The US Department of Energy (DOE) on 22 December announced $20 million in awards for the third of three programmes under its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Programme (ARDP).
DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) has selected three teams to receive FY20 funding for the ARDP’s Advanced Reactor Concepts-20 (ARC-20) programme, which aims to help domestic private industry demonstrate advanced nuclear reactors in the United States.
DOE issued an ARDP funding opportunity announcement in May 2020 which included the ARC-20 awards, the Advanced Reactor Demonstration awards, and the Risk Reduction for Future Demonstration awards. For the ARC-20 projects, DOE expects to invest a total of approximately $56 million over four years with industry partners providing at least 20% in matching funds.
The goal of the ARC-20 programme is to assist the progression of advanced reactor designs in their earliest phases. DOE has selected three US-based teams to receive ARC-20 funding:
- Inherently Safe Advanced SMR for American Nuclear Leadership - Advanced Reactor Concepts will deliver a conceptual design of a seismically isolated advanced sodium-cooled reactor facility that builds upon the initial pre-conceptual design of a 100 MWe reactor facility. Total award value over three and a half years: $34.4 million (DOE share $27.5 million);
- Fast Modular Reactor Conceptual Design - General Atomics will develop a fast modular reactor conceptual design with verifications of key metrics in fuel, safety, and operational performance. The design will be for a 50MWe fast modular reactor. Total award value over three years: $31.1 million (DOE share $24.8 million);
- Horizontal Compact High Temperature Gas Reactor – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will mature the Modular Integrated Gas-Cooled High Temperature Reactor (MIGHTR) concept from a pre-conceptual stage to a conceptual stage to support commercialisation. Total award value over three years: $4.9 million (DOE cost share $3.9 million).
“ARDP is significant because it will enable a market for commercial reactors that are safe and affordable to both construct and operate in the near- and mid-term,” said US Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “All three programmes under ARDP pave the way for the United States to be highly competitive globally.”
Earlier, on 16 December, DOE announced the selections of five teams to receive $30 million in initial funding under ARDP’s Risk Reduction for Future Demonstration programme. In October DOE had announced the selections of TerraPower and X-energy to receive $160 million in initial funding for ARDP Demonstration projects to build 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 continuation applications.
“These aggressive timelines are needed to ensure the United States takes advantage of the advanced reactor market that’s expected to be worth billions of dollars. That’s why we plan to invest more than $600 million in these projects over the next seven years, pending the availability of future appropriations by Congress,” DOE said. “By proactively pursuing a diverse portfolio of US reactors, we can help reestablish our global leadership in the technology that we first developed.”