The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) said it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) along with the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), and Battelle Energy Alliance (BEA) that reflects "the importance of resilient power generated from small modular reactors (SMRs)." Specifically, the DOE said the MOU outlines the federal department's intention to draw from two modules out of a potential 12-module plant that would be constructed at the Idaho National Laboratory under the UAMPS' Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP).
One module will be designated strictly for research activities -- referred to, the DOE said, as the Joint Use Modular Plant or JUMP program. The research is expected to focus principally on integrated energy systems that support the production of both electricity and non-electric energy products.
The other module will be used in a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to provide power to INL.
“This agreement will allow DOE to meet its needs in the form of resilient power to a national security mission-based lab while drawing from our nation’s newest class of advanced reactors,” said Ed McGinnis, NE Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary. “The JUMP program provides a unique opportunity for the nation’s leading nuclear laboratory to conduct nuclear energy research, and contribute to the successful commercialization of the nation’s first SMR.”
Among the key components of the MOU, both BEA and UAMPS intend to sign an agreement with NuScale Power Modules for use in INL "research, development and demonstration activities under the JUMP program."
The department said it also intended to work with UAMPS to engage Idaho Power, a local utility, regarding the power produced by the project in order to supply the national laboratory with electricity. The INL will need up to 70 MW of power in the 2025-2030 timeframe, the DOE said.
More information on the CFPP can be found at the DOE's Q&A webpage at https://www.inl.gov/article/frequently-asked-questions/.
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SMRs are likely the best future for nuclear power industry