The Tennessee Valley Authority and Kairos Power plan to collaborate on setting up a low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge.
As part of this agreement, TVA said in a press release Thursday that itwill provide engineering, operations, and licensing support to help Kairos Power deploy the reactor, named Hermes.
“Teamwork is the hallmark of the nuclear industry and, through this partnership with Kairos Power, we can share TVA’s safety and innovation insights to advance nuclear technology while gaining experience with licensing for advanced reactors,” said TVA President and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Lyash. “Nuclear power is the key to fueling our economy with reliable, affordable, and clean electricity, and it is critical to our national security.”
TVA said it generates more than 40 percent of its electricity from nuclear power and is recognized as a national leader in nuclear power with the third largest nuclear fleet in the United States.
“We look forward to collaborating with TVA, and drawing upon the well-versed knowledge and expertise of their team,” said Mike Laufer, co-founder and CEO of Kairos Power. “Kairos Power and TVA have a shared commitment to improving people’s quality of life and pursuing innovation through advanced nuclear that provides reliable, clean energy for the future.”
The press release said Kairos Power’s reason for deploying the Hermes Reactor is to demonstrate the ability to produce an advanced reactor in a cost range that can make nuclear power the most affordable source of electricity.
“This goal will be accomplished through the commercialization of the Kairos Power fluoride salt-cooled, high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR) that can be deployed with robust safety and at affordable cost,” the press release said.
The Kairos Power reactor would be built a few miles north of a separate nuclear power project that also involves TVA. TVA has an early site permit, the nation’s first, for a small modular reactor project there. The permit is from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the small modular nuclear reactors could be built on the former breeder reactor site south of K-25 on the Clinch River. That site is now called the Clinch River Nuclear Site. The modular reactor project has not been approved yet, and it would need additional approvals before it is built and operated. TVA said it is currently evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with deployment of more than one reactor and more than one design at the Clinch River site.