Nuclear Power Plant One Step Closer to Being Tested in Oak Ridge


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced Tuesday that it has formally accepted Kairos Power’s Construction Permit Application (CPA) for the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor to be built at the East Tennessee Technology Park Heritage Center site in Oak Ridge, according to a press release by Kairos Power.

The Kairos application seeks to build the company’s “Hermes” test reactor, according to the NRC. The 35-megawatt, non-power reactor would use molten salt to cool the reactor core, providing operational data to support the development of a larger version meant for a commercial nuclear power plant.

According to its website, Kairos Power is a “nuclear technology, engineering and manufacturing company whose mission is to enable the world’s transition to clean energy with the ultimate goal of dramatically improving people’s quality of life while protecting the environment.”

“This licensing milestone represents a significant achievement, concluding a tremendous cross-functional effort by the Kairos Power team to complete the application just 18 months after the decision to build the Hermes reactor was made,” Mike Laufer, Kairos Power co-founder and CEO said in a statement. “We are incredibly proud of our team’s commitment to achieving this goal in such a short time. This licensing effort, in combination with our ongoing technology development and manufacturing programs, will lay the groundwork to prove that we can deliver cost certainty for commercial demonstration and deployment.”

In accordance with NRC regulations, the Hermes CPA consists of two primary parts: a Preliminary Safety Analysis Report (PSAR), submitted in September, followed by an Environmental Report (ER) in October.

The NRC noted that environmental and safety reviews should be finished by September 2023.

According to FOX 17, in May, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced plans to collaborate with Kairos on the test reactor. TVA says it generates more than 40% of its electricity from nuclear power and has received the first U.S. preliminary site permit for a so-called small modular reactor, also in Oak Ridge. TVA says it’s evaluating potential environmental impacts of deploying more than one reactor and more than one design at the Clinch River Nuclear Site, the outlet notes.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]





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