South Korean power infrastructure firm Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction will partner with U.S.-based X-energy on developing and designing tests for advanced high temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) technologies.
The move will diversify Doosan Heavy’s work in the small modular reactor field. Although none have been constructed and commissioned yet, many feel that SMR nuclear technologies are promising due to the smaller geographical footprint and potential cost savings over conventional nuclear power projects.
X-energy was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program in October 2020. The $80 million DOE award helps the company and utility partner Energy Northwest in development of the designed 80-MW Xe-100 gas-cooled reactor.
The team hopes to have an Xe-100 demonstration project up and running by 2027. Under this new contract, Doosan Heavy will support the SMR project by performing a study for optimum design to achieve manufacturability and mock-up testing.
The coolant for HTGR is helium gas, while existing power plants utilize water.
Companies such as NuScale Power and TerraPower are working toward potential SMR nuclear projects. Conventional nuclear currently supplies about 20 percent of the U.S. power generation mix and more than half of its carbon-free electricity.