On February 5, DOE released a Request for Information/Notice of Intent (RFI/NOI), which announced DOE’s intent to solicit applications for two Advanced Reactor Demonstration (ARD) awards. Each award will be in the amount of $80 million for the first year, with additional funding dependent on individual project requirements and congressional appropriations. The projects are expected to be operational within five to seven years of the award.
Between two and five applicants who are not selected for one of the two ARD awards may be considered for a separate Risk Reduction award, if the project represents diversity of advanced reactor designs. The awards will address technical risks in each applicant’s reactor design. The total amount of the awards will be $30 million for the first year.
DOE issued the RFI/NOI for two primary reasons: (1) to alert interested parties that it will solicit applications for the awards, so they can begin to assemble teams and applications; and (2) to request input on DOE’s proposed strategies to implement the program, which DOE will then use “to inform its procurement approach.”
The RFI/NOI advises interested parties to “immediately” begin the process of getting federally approved rate agreements in place, so as not to delay the award negotiations. It also requests input on the process from interested parties, including government organizations, federal contractors, universities, manufacturers, various consortia, reactor vendors, fuel manufacturers, utilities and power producers, supply chain vendors, engineering, procurement, and construction contractors. It specifies that industry sources “should have demonstrated capabilities for producing reactors, and/or materials and manufacturing of reactor components and systems to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Nuclear Quality Assurance (NQA-1) quality standards.”
The RFI/NOI specifies that entities receiving more than $200,000 FY 2020 funds through the Advanced Small Modular Reactor Research and Development program are not eligible to receive FY 2020 funds associated with the awards under the ARD program.
Congress tasked DOE with creating an ARD program in FY 2020 to stimulate the development of cost-effective, reliable advanced reactors in the private sector.