TVA to Collaborate with Kairos Power on 140 MWe SMR

  • TVA to Collaborate with Kairos Power on Development of a 140 MWe Advanced SMR
  • Russia Approvs’ $2.4 Billion Project To Use Five Floating Reactors For Remote Minerals Deposit
  • UK ‘Remains Committed’ To Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Project
  • NuScale Engages Guggenheim Securities to Explore Financing Options

TVA to Collaborate with Kairos Power on Development of a 140 MWe Advanced SMR

Kairos Power and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have announced plans to collaborate on deploying a low-power demonstration small modular reactor (SMR) at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP)(map) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  The project is a paradigm change for TVA which in its early site permit for the Clinch River site for an SMR only referenced light water reactor designs and did not indicate a preference for any of them.

The joint TVA/Kairos project involves design and development of an advanced small modular reactor (SMR). Nicknamed ‘Hermes’ it is a demonstration version of Alameda, California-based Kairos Power’s KP-FHR, a 140 MWe fluoride salt-cooled high temperature reactor using TRISO (TRI-structural ISOtropic) fuel pebbles with a low-pressure fluoride salt coolant. (interactive design image)

Kairos tech specs

Table: KP-FHR Key Characteristics.  Data/Table:IAEA

The Alameda, California-based company plans to design, construct, and operate its Hermes reduced-scale test reactor. Kairos Power will fund most of the project. The company plans to assemble the reactor in Oak Ridge using specialized parts and components manufactured in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Named Hermes, the Kairos’ reactor could be built by 2026 and will be used to help test  the new technology, which is designed to be simpler and more efficient than the previous generation of nuclear plants and potentially less costly to build and maintain.

Cindy Chen, a spokeswoman for Kairos Power, said the company is planning a $100 million investment in the test facility in the East Tennessee Technology Park, making it one of the biggest projects among the 20 or so companies now operating in the technology campus.

The Kairos SMR has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive $629 million in cost-shared risk reduction funding over seven years (DOE share $303 million), under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program.

“Additional expansion at the Oak Ridge site is under consideration for future manufacturing and engineering capabilities,” Chen said. “We anticipate at least 55 employees for the Hermes operations.”

“Teamwork is the hallmark of the nuclear industry, and through this partnership with Kairos Power we can share TVA’s safety and innovation insights to advance nuclear technology while gaining experience with licensing for advanced reactors,” said TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash.

“Nuclear power is the key to fueling our economy with reliable, affordable, and clean electricity, and it is critical to our national security.”

“We look forward to collaborating with TVA, and drawing upon the well-versed knowledge and expertise of their team,” said Mike Laufer, Co-Founder and CEO of Kairos Power. Kairos senior leadership team

TVA has reportedly indicated it may also aid in the preliminary licensing the Hermes reactor from the NRC. TVA holds the nation’s first Early Site Permit (ESP) for a small modular reactor from the NRC.

The utility is evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with deployment of more than one reactor and more than one design at the Clinch River Nuclear Site. What is interesting about the Kairos project is that TVA’s ESP references four SMRs all of which are based on light water reactor (LWR) designs.

In terms of location,  this joint announcement with TVA follows one made last year by Kairos Power that it planned to deploy a test reactor at ETTP, at the former K-33 gaseous diffusion plant site which has now been cleaned up by DOE.

Kairos is partnering with TVA  to deploy the demonstration reactor on 185 acres the company is buying on the ETTP campus, which was developed on a brownfield site reclaimed from the U.S. Department of Energy.

In Greek mythology Hermes functioned as the emissary and messenger of the gods. As adopted by the Romans, Hermes is also known today as Mercury and also in Roman context, was considered to be a messenger. Kairos is an ancient Greek word that relates the importance of timeliness and a call to action.

Kairos Power CEO Mike Laufer said his objective is for the Hermes project to demonstrate the capability to deliver an advanced reactor at the costs necessary to make nuclear power the most affordable source of dispatchable energy in the USA.

Russia / Putin ‘Has Approved’ $2.4 Billion Project To Use Floating Reactors For Remote Minerals Deposit

(NucNet contributed to this report)  Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has reportedly approved a proposal by state nuclear corporation Rosatom to power a far eastern copper mining venture by building as many as five floating nuclear power plants, according to a report in the RBC business newswire.

RBC said the plan is to supply power for the Baim (also known as Baimskaya) minerals deposit in Chukotka, in the country’s far east.

