NuScale Power has received up to $226m in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to support a new project to design, certify and help commercialise new small modular reactors (SMRs) in the US.
The DOE will fund up to half of the total project cost, while NuScale is required to provide the matching funds under a five-year cost-share agreement.
The DOE will provide the fund to NuScale from the award ceiling of $452m set under the around $904m Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support programme.
The DOE investment, which follows a funding opportunity announcement in March 2013, will help NuScale secure design certification from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and achieve commercial operation around 2025.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are around one-third the size of current nuclear power plants that is less than 300MW compared to a typical nuclear power plant of 1,000MW.
These plants have useful applications, including generating emission-free electricity in remote locations where there is little to no access to the main power grid or providing process heat to industrial applications.
The DOE is seeking compact, scalable small modular reactor designs that can be made in factories and transported to sites for installation, offering safety, construction and economic benefits.
DOE secretary Ernest Moniz said SMRs represent a new generation of safe, reliable, low-carbon nuclear energy technology and provide a strong opportunity for the US to lead the global industry.
"The Energy Department is committed to strengthening nuclear energy’s continuing important role in America’s low carbon future, and new technologies like small modular reactors will help ensure our continued leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear power worldwide," said Moniz.
Earlier in January 2012, the DOE has launched the Small Modular Reactor Design Program, the first step towards manufacturing SMRs in the US.