Photo: Artistic rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor (Credit: Kairos Power)The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has accepted for review an application from Kairos Power for a permit to construct a test reactor at a site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Kairos submitted the first portion of the application on 29 September and the remainder on 31 October. The Kairos application seeks to build the company’s 35MW, non-power Hermes test reactor. Hermes would use molten salt to cool the reactor core, providing operational data to support development of a larger version meant for a commercial nuclear power plant. The company will be required to submit a separate application for an operating licence in the future.

NRC said accepting the application for review, or “docketing,” does not indicate whether the Commission will approve or reject the construction permit request. Beginning in March 2018, Kairos engaged in extensive pre-application activities with the

NRC staff to address key aspects of the Hermes design. Because of this constructive engagement, the agency was able to establish a shortened review schedule of 21 months. Barring unforeseen delays, the staff expects to complete its environmental and safety reviews by September 2023. 

Photo: Artistic rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor (Credit: Kairos Power)