This story originally appeared as a press release at nppd.com on 1/13/2023
Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) is beginning the process of studying sites that could have the potential to host advanced small modular nuclear reactors.
Advanced small modular reactors are a new type of nuclear reactor being designed, that are more scalable and have more refined safety features, than the commercial nuclear reactors currently operating today.
Under legislative bill 1014, the State of Nebraska allocated $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to complete a siting study for small modular reactors. As an owner of a current operating nuclear power plant, Cooper Nuclear Station, NPPD qualified to apply for these funds to complete the siting study. NPPD’s application for funding was approved by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development on January 6.
“We are very excited to be a part of this process,” says NPPD Generation Research Senior Program Manager Roman Estrada. “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.”
The first phase of the siting study involves doing a Nebraska-wide assessment to determine the 15 best locations for siting small modular reactors based on geographic data and preliminary licensing criteria. Some of the key criteria being considered will be access to water and transmission lines among many others. This phase is estimated to be completed in spring of 2023.
The second phase of the study will perform a more in-depth evaluation and will focus on reducing the number of sites from 15 to four. This effort includes detailed field environmental and constructability evaluations based on criteria used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) when licensing nuclear plants. This phase of the study is estimated to take approximately a year to complete.
NPPD will be completing the study with the help of engineering firm, Burns & McDonnell, who has experience in the development and design of advanced small modular reactors.