The Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) announced on Jan. 13 that it had begun looking at potential sites for small modular nuclear reactors.
The state allocated $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to complete the siting study. Advanced small modular reactors are a new design for reactors that are more scalable and have more refined safety features than current commercial nuclear reactors, the NPPD said.
“We are very excited to be a part of this process,” NPPD Generation Research Senior Program Manager Roman Estrada said. “We are always looking at new technologies and what innovations are being made in the field of energy generation. This study will not result in the immediate construction of an advanced small modular reactor, but it will give us a great look at potential areas in the state where this technology could be sited.”
NPPD qualified to apply for the funds because it currently owns an operating nuclear power plant, Cooper Nuclear Station. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development approved NPPD’s application on Jan. 6.
The study’s first phase will involve a statewide assessment of the best 15 locations for a small modular reactor, given geographic data and preliminary licensing criteria. Key criteria include access to water and transmission lines, among other things. The initial phase is expected to be completed this spring.
The second phase will reduce the number of sites from 15 to four after more in-depth analysis, including detailed field environmental and constructability evaluations based on Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) criteria. The second phase is expected to take a year to complete.
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