The United States Department of Energy will give a small Oregon company, NuScale Power, as much as $226 million to further the design of “small modular reactors”, The New York Times has reported.
The small-scale nuclear reactors are designed to be installed under water, apparently lessening the possibility of a dreaded meltdown.
It is also hoped that the development of the small reactors will suit markets in which existing reactors are too big. It is envisaged that the reactors could be used at a local power grid level, where conventional nuclear reactors cannot be accommodated.
This is actually the second time the DoE has awarded funding to a project of this nature, under a $452 million scheme to boost the development of so-called small modular reactors. The first round of funding went to Babcock & Wilcox in 2012, which had previously developed full-size nuclear reactors.
ThisÂ small reactor design utilizes water as a coolant, which is a technologically conservative approach. This could increase the likelihood of the new design being approved by the Nuclear Regulatory commission, The New York Times suggests.