Kairos applies for permit to build two-unit Hermes plant

July 26, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News
(Image: Kairos Power)

Kairos Power has filed a construction permit application with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a two-unit version of its Hermes advanced test reactor.

The Alameda, Calif.–based nuclear technology firm filed the application on July 14, providing, among other things, the required preliminary safety analysis report and environmental report. Kairos plans to build the two-reactor plant—dubbed Hermes 2—next to Hermes at a site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in the East Tennessee Technology Park.

NRC staff is reviewing the application to determine its acceptability for processing. Should the application prove satisfactory, staff will docket it and begin a detailed technical review. Following that, the NRC will publish a notice of opportunity to request an adjudicatory hearing on the application before the agency’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

In case you missed it: Late last month, NRC staff completed its final safety evaluation for Kairos’s application to build Hermes. The evaluation found no safety aspects precluding issuance of a construction permit for the proposed reactor.

Earlier this year, the agency’s Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards independently reviewed safety-related aspects of the Hermes application, and on May 16, recommended approval.

Background: Hermes is a 35-MWth fluoride salt–cooled, high-temperature reactor that uses solid tristructural isotropic, or TRISO, fuel in pebble form. The proposed unit is intended to demonstrate complete nuclear systems, advance Kairos’s manufacturing capabilities for critical components, test the supply chain, and facilitate licensing certainty for the technology. The company expects Hermes to be operational in 2026 and to lead to the development of its commercial-scale version, the 140-MWe KP-X reactor.

In December 2020, Kairos received a Department of Energy Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program award for risk-reduction funding to support the development, construction, and commissioning of Hermes in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, Materion Corporation, and the Electric Power Research Institute. The total award value is $629 million over seven years, with the DOE contributing $303 million.

Kairos has also established a cooperative development agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority to provide defined engineering, operations, and licensing services for Hermes.

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