Located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a new nuclear test reactor was authorized for construction on December 15, 2023, by the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Kairos Power of California created the Hermes demonstration reactor, which is the first non-water-cooled reactor to receive U.S. approval in over fifty years. The 35-megawatt thermal reactor is scheduled to begin construction in 2024 and will use molten salt to cool the reactor core. With the Hermes reactor, we hope to demonstrate the future of nuclear power while simultaneously making it safer and more efficient. The groundbreaking design of Kairos Power is anticipated to facilitate the development of more sophisticated and environmentally friendly nuclear power alternatives in the near future, while also adding to the diversification of the country’s energy mix.
Cooperation and financial support
The TVA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working together on this project. A total of $303 million is provided by the Department of Energy, with the majority of the funding coming from private investors. When it comes to engineering, operations, and licensing, TVA has been there to help Kairos out. To show its appreciation, Kairos Power plans to unveil its state-of-the-art reactor, the KP-FHR, which stands for Kairos Power Fluoride Salt-Cooled High-Temperature Reactor. A more sustainable, affordable, and ecologically friendly energy future is within reach thanks to this collaboration, which is a giant leap forward in the quest for safe, long-term nuclear power solutions.
A short distance from TVA’s Clinch River Nuclear facility is where the Hermes reactor will be located. The Hermes reactor can make the most of the facilities and services already in place at the Clinch River Nuclear site thanks to its advantageous placement. In addition, the close proximity of the facilities will allow for better cooperation, which in turn will encourage innovation and streamline operations in the nuclear energy sector.
Optimism and permission
Kairos Power’s CEO and co-founder, Mike Laufer, was upbeat after the permit was approved, reiterating the company’s commitment to supplying East Tennessee and beyond with affordable, clean, safe, and reliable energy. The Hermes reactor needs an operating license, which requires approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The operating license is a critical milestone on the road to Kairos Power’s goal of utilizing advanced nuclear technology to transform the energy industry, according to Laufer. With the operating license in hand, the Hermes reactor can demonstrate how sustainable nuclear power can alleviate environmental concerns while satisfying increasing energy demands. It will also serve as a model for other installations to follow.
Modern reactors and the possibilities they present
To address issues like grid reliability, hydrogen production, job and tax revenue replacement in areas where coal power plants are closing, and clean electricity supply to remote areas across the globe, utilities, private developers, and lawmakers are looking into advanced reactors. These state-of-the-art reactors are being considered as a potential solution to meet the increasing energy needs of a world population while simultaneously decreasing emissions of greenhouse gases. Key stakeholders are advancing the quest for future power that is more sustainable, efficient, and dependable by embracing cutting-edge technology and collaborating across sectors.
Problems and worries
Concerns about rising costs and subscription cancellations have plagued other advanced reactor projects in the United States, including NuScale’s Carbon Free Power Project, and other new nuclear power initiatives in the last several decades.This development casts doubt on nuclear power’s appeal and practicality as a means to curb carbon emissions and satisfy the nation’s increasing energy demands. In order to revitalize the industry and attract new projects, it is crucial to continue investing in research and development and work together to improve the regulatory landscape and public perception of nuclear power.
First Reported on: tennesseelookout.com
What is the Hermes demonstration reactor?
The Hermes demonstration reactor, developed by California-based firm Kairos Power, is a novel nuclear test reactor that was granted a construction permit by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. It is the first approval for a non-water-cooled reactor in the U.S. in over 50 years. The reactor will use molten salt as a cooling medium and aims to showcase the potential for advanced nuclear technology while improving the safety and efficiency of power generation.
Who are the collaborators on the Hermes reactor project?
Kairos Power is collaborating with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) on the Hermes reactor project. TVA offers its expertise in engineering, operations, and licensing support, while Kairos Power demonstrates its advanced reactor technology.
Where will the Hermes reactor be located?
The Hermes reactor will be constructed in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and will be situated just a few miles from TVA’s Clinch River Nuclear site. This strategic location allows the Hermes reactor to take advantage of existing infrastructure and resources, as well as promote efficient collaboration between the facilities.
When is the construction of the Hermes reactor expected to commence?
Construction of the Hermes reactor is planned to begin in 2024.
What are the potential benefits of advanced reactors like the Hermes reactor?
Advanced reactors have the potential to address challenges like ensuring grid reliability, powering hydrogen production, replacing jobs and tax revenue in locations where coal power plants are closing, and supplying clean electricity to remote areas worldwide. They are seen as a promising solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while supporting the growing energy demands of an expanding global population.
What are some challenges and concerns surrounding new nuclear power initiatives?
New nuclear power initiatives in the U.S. have faced issues such as increasing costs and subscription cancellations. These challenges raise concerns about the feasibility and attractiveness of nuclear energy as a viable solution for meeting growing energy demand while reducing carbon emissions. They also highlight the need for ongoing investment in research and development, as well as efforts to improve the regulatory environment and public perception of nuclear power.