IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho may be the home of a next generation micro modular reactor. Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) is proposing to partner with the Idaho National Laboratory, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and U.S. Industry to deploy Ultra Safe Nuclear Micro Modular Reactors (MMR™) in the U.S.
MMR's will meet the need to generate power on a small scale in remote locations, deployed military installations, or locations recovering from natural disasters.
Microreactors offer a combination of reliability and flexibility that previous small generating systems haven't been able to match. According to the INL, Microreactors are 100 to 1,000 times smaller than conventional rectors. Demonstration of USNC's MMR technology in the United States will also bring a new level of affordability and reliability to clean power generation, where smaller nuclear plants can be deployed for tens of millions, not billions of dollars.
"INL is particularly interested in proposals to demonstrate clean integrated energy systems by pairing nuclear power with renewable technologies to decarbonize the electricity sector," said Dr. John Wagner, INL's associate lab director for Nuclear Science & Technology.
USNC say in addition to the small foot print, and low cost factor, MMR's will meet their commitment to safe, clean, and reliable energy by mitigating the potential for nuclear accidents and incidents from the use of nuclear power.
The federal government has long seen this need for advanced reactor research and development, offering support through funding and legislation.The deployment of the MMR in the United States will be supported by a first-generation USNC MMR demonstration at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories at Chalk River, that will be the first micro reactor to be licensed in Canada.
"INL is excited about the prospect of demonstrating the first advanced high-temperature gas-cooled reactor in Idaho, where we have successfully demonstrated 52 reactors over the past seven decades," said Dr. Corey McDaniel, INL's director of Industry Engagement.
DOE is expected to announce two awards under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Project this week. The USNC project may be one of them.
DOE's objective for this pathway is to have a fully functional advanced nuclear reactor system within 7 years of the award, in this case, 2027. If there are two awards, they expect to have two fully functional demonstration reactors by 2027.
Correction: This story has been edited to clarify that the USNC project is one that may be selected. Final decisions were expected Tuesday.