DOE Grant Cycle Advances Nuclear Projects

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced an cost-share research and development grant cycle of $60 million that will go to 13 projects for advanced nuclear technologies. The projects are the first to be selected under the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy's U.S. Industry Opportunity for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development funding opportunity.

DOEThe DOE also said that subsequent quarterly application review and selection processes will be conducted over the next five year and that the intention was to apply up to $40 million of additional funds in the 2018 fiscal year in the next two quarterly award cycles “for innovative proposals for this FOA (Funding Opportunity Announcement).

The current funding cycle presents awards four project involving modeling and development pathways, two that involve assistance for pre-licensing costs to meet regulatory mandates, two that involve demonstration projects anda five that involve research and development under the GAIN voucher program, (GAIN = Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear).

The projects are diverse, including cost share funding for design and license application development for TRISO-X, a cross-cutting, high assay, low enriched uranium fuel fabrication facility to be developed by X Energy, total cooperative funding of $8.99 million.

With total funding at $80 million, DOE is supporting Phase 1 of NuScale's Small Modular Reactor Nuclear Demonstration Readiness Project, which involves design and finalization activities to ensure supply chain readiness to meet a commercial operation date of 2026 for the first NuScale SMR plant.

Four project selected under the category of Advanced Reactor Development projects include a multi-scale modeling with microcapsule irradiation to expedite advanced fuels deployment, proposed by General Atomics – total value $2.7 million; a modeling and optimization of flow and heat transfer in reactor components for molten salt fast reactor applications that was awarded to Elysium Industries – total value $3.2 million; establishment of an integrated advanced manufacturing and data science driven paradigm for advanced reactor systems, awarded to BWXT Nuclear Energy – total value $9.8 million; and a dynamic natural convection project involving passive cooling for the LWR fleet, seeing s solution to mitigate the effects of loss of power to light-water based nuclear reactors and to remove decay heat from the reactor core, awarded to NuVision Engineering – total value $3.7 million.

Additional funding under the Regulatory Assistance Grant pathway went to Analysis and Measurement Services Corporation – total value $624,906 to develop guidelines for extending calibration intervals of transmitters using online monitoring; and General Atomics – total value $475,819 for a project to execute a pre-licensing review of a silicon carbide composite-clad fuel system for use in gas-cooled fast breeder reactor lifelong core.

GAIN vouchers were awarded as follows: Terrestrial Energy USA ($500,000); Vega Wave Systems, Inc. ($130,000); Oklo Inc ($417,000); Urbix Resources, LLC ($320,000); and ThorCon US ($400,000).

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