US DOE Awards $8.5 million for promising nuclear technologies

22 November 2021

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $8.5 million to help commercialise promising advanced nuclear technologies.

The funding supports five industry-led projects across the country and leverages the latest modelling and simulation tools developed by DOE, in addition to siting analysis and other research activities that will inform the future deployment of advanced reactors on islands or for the potential use in maritime applications.   

“Advanced reactors will completely change the way we engineer, build, and operate nuclear reactors,” said Dr Kathryn Huff, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy. “These awards support technical and regulatory strides necessary for commercialising new carbon-free nuclear technologies poised to help our nation reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”  

The awards are funded through the Office of Nuclear Energy’s US Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development funding opportunity, which has invested more than $215 million in advanced nuclear technologies since 2017. The solicitations are broken down into three funding pathways to support first-of-a-kind nuclear demonstration readiness projects, advanced reactor development projects, and direct regulatory assistance.   

The following projects selected under the advanced reactor development projects pathway include:

  • Phase 2 - Site Suitability Study for Small Modular Reactors and Microreactors in Puerto Rico – The Nuclear Alternative Project (Sugar Land, TX) will evaluate the general site suitability for small modular reactors and microreactors in Puerto Rico. Results of the study will support DOE’s mission to commercialise these technologies in small island and/or remote locations. Total Award Value: $1,628,285.
  • Off-Gas Modelling and Uncertainty Propagation to Support Molten Salt Reactor Licensing - Terrestrial Energy USA (Charlotte, NC) will develop an approach to handling uncertainty in the modelling of off-gas systems of molten salt reactors. The team will use available Nuclear Energy Advanced Modelling and Simulation programme tools developed by DOE and will apply this methodology to the company’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor design. Total Award Value: $2,998,325.
  • Accelerating Commercial Maritime Demonstration Projects for Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technologies - American Bureau of Shipping (Spring, TX) will focus on addressing hurdles in the maritime domain so that new reactor technology can be rapidly deployed for commercial applications. Advanced nuclear technology is well-positioned to be one of the strongest tools available to help the industry achieve its aggressive decarbonisation goals. Total Award Value: $793,999.
  • On the Path to a Nuclear Fuel Digital Twin: Modelling and Simulation of Silicon Carbide Cladding for Accelerated Fuel Qualification - General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems (San Diego, CA) will deliver a constitutive model, based on physics, for its silicon carbide-based fuel for high-temperature gas reactors. The new tool will be benchmarked against commercially available models and experimental data to demonstrate to regulators how the fuel behaves under all conditions in a reactor. Total Award Value: $2,730,335.  

Grant assistance projects include:

Advanced Modelling and Simulation to Characterise Advanced BWR Source Terms to Support a Regulatory Approval Pathway for Right-Sized Emergency Planning Zone – Pittsburgh Technical (Pittsburgh, PA) will support the development of improved modelling and simulation capabilities for advanced boiling water reactors by improving existing fission product transport and deposition models. This will support right-sized emergency planning zones for advanced reactors. Total Award Value: $306,250.  

This selection is the eleventh round of awards under this funding opportunity. One DOE application review will be conducted in Fiscal Year 2022 with selection processes continuing through December 2022. 

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