DOE announces $40 million to develop the next generation nuclear plant

Washington, D.C., March 12, 2010 — U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced his department’s picks for $40 million in awards to two teams led by Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Electric Co. and San Diego-based General Atomics for conceptual design and planning work for the Next Generation Nuclear Plant.

The results of this work will help the administration determine whether to proceed with detailed efforts toward construction and demonstration of the NGNP.

If successful, the NGNP Demonstration Project will demonstrate high-temperature gas-cooled nuclear reactor technology that will be capable of producing electricity as well as process heat for industrial applications and will be configured for low technical and safety risk with highly reliable operations. Final cost-shared awards are subject to the negotiation of acceptable terms and conditions.

About 16 percent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions come from industrial process heat applications. The process heat or steam generated by the high-temperature nuclear reactors could be used for electricity co-generation, which has the potential to help energy-intensive industries, such as petrochemical producers, reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

“This investment reflects President Obama’s commitment to building the next generation of nuclear reactors that will create thousands of jobs and supply the clean energy to power our economy,” said Secretary Chu. “It’s time for America to recapture the lead in the nuclear energy industry and lay the foundation for a stronger, cleaner, and more competitive economic future.”

The NGNP project is being conducted in two phases. Phase 1 comprises research and development, conceptual design and development of licensing requirements.

The selections announced today will support the development of conceptual designs, cost and schedule estimates for demonstration project completion and a business plan for integrating Phase 2 activities.

The Department of Energy will use information from its independent federal advisory committee, the Nuclear Energy Advisory Committee, information and data gathered in Phase 1, and other factors in determining whether the project should continue to Phase 2.

Phase 2 would entail detailed design, license review and construction of a demonstration plant.

The DOE will now negotiate the final terms and conditions for the awards with the intention of completing conceptual designs by August 31, 2010.

Next generation nuclear plant awardees:

Westinghouse Electric Co. (Pittsburgh)       

Pebble Bed Modular Reactor Limited, Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure Inc., Toshiba, Doosan, Technology Insights, and M-Tech Industrial (PTY) Ltd

General Atomics (San Diego)

General Dynamics Electric Boat Division, URS Washington Division, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, and Fuji Electric Systems



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