Research & Development

Advanced Reactors / US Announces Programme To Build Two Nuclear Plants Within Seven Years

By David Dalton
14 May 2020

Initial $160m funding with ‘aim of breaking ground on construction projects’, says DOE
US Announces Programme To Build Two Nuclear Plants Within Seven Years
The US Department of Energy has launched an advanced reactor development programme with initial funding of $160m and the aim of building two reactors that can be operational within five to seven years.

The DOE said the programme, known as the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), is designed to help domestic private industry demonstrate advanced nuclear reactors in the US.

For the fiscal year 2020 budget, Congress appropriated $230m to start a new demonstration program for advanced reactors. Through cost-shared partnerships with industry, the new programme will provide $160m for initial funding.

Announcing the programme during a Nuclear Energy Agency webinar on 14 May, assistant secretary for the office of nuclear energy Rita Baranwal said the DOE has been “moving very quickly” to execute the new programme and “the aim to break ground on construction projects”. She praised the “bilateral support from congress to further new nuclear technology”.

Applications for funding opened on 14 May for 90 days and there will be a “virtual industry day” in June for applicants to get further details. Funding awards will be made at end of calendar year.

Applicants are being asked to submit research proposals in key areas such as advanced reactor demonstrations, risk reduction for future demonstrations and regulatory challenges to prepare for future demonstration opportunities.

“Advanced nuclear energy systems hold enormous potential to lower emissions, create new jobs, and build a strong economy,” Ms Baranwal said. “This new programme creates a tremendous opportunity for the US to provide clean energy and expand our market opportunities.”

Energy secretary Dan Brouillette said the next generation of nuclear energy is critical to US energy security and environmental stewardship. He said the US must pursue technological innovation and advanced nuclear RD&D investments to strengthen leadership in the next generation of nuclear technologies.”

In addition to the two reactors, the programme will make use of the National Reactor Innovation Centre (NRIC) to test and assess advanced reactor technologies.

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