DOE is ready to announce ARDP demo awards

October 12, 2020, 9:47AMNuclear News

The Department of Energy has selected the recipients of cost-shared funding for its Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) and has notified Congress of the selection, the DOE press staff indicated by tweet on October 8. A public announcement of the recipients is expected this week.

Reactor designers and others looking to invest in advanced nuclear technology had until August 19 to apply through a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) announced in May, which included $160 million in initial funds to build two reactors within the next five to seven years. Applicants were encouraged to connect with other advanced reactor stakeholders—including technology developers, reactor vendors, fuel manufacturers, utilities, supply chain vendors, contractors, and universities—through the ARDP FOA Collaboration Hub and apply as a team. This means that the DOE’s selection of a particular reactor design stands to benefit more than just the team behind the reactor’s initial design.

Backstory: The DOE was directed by the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act to establish the ARDP to facilitate U.S. private industry demonstration of several advanced reactors. Congress appropriated a total of $230 million for fiscal year 2020.

The DOE’s launch of the ARDP began with a request for information and notice of intent issued in February 2020. The RFI described a qualifying advanced reactor as any light-water or non–light-water fission reactor with significant improvements compared to the current generation of operational reactors, such as inherent safety features, lower waste yields, greater fuel utilization, superior reliability, resistant to proliferation, increased thermal efficiency, and the ability to integrate into electric and nonelectric applications.

A separate ARDP provision would support up to five additional teams resolving technical, operational, and regulatory challenges to prepare for future demonstration opportunities, and Advanced Reactor Concepts 2020 (ARC 20) would support innovative and diverse designs for potential commercialization in the mid-2030s.

Related Articles