DoE funding for advanced reactor research

04 November 2014

Five R&D projects supporting advanced reactor technologies have been selected to receive $13 million of cost-share funding from the US Department of Energy (DoE). All of the research is being carried out by public-private partnerships.

The nuclear companies leading the five projects are Areva Federal Services, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, General Atomics, NGNP Industry Alliance and Westinghouse Electric Company.

Partnered by TerraPower Company, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Texas A&M University, Areva Federal Services will receive funding for work on modelling and simulation for longer life cores, including thermal hydraulic simulations and experimental investigation for liquid metal-cooled fast reactor fuel assemblies.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, in partnership with ANL, will receive funding for development and modernization of next-generation probabilistic risk assessment methodologies. General Atomics' partnership with the University of California at San Diego and the University of South Carolina receives funding for fabrication and testing complex silicon carbide structures pertinent to advanced reactor concepts.

The final two projects receiving the DoE funding are work on high temperature gas reactor post-accident heat removal and testing by NGNP Industry Alliance partnering with Areva, UltraSafe Nuclear Company, Westinghouse, and Texas A&M University, and the development of thermo-acoustic sensors for sodium-cooled fast reactors led by Westinghouse in partnership with ANL and the University of Pittsburg.

The funding was announced by DoE under the umbrella of President Barack Obama's "all-of-the-above" approach to energy, highlighted in successive State of the Union addresses, and US climate action plans. Energy secretary Ernest Moniz noted that such public-private research in advanced nuclear technologies would help move the USA closer to a low carbon future. "These types of investments are crucial to the continuing role of nuclear power as a significant contributor to the US energy economy," he said.

As well as research supporting advanced reactor technology, DoE is also providing funds to support the development of small modular reactors (SMRs). Earlier this year, the DoE signed a contract agreement with NuScale to provide $217 million in funding over five years to develop its SMR design, with industrial partners expected at least to match the federal investment.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News