For South Carolina, which is historically among the most nuclear loyal and nuclear savvy states in the union, an active interest in Department of Energy’s announced plans to provide partial funding to eligible SMR developers is quite natural. The state, that has seven operating reactors on its soil and whose Savannah River National Laboratory was at the forefront of America’s nuclear efforts during the Cold War, is now poised to host the rise of the emerging global industry in small modular reactors (SMR). Evidently mindful of the huge pay-off in well-paying jobs and growth of the nuclear technology infrastructure that the selection of the right partner will bring, a mid-state consortium of business groups, academic institutions, and nuclear operators (called “NuHub”) along with statewide counties and chambers of commerce spent nearly two years evaluating the competing SMR technology developers. We are delighted to report that the state government and NuHub along with its allied organizations across the state announced their decision on March 19, 2013, selecting Holtec as their sole SMR supplier. Reinforcing their commitment, NuHub and the coalition of regional institutions along with the State committed to work exclusively with Holtec to help us make our case to the DOE for the R&D funds for our SMR-160. The proposal for the second round federal funding opportunity from the U.S. DOE for small modular reactor (SMR) development is due on July 1, 2013, with the DOE anticipating making award(s) by January 16, 2014.
The State’s press release quotes Governor Nikki Haley expressing her enthusiasm for Holtec’s SMR technology: “We have a tremendous opportunity to be a global leader in nuclear technology by developing the nation’s first small modular reactors,” said South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. “Holtec International is a highly competitive firm in SMR technology, and we are excited to partner with them.”
Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt agreed, noting “The nuclear industry has a robust history in South Carolina, due in part to partnerships that span local, regional and state and federal boundaries. Our statewide team approach to attracting business investment and jobs will serve a strong company like Holtec International well, and strategically position South Carolina to continue to lead the advanced manufacturing renaissance in a number of sectors including the nuclear industry.”
Mr. Steve Byrne, Chief Operating Officer and President of Generation and Transmission for South Carolina Electric & Gas added: “SCE&G has a long-standing relationship with Holtec at our current nuclear plant, V.C. Summer, and we hope to bring our new nuclear construction expertise to the table to support the development of the project.”
Among those extending an enthused welcome to Holtec are the counties in the southern part of the State that include and surround the Savannah River Site (SRS). As reported in Holtec Highlights issue HH 27.01, the DOE established a “memorandum of agreement” (MOA) with SMR, LLC (a Holtec International company) in December 2011 to host the construction of the first SMR-160 at SRS. The state’s and local community support for our technology completes the “virtuous circle” necessary to bring the project to fruition.
As a global leader in power generation technologies, Holtec has designed an indigenously developed SMR. Holtec’s SMR-160 is a 160 MW pressurized water reactor that has been designed to withstand the most severe natural disasters by relying on gravity under all operating and emergency conditions. Holtec International hails DOE’s support for SMR development and South Carolina’s all-out support for the Company’s SMR program.