In conjunction with President Barack Obama’s plan to revamp the nuclear energy industry, the Department of Energy has set aside $450 million for small module nuclear reactors, or SMRs.
The funds will aid two American designs that have the capability to operate by 2022 and that could be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The DOE will also work with private funding in cost-share agreements to achieve funds of up to $900 million for the projects involved over a period of five years.
SMRs are much more compact than regular nuclear reactors, allowing easy transportation and compatibility with smaller grids.
They generate approximately 350 megawatts or less, keeping them at a third of the size of regular reactors. They are considered safe, more cost efficient, and much easier to construct.
Unlike regular reactors, SMRs can be made in factories and shipped. They offer “plug and play” capability, so that they arrive on location in one piece and ready for start up.
The DOE has been involved in several other nuclear projects recently, including an $8 billion loan guarantee in 2010 for the Vogtle project, in which two new full-sized nuclear reactors are being built by the Southern Company (NYSE: SO) and subsidiary Georgia Power.
In addition, $200 million in a cost-share agreement went to the license for the AP1000 reactor design by Westinghouse for the Vogtle project.
And the DOE has provided $170 million in research grants for nuclear technology.
The cost-share agreements supporting new American SMR designs will add additional and necessary size- and cost-effective innovation to the nuclear industry.
Commercializing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors originally appeared in Green Chip Stocks. Green Chip Review is a free 2x-per-week newsletter, is the first advisory to focus exclusively on investments in alternative and renewable energies.