The exact timeline for the $2.3 billion plan is still a work in progress, but according to RBC, Mr Putin signaled his approval to build the plants in response to a letter sent by Sergei Kiriyenko, who heads Rosatom’s supervisory board and is the president’s first deputy chief of staff.

RBC said that, according to Kiriyenko, Rosatom will order the construction of five FNPPs with a capacity of 500 MWe  at the Baltic Shipyard (Baltzavod), which is part of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC). The reference design for the project is the RITM 200 SMR which has an output of 165 MWt and 54 MWe.   These numbers suggest that while five units are being authorized, it will take another five of them to hit the goal of 500 MWe.

The main equipment for the Rosatom power units (RITM 200 reactor plants) is manufactured in Russia. However, the turbines are expected to be built in South Korean or Chinese shipyards which adds some risk to the project.

RITM-200 is the latest development in III+ generation SMR line designed by the JSC ‘Afrikantov OKBM’. It has incorporated all the proven features from its predecessors. It is  based on PWR technology and 400 reactor-years of Rosatom experience in operation of small reactors in icebreakers.

nuclear powered ice breaker Arktika Six RITM-200 reactors are successfully installed on icebreakers Arktika (right), Sibir and Ural. The two reactors of Arktika icebreaker successfully passed all power up tests during dock-side trials.

RITM reactor core accommodates low enriched fuel assemblies similar to KLT-40S that ensures long time operation without refueling and meets international non-proliferation requirements.

RITM 200

Key Characteristics of the RITM SMR.  Tab;e/Image: IAEA

Incorporation of the steam generators into the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) has made the reactor system and containment very compact as compared to the larger KLT-40S at 300 MWt / 70 MWe in a configuration of two units.

Advantage of SMR over Natural Gas

In the letter, Mr Kiriyenko, the former chief executive officer of Rostom, was said to have explained the advantages of Rosatom’s proposal over an alternative proposal from Novatek, Russia’s second largest natural gas corporation, which had proposed building floating natural gas plants to electrify the mining venture.

Vyachesla Ruksha, Rosatom’s deputy director general and head of the Northern Sea Route Directorate said in a statement to RBC, “We won the competition because, as a vertically integrated corporation, we fully control the entire energy production cycle and are less dependent on market volatility than Novatek.”

Russia already has one floating nuclear power plant in operation which is the Akademik-Lomonosov. The 21,000-tonne vessel has two KLT-40S reactor units with an electrical power generating capacity of 35MWe each, sufficient for a city with a population of around 200,000 people.

Construction of the two units began in April 2007 and first criticality was November 2018. In September 2019 the Akademik Lomonosov arrived at a specially constructed wharf at Pevek after an 18-day, 9,000 km journey from its original base in Murmansk, where fuel was loaded into the reactors.

UK ‘Remains Committed’ To Wylfa Newydd Nuclear Project

(NucNet) The UK government remains committed to new nuclear investment at the Wylfa Newydd site in north Wales and is continuing to talk to potential developers, energy minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said last week according to UK news media reports.

The minister said: “We all appreciate that Wylfa Newydd is a great site and we have the commitment within our energy white paper and the 10-point government plan that new nuclear investment is a critical part of our energy mix going forwards.”

“We have regular discussions with a number of potential developers and investors and that will continue because we are absolutely committed to having at least one more large-scale nuclear plant.”

In January, developers behind Wylfa Newydd officially cancelled the project, despite saying they had held “positive and encouraging” talks with multiple parties that had expressed an interest in moving ahead with new reactors at the site.

Japan’s Hitachi has told staff it was shutting its Horizon subsidiary, which was to build two 1350 MWe UK advanced boiling water reactor (UK ABWR) units at Wylfa. The cost of the project had been put at about £20 billion.

A companion project with the same configuration was to have been built at the Oldbury site. The loss of both projects would represent a setback of 2.7 Gwe in the UK nuclear new build.

So far the project continues to unwind to the detriment of energy security for the UK. Horizon announced it had officially withdrawn its application for planning permission for the construction and operation of the station and associated infrastructure.

In a letter to the planning inspectorate, Horizon chief executive officer Duncan Hawthorne said discussions with multiple parties “have not, unfortunately, led to any definitive proposal that would have allowed the transfer of the sites to some new development entity willing to replace Hitachi Ltd”.

