity announcement issued in May 2020.

ARDP is designed to help domestic private industry demonstrate advanced nuclear reactors in the United States. DOE expects to invest approximately $600 million over seven years with industry partners providing at least 20% in matching funds.

The goal of the Risk Reduction program is to design and develop safe and affordable reactor technologies that can be licensed and deployed over the next 10 to 14 years. DOE has selected these five US-based teams to receive Risk Reduction funding:

  • Hermes Reduced-Scale Test Reactor - Kairos Power, LLC (Alameda, CA) will design, construct, and operate its Hermes reduced-scale test reactor. Hermes is intended to lead to the development of Kairos Power’s commercial-scale KP-FHR (Kairos Power Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor), a novel advanced nuclear reactor technology that leverages Tri-structural ISOtropic particle fuel (TRISO) fuel in pebble form combined with a low-pressure fluoride salt coolant. Total award value over seven years: $629 million (DOE share is $303 million)

  • eVinci Microreactor – Westinghouse Electric Company, LLC (Cranberry Township, PA) will advance the design of a heat pipe-cooled microreactor to support a nuclear demonstration unit by 2024. The project will serve to reduce technical risks associated with the moderator canister design, improve the ability to manufacture heat pipe wicks, and develop an economically viable refueling process and licensing approach. Total award value over seven years: $9.3 million (DOE share is $7.4 million)

  • BWXT Advanced Nuclear Reactor (BANR) – BWXT Advanced Technologies, LLC (Lynchburg, VA) will develop a commercially-viable transportable microreactor with the design focused on using TRISO fuel particles to achieve higher uranium loading and an improved core design using a silicon carbide (SiC) matrix. Total award value over seven years: $106.6 million (DOE share is $85.3 million)

  • Holtec SMR-160 Reactor – Holtec Government Services, LLC (Camden, NJ) is receiving funding for early-stage design, engineering, and licensing activities to accelerate the development of Holtec’s light water-cooled SMR-160 (small modular reactor). Total award value over seven years: $147.5 million (DOE share is $116 million)

  • Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment – Southern Company Services, Inc. (Birmingham, AL) will lead a project to design, construct, and operate the Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment (MCRE) – the world’s first critical fast-spectrum salt reactor relevant to TerraPower’s Molten Chloride Fast Reactor. Total award value over seven years: $113 million (DOE share is $90.4 million)

The goal of the Advanced Reactor Concepts-20 (ARC-20) program is to assist the progression of advanced reactor designs in their earliest phases. DOE expects to announce awards for this funding pathway later this month.

In October 2020, DOE announced the selections of TerraPower LLC (Bellevue, WA) and X-energy (Rockville, MD) to receive $160 million in initial funding for ARDP Demonstration projects to develop and construct two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years.

Funding for ARDP beyond the near-term is contingent on additional future appropriations, evaluations of satisfactory progress, and DOE approval of project continuation.





I a hopeful that the TerraPower traveling wave reactor will indeed make it to operational status within 7 years. Their design will burn existing nuclear waste, existing depleted uranium and natural or non-enriched uranium. We have an existing stockpile of depleted uranium that will provide enough power for 700 years at our current rate usage. And burning the existing nuclear waste will largely eliminate this problem as the fissile material is burned to near completion.


Absolutely right, using up the DU for fuel is a great idea.

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