NRC issues key safety report on Kairos reactor

November 22, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News
Artistic rendering of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor, a scaled-down demo of the KP-FHR. (Image: Kairos Power)

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently issued a draft safety evaluation report indicating initial acceptance of Kairos Power’s source term methodology for its fluoride salt–cooled high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR).

The California-based company submitted a topical report in June of last year, detailing its approach to calculating the amount of radioactive material that could be released to the environment during an accident. The topical report, the first of its kind to be reviewed by the NRC, helps reduce the risk of licensing and deploying the company’s next-generation reactor, according to the Department of Energy. Kairos developed the method through a cost-shared award from the DOE.

The draft safety evaluation report documents the NRC’s review of Kairos’s source term calculation approach. If approved, a final safety report could be issued by February 2022 to utilize throughout the licensing process, the DOE stated.

What they’re saying: “This accomplishment strengthens our team’s extensive pre-application engagement with the NRC and builds licensing certainty for our advanced reactor technology,” said Mike Laufer, Kairos’s cofounder and chief executive officer. “In combination with our iterative hardware demonstrations, our licensing engagement contributes to the cost certainty that will be necessary for commercial demonstration and deployment.”

To date, Kairos has submitted 14 technical and topical reports to the NRC, and five topical reports have been approved. The company is also in the process of licensing Hermes, a low-power demonstration reactor that will support technology development for the KP-FHR and is scheduled to be operational by 2026 at the East Tennessee Technology Park. The DOE is supporting the technology development, construction, and commissioning of Hermes through an Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program award.

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