Holtec International is seeking a $7.4 billion federal loan to increase its capacity for manufacturing small modular reactor, or SMR, components and to build and commission at least four SMR-160 plants in the U.S. initially. Its request, submitted last year, also would finance construction of one or more additional manufacturing plants.
The Jupiter, Florida-based nuclear company cited an “anticipated need for accelerated supply of SMR-160 plant components.”
Funding would be provided by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office. The office received $11.7 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act for issuing new loans, raising the loan authority in its existing loan programs by about $100 billion.
Holtec has also proposed a consolidated interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel in New Mexico. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued the final environmental impact statement for the proposed facility in July. Holtec said it believes a functioning consolidated interim storage facility will remove the largest obstacle to the “renaissance of nuclear power in the U.S. leading to the rise of small modular reactors.”
Its federal loan request is premised on Holtec’s belief that funding from the Inflation Reduction Act will “unleash great demand for base load and dispatchable clean power, made possible only with small modular reactors paving the way to a large global export market for U.S.-supplied reactors.”
SMRs, which are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e), according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, have their critics. David Schlissel, director of resource planning analysis at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said SMRs are increasingly seen as solutions to reducing emissions and addressing climate change.
“Claims are being made by promoters, but very few details have been provided for almost all these SMR designs – especially concerning costs and construction schedules,” he told Montana legislators in May.