Kairos Power forms advisory consortium with four nuclear utility partners

April 20, 2022, 12:00PMNuclear News

Kairos Power announced today that it has assembled an advanced nuclear development advisory consortium with four North American nuclear operators—Bruce Power, Constellation, Southern Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority—dubbed Kairos Power Operations, Manufacturing and Development Alliance (Kairos Power-OMADA).

Kairos Power is developing a fluoride salt-cooled, TRISO-fueled high-temperature reactor called the KP-FHR, and by forming KP-OMADA the company seeks to “bring together best-in-class nuclear owners and operators to advise on the development of KP-FHR technology, licensing, manufacturing, construction, and commercialization.” Input from the group may influence the future siting and development of Kairos Power’s User Facility (U-Facility)—a planned full-scale, non-nuclear demonstration reactor and operations/maintenance training facility—and the siting and development of Kairos Power’s KP-X—a 140-MWe-unit commercial reactor operating at grid scale.

“In partnering with an incredible team of nuclear owners and operators, Kairos Power is taking a significant step forward to lay the groundwork for our first commercial offering,” said Mike Laufer, Kairos Power chief executive officer and cofounder. “In order for advanced nuclear reactors to play a significant role in the fight against climate change, we are focused on the delivery of a safe and affordable technology through iterative hardware demonstrations. By aligning with industry leaders, we will gain confidence through these iterations that our advanced reactor technology will meet the evolving operational needs of our customers in the years to come.”

One step at a time: Kairos already has a site for the next step in an iterative plan of development. In May 2021, the company announced plans with TVA to collaborate on the deployment of Hermes, a low-power demonstration reactor, at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) in Oak Ridge, Tenn. TVA holds an Early Site Permit for a small modular reactor at the Clinch River nuclear site and is evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with deployment of more than one reactor and more than one design.

In October 2021, Kairos Power finished submitting an application for a construction permit for Hermes to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. A public comment period on the NRC’s scoping process for an environmental impact statement for the project opened in February and closed on April 19.

On board: The four companies that have agreed to partner with Kairos Power are committed to clean nuclear power generation, and in some cases have announced other collaborations with fission or fusion technology developers.

  • Mike Rencheck, president and CEO of Bruce Power: “As a leading producer of clean, reliable and affordable nuclear energy, Bruce Power is pleased to partner with Kairos Power and our industry peers and apply our extensive expertise and experience as a nuclear operator to this exciting and innovative consortium. Bruce Power is committed to its role in the fight against climate change. There is no net-zero future without nuclear power and advanced nuclear technology is part of the long-term solution.”
  • Joseph Dominguez, Constellation CEO: “Collaboration is critical as we face the climate crisis. Creating a consortium of industry experts to consult on the salt-cooled reactor project is the right way to advance the next generation of nuclear technology. As the operator of the nation’s largest zero-carbon nuclear fleet, we will bring our deep knowledge accrued from operating Constellation’s 21 reactors to help inform this important next step toward achieving a low-carbon future.”
  • Mark S. Berry, vice president of Research and Development, Southern Company: “Southern Company leads a robust research program to evaluate and accelerate next-generation nuclear technologies with high potential to provide reliable, resilient, and dispatchable production of clean, carbon-free electricity in a net-zero future. We look forward to furthering our view of the advanced nuclear landscape by participating in the Kairos Power-OMADA consortium.”
  • Jeff Lyash, president and CEO of TVA: “We believe advanced nuclear technologies will play a critical role in our nation’s drive toward a clean energy future and look forward to working with Kairos Power and all consortium members as we pursue the shared goals of safe, low-cost, carbon-free energy. By joining this collaborative effort, we will build upon TVA’s leadership in carbon reduction across our seven-state region and have the opportunity to share best practices and partner as the industry continues to innovate.”

A pioneer: Kairos Power’s KP-OMADA announcement comes on the heels of April 14 news from BloombergNEF (BNEF) that Kairos Power is one of 12 “early-stage companies that are pursuing significant low-carbon opportunities” designated 2022 BNEF Pioneers. Kairos Power made the list because it is engaged in “providing round-the-clock zero-emissions power”—one of three “challenges” identified by BNEF. Other challenges for 2022 included “scaling long-term carbon removal technologies” and “decarbonizing aviation.”

In the words of the BNEF announcement, Kairos Power “has developed a novel advanced nuclear reactor technology to complement renewable energy sources.” Kairos Power is the first nuclear technology company to have been named a BNEF Pioneer in more than one decade of the program.

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