The US Department of Energy has entered into public-private partnerships with three companies to develop plans for the deployment of small modular reactor technology at the Savannah River Site, near Aiken, South Carolina. The agreements will ‘break down the technical and economic barriers’ to SMR deployment, DOE said

The agreements are with Hyperion Power Generation, SMR LLC (a subsidiary of Holtec International) and Nuscale Power. Hyperion is developing a 25 MW fast reactor, using uranium nitride fuel and lead-bismuth eutectic coolant. SMR LLC is developing a 160 MW passive reactor, known as SMR-160. NuScale is developing a 45 MWe self-contained pressurized water reactor and generator set, with investment support from Fluor Corporation.

These three vendors and private sector partners would design, license, and construct the prototype that will power the SRS micro-grid. In turn SRNL would provide technical assistance in areas including siting, environmental studies, emergency planning and licensing support. DOE would provide access to the site, security, and infrastructure and would enter into a long-term power purchase agreement, according to Holtec.

“We have a unique combination of nuclear knowledge and laboratory expertise, infrastructure, location and much more to make the site a natural fit for advancing the small modular reactor technology,” said Dave Moody, DOE-SR Manager.

Commenting on the deal Hyperion CEO, Bob Prince said that: “Securing a first site is a key contributor toward the company’s forward progress.” Hyperion said in 2009 that it aimed to have its first units operating within four years, potentially at a DOE site.

The president of SMR LLC said that the partnership with SRNL and DOE-SR was a ‘validation of the maturity and inherent safety of the HI-SMUR technology.’

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