US Kairos Power officials, along with Tennessee Governor Bill Lee and Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) Commissioner Bob Rolfe on 16 July announced that Kairos Power will establish its low-power demonstration Hermes reactor in Oak Ridge.
Kairos Power, a privately funded, advanced nuclear engineering company, will invest $100 million and create 55 jobs to deploy the reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge. Hermes, will demonstrate the company’s capability to deliver low-cost nuclear heat. The Hermes reactor is a scaled version of Kairos Power’s Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), an advanced reactor technology that aims to be cost competitive with natural gas in the US electricity market in order to provide carbon-free, affordable and safe energy. The project will be at a redevelopment of a site at the Heritage Centre, a former US Department of Energy (DOE) site complex.
The Hermes reactor is scheduled to be operational in 2026, and will move forward Kairos Power’s iterative development process from prototype toward commercial scale. It will do this by demonstrating complete nuclear systems, advancing Kairos Power’s manufacturing capabilities for critical components, testing the supply chain and facilitating licensing certainty for the KP-FHR.
Kairos Power received $303 million in funding from DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy as part of the programme for Risk Reduction projects to support the design, licensing and construction of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor. Hermes is intended to lead to the development of the Kairos Power KP-X, a commercial-scale KP-FHR.
“I’m proud of the energy development happening in Tennessee that will positively impact the US and the world, “ said Governor Lee. “We thank Kairos Power for choosing to develop their test reactor here in Tennessee to support their mission of developing innovative nuclear technology that will move the US forward.”
TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe said: “The Oak Ridge Corridor is at the forefront of science and technology in the US and this partnership with Kairos Power is a huge accomplishment for Tennessee and the nuclear energy world. The combination of resources working to deliver innovative nuclear energy is fuelled by our strong science and energy sector and the excellent work being done daily at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.” He congratulated Kairos Power on its groundbreaking project.
“The opportunity to demonstrate Kairos Power’s advanced nuclear technology in Tennessee is a major milestone on the path to a clean and affordable energy system in the United States,” said Kairos Power CEO and Co-Founder Mike Laufer. “We are grateful for the support from our partners at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority, City of Oak Ridge, the East Tennessee Economic Council, Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and we look forward to continued growth and engagement in Tennessee.”