Terrestrial Energy USA said Tuesday that the company has been invited by the Department of Energy to apply for a loan guarantee through its Loan Program Office as part of a program established by Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, a step that signifies the department's approval of the company's Part I application.
Terrestrial said it plans to apply for a loan guarantee of between $800 million and $1.2 billion to support financing of a project to license, construct and commission the first Integrated Molten Salt Reactor (ISMR), a planned 190 MWe commercial facility that could prove to be a significant step in the revitalization of the U.S. nuclear power industry, given the reactor's small size relative to the reactors that currently make up the U.S. nuclear power fleet.
The program is set up to push development of innovative advanced energy technologies that avoid, reduce or sequester anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases, the company said in a statement. In 2014, the DOE issued as solicitation making available $12.5 billion in loan guarantees for the deployment of advanced nuclear energy projects.
Terrestrial Energy has identified a number of potential sites suitable for the first commercial IMSR power plant. Idaho National Laboratory is a lead candidate site and also a center of research, which could help the company develop reactors for industrial heat applications and hybrid energy systems. The IMSR will deliver 600 degree Celsius heat to industry in the form of a molten salt, a potential boon for industries heavily dependent on reliable heat or electricity.
The company is working with the Idaho National Laboratory to develop several other potential IMSR sites.
Terrestrial Energy has also announced that Duke Energy has joined its industrial advisory board, considered a sign of Duke Energy's confidence in IMSR technology. In related news, the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed its version of the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act which would be required to allow the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to adjust their licensing processes to enable them to include advanced nuclear reactors. The so-called Latta-McNerney bill, named for its congressional sponsors, Reps. Bob Latta, R-Ohio, and Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., provides such a framework, but “preserves our record of safety, while securing the future of one of the more important energy resources of the United States,” said ClearPath Action founder and Chief Executive Officer Jay Faison.
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