DOE launches advanced reactor demo program

February 17, 2020, 4:32PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy was directed by the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017 to establish the Advanced Reactor Demonstration (ARD) Program to stimulate commercial enterprises in advanced reactor deployment and facilitate U.S. private industry’s demonstration of several advanced reactors with the capability to achieve reliable, cost-­effective, and licensable designs. The ARD program was launched on February 5 with a request for information (RFI) and notice of intent (NOI) issued by the Office of Nuclear Energy’s Office of Reactor Fleet and Advanced Reactor Deployment.

The DOE intends to solicit applications for two cost-­shared awards to demonstrate advanced reactor designs within five to seven years of the award. Two to five smaller awards will address the technical risks of other advanced designs. According to the RFI, the primary objective of the new program is to focus DOE and nonfederal resources on the actual construction and operational readiness of the selected demonstrations.

A demonstration project can be an advanced reactor operated for power generation or other commercial applications. For the purpose of the ARD program, an advanced reactor is defined 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, resistance to proliferation, increased thermal efficiency, and the ability to integrate into electric and nonelectric applications.

According to the RFI, the total first-­year DOE funding for each demonstration award will be approximately $80 million, with future-­year funding dependent on the selected project requirements and congressional appropriations, and a cost share of not less than 50 percent from nonfederal sources will be required. Between two and five applicants representing diverse reactor designs not selected for a demonstration award may receive a risk reduction award to increase the technological maturity of the designs. The total value of these awards from the DOE will be $30 million for year one, the RFI states, and a cost share of not less than 20 percent will be required.

Visit <­feedback-­needed-­new-­advanced-­reactor-­demonstration-­program> for more information and a link to the RFI/NOI.

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