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Forging Ahead with SMR Developments

The U.S. Department of Energy announced Dec. 12 that NuScale Power LLC will be the second recipient of a funding opportunity to develop and certify its small modular reactor (SMR) technology. The first winner was Babcock & Wilcox’s Generation mPower division. Both companies are now working on such steps as design, engineering and licensing. Westinghouse, Holtec International and General Atomics were all in the running for the DOE funding, but were passed over both times. However, they all say the decision will not deter them from developing their reactors.

Holtec International said in a press release that it will continue to develop its reactor and their partners, SCE&G and PSEG Nuclear, have also expressed their continued support.

“Accordingly, we remain firm in our decision to forge ahead on our own and bring SMR-160 to the world as a carbon-free alternative that, once and for all, would rid nuclear power of the stigma of Fukushima, Chernobyl and TMI,” the company said in the release.

General Atomics said the company would find another way to develop its EM2 reactor.

“We would prefer to develop this in partnership with the U.S. government. If this is not possible, we will go elsewhere,” said John Parmentola, senior vice president of Energy and Advanced Concepts Group with General Atomics. “There are others who are champions of nuclear and have an urgency for clean, safe and economically competitive energy.”

Though the DOE did not pick these companies for one reason or another, the exclusion is not holding them back. If anything, it seems to push them to be innovative not just in their research and development, but in financing. It will be interesting to see how all of these SMR developments will affect the nuclear power industry.