Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Kairos Power officials announced on July 16 that the privately funded, advanced nuclear engineering company will establish a low-power demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge.
Kairos Power said it expected to invest $100 million and create 55 jobs to deploy a low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge.
The reactor called Hermes is expected to demonstrate the company’s capability to deliver low-cost nuclear heat. The Hermes reactor is a scaled version of Kairos Power’s Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), an advanced reactor technology that aims to be put energy costs in line with natural gas prices in the U.S. electricity market, a strategy that could take the legs out from under the nuclear power industry's most threatening rival. The project will be a redevelopment of a site at the Heritage Center, a former U.S. Department of Energy site complex, according to a Kairos press statement.
Scheduled to be operational in 2026, the Hermes reactor will move forward Kairos Power’s iterative development process from prototype toward commercial scale by demonstrating complete nuclear systems, advancing Kairos Power’s manufacturing capabilities for critical components, testing the supply chain and facilitating licensing certainty for the KP-FHR.
The U.S. Department of Energy and Office of Nuclear Energy’s program for Risk Reduction has pledged $303 million to support the design, licensing and construction of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor. Hermes is intended to lead to the development of the Kairos Power KP-X, a commercial-scale KP-FHR..
Kairos Power sprung out of a broad research effort at U.S. universities and national laboratories. The company was founded to accelerate the development of an innovative nuclear technology that has the potential to transform the energy landscape in the United States and internationally.
Over the last five years, TNECD has supported nearly 70 economic development projects in East Tennessee, accounting for 9,000 job commitments and $2.5 billion in capital investment.
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