ARPA-E projects to receive $27 million in DOE grants

May 21, 2020, 12:34PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy is awarding $27 million in funding for nine projects through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy’s (ARPA-E) Generating Electricity Managed by Intelligent Nuclear Assets (GEMINA) program. These projects will work to develop digital twin technology to reduce operations and maintenance (O&M) costs in the next generation of nuclear power plants in order to make them more economical, flexible, and efficient, according to the DOE.

X-energy received $6 million in funding through the GEMINA project, the largest amount awarded to nine projects that were announced in May as grant recipients by the DOE’s ARPA-E. The design shown here is X-energy’s Xe-100, an advanced modular reactor with each unit designed to produce around 76 megawatts of electric power. Photo: X-energy

And the winners are: The grants, announced by the DOE on May 13, were awarded to the following entities and projects:

  • GE Global Research, Niskayuna, N.Y. (AI-Enabled Predictive Maintenance Digital Twins for Advanced Nuclear Reactors)
  • Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, Calif. (Build-to-Replace: A New Paradigm for Reducing Advanced Reactor O&M Costs)
  • X-energy, Rockville, Md. (Advanced Operation & Maintenance Techniques Implemented in the Xe-100 Plant Digital Twin to Reduce Fixed O&M Cost)
  • Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, Ill. (Maintenance of Advanced Reactor Sensors and Components)
  • Framatome, Lynchburg, Va. (Digital Twin-Based Asset Performance and Reliability Diagnosis for the HTGR Reactor Cavity Cooling System Using Metroscope)
  • Moltex Energy USA, Wilmington, Del. (SSR APPLIED—Automated Power Plants: Intelligent, Efficient, and Digitized)
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. (Project SAFARI —Secure Automation For Advanced Reactor Innovation)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. (High-Fidelity Digital Twins for BWRX-300 Critical Systems, and Generation of Critical Irradiation Data to Enable Digital Twinning of Molten-Salt Reactors)

Details: The projects will work to lower O&M costs by using digital technologies that are driving efficiencies across other industries, such as artificial intelligence, advanced control systems, predictive maintenance, and model-based fault detection. The new technologies will be used for, among other things, more flexible operations for integration into an electrical grid with a large fraction of intermittent generation resources. Read more about the individual projects.

They said it: “Advanced nuclear reactors have the potential to provide reliable and low-cost clean power to millions of American homes,” said ARPA-E Director Lane Genatowski. “These GEMINA teams are working to develop tools for the advanced reactors of tomorrow to improve operations and lower maintenance costs by designing more autonomous and efficient processes.”

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