Molten salt test reactor will be built alongside test plant at Oak Ridge
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has formally accepted for review Kairos Power’s construction permit application (CPA) for Hermes 2, a proposed two-unit demonstration plant that would produce electricity and is intended to be deployed in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
California, US-based Kairos said Hermes 2, a molten salt test reactor, would build upon work it has already carried out to further “de-risk technology, construction, supply chain, and licensing for a multi-reactor plant”.
The NRC said the Hermes 2 demonstration plant is intended to provide operational data to support the development of a larger version for commercial deployment. Kairos will have to submit a separate application in the future for an operating licence for Hermes 2.
Kairos said licensing certainty is a key part of its strategy to achieve cost certainty for its advanced fluoride salt-cooled high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR) technology.
In July, Kairos submitted a CPA to the NRC for permission to build the Hermes 2 plant next to a Hermes molten salt test reactor it plans to build at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
In June, the NRC issued a final safety evaluation report for Kairos’ application to build the test reactor – a 35 MW (thermal) non-power version of Hermes 2, at Oak Ridge. The company said at the time it expected to receive the construction licence later this year.
In May the NRC’s independent advisory committee on reactor safeguards recommended the construction licence be approved.
Hermes will use tri-structural isotropic particle fuel (Triso) and molten salt to cool the reactor core.
Earlier this year Kairos signed an agreement to produce Triso fuel pebbles for the Hermes demonstration reactor at Los Alamos’ low-enriched fuel fabrication facility in New Mexico.