X-energy’s mobile microreactor gets support from DOE

October 30, 2023, 12:00PMNuclear News

X-energy and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy have reached a cooperative agreement valued at $2.5 million to continue the development of X-energy’s mobile microreactor design, the company announced October 25. The agreement, which extends through 2024, supports X-energy’s work on architecture and key technologies for the preliminary design of a commercial transportable power plant expected to produce 3–5 MWe.

Meeting civilian and military needs: In 2020, the Department of Defense’s Strategic Capabilities Office selected X-energy, as well as BWX Technologies and Westinghouse, to design a prototype mobile microreactor that can support mission-critical operations in remote military locations. While X-energy was not awarded a contract to build and test a reactor for Project Pele (that award went to BWXT), the DOD recently expanded its Project Pele agreement with X-energy for one year of work on “enhanced engineering design.”

According to X-energy, separate teams at the company are working in parallel on advanced microreactor designs through the DOE- and DOD-funded agreements.

They said it: “We are grateful for the DOE’s continued support and plan to use this latest award, totaling approximately $2.5 million, to continue advancing our mobile microreactor beyond technical feasibility to commercial reality,” said Georgette Alexander-Morrison, X-energy’s vice president of government programs. “We intend to build on our expertise in next-generation nuclear reactor and fuel design, transportable nuclear systems, and small nuclear solutions for space to create a clean and practical microreactor to be competitive with fossil fuel–based power generation used today for commercial and government agency applications.”

“We are excited to continue to advance the engineering technology that went into our initial high-performance designs for Project Pele. With the combined support of the DOE and DOD, we are confident that we can reduce costs and deliver a solution that meets the needs of both civilian and military users,” said Hans Gougar, X-energy’s lead microreactor engineer. “This project brings us closer to deploying emission-free power to replace diesel in hard-to-reach locations, for disaster relief, maritime power delivery, and when critical infrastructure resiliency is threatened.”

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