Hitachi announced the suspension of the project in January 2019 and its intent to withdraw entirely in September 2020.

The UK has two EPR units under construction at Hinkley Point C – the only commercial nuclear plants being built in the country. Sizewell C is the only new-build project in the UK for which planning permission is being sought.

The Moorside project, which was to have been built with three Westinghouse 1150 MWe AP1000 nuclear reactors, is moribund due to the bankruptcy of Westinghouse and withdrawal from the global nuclear market of Toshiba, its then parent firm. While Westinghouse was subsequently acquired by a Canadian private equity firm, that company has no apparent interest in building new nuclear reactors. Its focus for the acquisition was the profitable nuclear reactor fuel and maintenance contracts held by Westinghouse.

Only the Bradwell remains in the early technical stages. The plan involves at least one and as many as three reactors to be built by Chinese state owned enterprises. The project, if it gets the go ahead, would be the first major export deal for the Hualong One, a 1000MWe LWR.

The future of that project has within the past year encountered some diplomatic headwinds due to UK PM Boris Johnson booting a Chinese telecommunications firm from bidding on a massive 5G wireless network contract.

NuScale Engages Guggenheim Securities to Explore Financing Options

Money futuresNuScale Power, LLC (“NuScale”) announced that it has retained Guggenheim Securities, LLC, a leading financial advisory and capital markets firm, to explore financing options to accelerate the commercialization of the Company’s groundbreaking small modular reactor (SMR) technology.

NuScale is majority owned by Fluor Corporation (“Fluor”) (NYSE: FLR), a global engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company.

John Hopkins, NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, “Given the level of interest from potential customers, investors and partners and growing global demand for clean energy alternatives, we have engaged Guggenheim Securities to evaluate the right options to raise additional capital and accelerate the development of our carbon-free power solution.”

According to a report in the Portland Business Journal, Fluor’s chief executive, David Constable, said the company is looking to “unlock more value from NuScale for Fluor’s shareholders.”

He suggested interest was high.

“It’s very exciting times and not just in the U.S., but internationally,” he told analysts. “Canada, obviously, is a nuclear country as is Japan and many others that we’re getting a lot of incoming interest. So we’ve got renewed interest from existing investors that we’ve got and new investors post the JGC announcement.”

It is expected that any proceeds raised through this process would be used by NuScale to accelerate and expand its SMR development program, including those elements currently supported by a DOE cost-share award. Fluor and its partners will continue to provide engineering services, project management and supply chain support to NuScale as part of any contemplated future agreement.

Separately, UAMPS, NuScale’s customer, received a $1.355 billion, ten-year award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), subject to annual appropriations, for the project in October 2020.

The $1.355 billion award, allocated over 10 years, will fund the one-time costs for the first-of-a-kind project, as funds are appropriated by Congress, to reflect what second and subsequent NuScale plants would cost. This will help ensure that the levelized cost of energy target price of $55 MWh can be achieved at a level of risk UAMPS can manage.

That price makes the CFPP competitive with other non- intermittent dispatchable energy sources like combined cycle natural gas plants, but without greenhouse gas emissions. It will ensure long-term affordable energy to UAMPS member participants while avoiding exposure to greenhouse regulation and compliance costs.

The 12 small modular reactors in the project will provide the flexibility to ramp up and down as needed to follow load and complement intermittent renewable supply. The plan calls for construction of the 60 MW design which has not yet been approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  Earlier this year the 50 MW design completed its safety design review with the regulatory agency.

Energy from the project will replace electric generation from coal plants that are nearing the end of their life cycles. The CFPP, combined with UAMPS renewable projects, will enable many members to completely decarbonize their energy portfolios.

NuScale’s SMR design can generate 77 MWe of zero carbon electricity using a safer, smaller and scalable version of traditional pressurized light water reactor technology.

Modules safely shut down and self-cool, indefinitely, with no need for AC or DC power, operator or computer action, or additional water. This provides what is called an unlimited coping period – a first for light water reactor technology.

The fully factory-made NuScale module offers scalable power based on demand and can meet grid capacity needs by providing both high capacity factor base load power and flexible load following power to support intermittent wind, solar and hydropower resources.

NuScale and Fluor – NuScale’s EPC partner – have an agreement with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) to build the first NuScale power plant, which will bring the United States’ first clean energy, carbon-free SMR project to commercialization.

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