The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) selected 13 projects to receive approximately $60 million in federal funding for cost-shared research and development for advanced nuclear technologies.

The selections are the first under DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy’s U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development funding opportunity announcement. DOE intends to apply up to $40 million of additional funding for innovative proposals.

DOE says that the projects will allow industry-led teams, which include participants from federal agencies, public and private laboratories, institutions of higher education, and other domestic entities, to advance the state of U.S. commercial nuclear capability.

The funding announcement is intended to advance three specific areas:

First-of-a-Kind (FOAK) Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project pathway, to address major advanced reactor design development projects or technology advancements for existing plants which have significant technical and licensing risk and have the potential to be deployed by the mid-to-late 2020s.

Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway, which allows a broad scope of proposed concepts and ideas that are best suited to improving the capabilities and commercialization potential of advanced reactor designs and technologies.

Regulatory Assistance Grants, which provide direct support for resolving design regulatory issues, regulatory review of licensing topical reports or papers, and other efforts focused on obtaining certification and licensing approvals for advanced reactor designs and capabilities.

Two projects were selected under the Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project Pathway:

Design and License Application Development for TRISO-X: A Cross-Cutting, High Assay Low Enriched Uranium Fuel Fabrication Facility – X Energy, LLC (Greenbelt, Maryland). This project will develop the design and license application development for a fuel fabrication facility capable of handling high-assay, low-enriched uranium and production of U.S.-developed uranium oxycarbide (UCO) TRistructural ISOtropic (TRISO) particle-based fuel elements required for the future fleet of advanced reactors. DOE funding: $4,494,444; Non-DOE: $4,494,444; Total value: $8,988,888.

Phase 1 NuScale Small Modular Reactor FOAK Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project – NuScale Power (Corvallis, Oregon). This project will conduct design finalization activities and ensure supply chain readiness to meet a commercial operation date of 2026 for the first NuScale plant. DOE funding: $40,000,000; Non-DOE: $40,000,000; Total value: $80,000,000.

Four projects were selected under the Advanced Reactor Development Projects pathway:

Combining Multi-Scale Modeling with Microcapsule Irradiation to Expedite Advanced Fuels Deployment – General Atomics (San Diego, California). This work proposed by General Atomics aims to combine advances made in microstructurally informed fuel performance modeling and simulation tools with a new microcapsule irradiation capability that can substantially reduce the schedule and cost burden associated with qualifying new fuel systems for commercial deployment. DOE funding: $2,210,995; Non-DOE: $552,749; Total value: $2,763,744.

Modeling and Optimization of Flow and Heat Transfer in Reactor Components for Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor Application – Elysium Industries USA (Clifton Park, New York). This project will develop the computational fluid dynamics models needed to simulate and optimize the flows of chloride molten salt fuel in a reactor vessel and heat exchangers for their Molten Chloride Salt Fast Reactor design. DOE funding: $2,560,000; Non-DOE: $640,000; Total value: $3,200,000.

Establishment of an integrated advanced manufacturing and data science driven paradigm for advanced reactor systems – BWXT Nuclear Energy, Inc. (Lynchburg, Virginia). This project will develop the ability to implement Additive Materials Manufacturing to the fabrication process for nuclear components and sub-components that will yield acceptable material structure and strength that can be accepted by the national code organizations and the regulator. DOE funding: $5,400,000; Non-DOE: $4,415,000; Total value: $9,815,000.

Dynamic Natural Convection - Passive Cooling for the LWR Fleet - NuVision Engineering Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). This project proposes an engineered solution to mitigate the effects of loss of power to light water-based nuclear reactors and to remove decay heat from the reactor core, mitigating losses due to random equipment failures and severe accidents. DOE funding: $ 2,999,657; Non-DOE: $749,914; Total value: $3,749,571.

Two projects were selected under the Regulatory Assistance Grant pathway:

Resolving the Regulatory Issues with Implementation of Online Monitoring Technologies to Extend the Calibration Intervals of Process Instruments in Nuclear Power Plants - Analysis and Measurement Services (AMS) Corporation (Knoxville, Tennessee). This project will work with nuclear industry stakeholders and the regulator to develop guidelines for extending calibration intervals of transmitters using online monitoring technology. DOE funding: $499,906; Non-DOE: $125,000; Total value: $624,906.

Pre-Application License Review of Silicon Carbide Composite Clad Uranium Carbide Fuel for Long-Life Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor Cores – General Atomics (San Diego, California). This project will engage the regulator to execute a pre-licensing review of a silicon carbide composite-clad uranium carbide fuel system for use in a gas-cooled fast reactor long-life core. DOE funding: $380,655; Non-DOE: $95,164; Total value: $475,819.

DOE also selected five U.S. companies to receive GAIN technology development vouchers in this first review cycle. The companies selected and the DOE contribution to the cost-shared vouchers are Terrestrial Energy, USA in New York ($500,000); Vega Wave Systems, Inc. in West Chicago, Illinois ($130,000); Oklo, Inc. in Sunnyvale, California ($417,000); Urbix Resources, LLC in Mesa, Arizona ($320,000); and ThorCon US, Inc. in Stevenson, Washington ($400,000).

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