An organization in Tri-Cities, Wash., will make use of $500,000 in state funding this year to study the Hanford site as a possible host for small modular reactors.

Fast Flux Test Facility. Source: HanfordThe Department of Energy has awarded up to $452 million in matching funds to Babcock & Wilcox and NuScale to develop their SMR designs. They are considering sites owned by the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Idaho National Laboratory, respectively, but the Tri-City Development Council believes it might be able to make the case that Hanford offers a superior location for an SMR plant. The Tri-City Herald recently reported that the state economic development funding will be used for a study on the potential for SMR manufacturing in the region, likely followed by a proposal to DOE.

Earlier research by Energy Northwest — which is currently partnering with NuScale — showed potential cost savings if a new plant were built at the site of the incomplete WNP-1 reactor near the Columbia Generating Station. The new study will also consider the nearby WNP-4 site and the DOE's Fast Flux Test Facility (pictured). The Herald also noted the DOE's timeline for SMRs to enter commercial service in the mid-2020s could coincide with new electricity demand from the Hanford vitrification plant. Business from SMRs could also offset job cuts at the site as some cleanup work is scheduled to wrap up.