US-based Holtec Intrnational is moving forward on its $7.4 billion plan to build up to four small modular reactors (SMRs) and a "supersize" reactor factory in New Jersey. Holtec said it had submitted Part II of a federal loan application to the Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Program Office. DOE had approved Part I of Holtec's application in March.
Holtec's loan application said: “Our Camden and Pittsburgh based plants, both equipped to manufacture heavy capital equipment of the kind needed in SMRs, currently produce nearly 1,000 pieces of heavy equipment and weldments each year. The advanced manufacturing capabilities located in Camden will be enlarged with additional machining, robotic welding, and material handling equipment to increase the throughput of SMR-160 components to help meet the projected rise in demand for the SMR-160s expected in the next decade.”
Holtec added: “The new giga-manufacturing facility, to be built at a yet unidentified location, will be a much larger version of the modern heavy fabrication plant on Holtec’s Camden technology headquarters that the Company commissioned in 2017. Holtec plans to build the new facility, tentatively named Holtec Heavy Industries, to materially improve America’s nuclear manufacturing capacity, and to make it available to other nuclear plant suppliers with capital hardware needs.”
Holtec also reported that NPP operator Entergy Corporation had entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Holtec, under which Entergy will evaluate the feasibility of deploying one or more SMR-160s on one or more of its existing sites within the Entergy service area. Entergy’s Chief Nuclear Office, Chris Bakken, noted, “Entergy will be evaluating Holtec’s SMR-160 system as a means to potentially help us meet our net-zero goals because of its inherent safety, modularity, operational simplicity, small footprint, and the proven light water reactor technologies that undergird it. Holtec’s established domestic manufacturing capacity, a strong balance sheet and their decades of proven performance in supporting our operating fleet also factored in our decision.”
The loan application to DOE identifies several locations for the first SMR-160 plants, as any deployment requires securing the requisite financial support for the plant’s construction and a long-term purchase power agreement (PPA) from the candidate host states. In addition to Entergy’s service area as a potential location, the application mentions building the first SMR-160 at Holtec’s own Oyster Creek plant site (purchased from Exelon in 2018) in New Jersey, where Holtec already has a functioning state-of-the art manufacturing plant.
“The new high-capacity manufacturing plant will likely be located in the region where the first SMR-160s will be deployed,” Holtec said. “Inevitably, the first mover state will become the leader in the emerging industry of small modular reactors with tens of thousands of new high-paying jobs in manufacturing, reactor support services, nuclear plant operations and related areas.”
Image: Rendering of Holtec's SMR-160 small modular reactor (photo courtesy of Holtec International)