Up & Atom


The suspense is over. The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced yesterday that it had awarded $80 million each to TerraPower and X-energy under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) for them to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years. “The awards are cost-shared partnerships with industry that will deliver two first-of-a-kind advanced reactors to be licensed for commercial operations.” The $80 million is initial funding for what could be a total of $3.2 billion over seven years.

The ARDP also included two to five “Risk Reduction for Future Demonstrations” (Risk Reduction) projects and at least two “Advanced Reactor Concepts-20” (ARC-20) projects. DOE expects to announce these awards in December 2020.

Morgan Lewis previously reported the details of these funding opportunities; a brief recap follows:

  • Under the Risk Reduction category, DOE will provide a total of $30 million for two to five awardees with “diverse” reactor designs “to address technical risks challenging the development of these reactor designs to get them ready for future demonstration.” DOE expects that these designs will be capable of demonstration in the early to mid-2030s.
  • Under the ARC-20 category, DOE will provide a total of $20 million for up to two awardees developing advanced reactor concepts in safety, operations, and economics, under the presumption that such concepts could be demonstrated by the mid-2030s or later.

The purpose of the ARDP is to accelerate advanced reactor technologies through private-sector cost sharing, with the goal of commercially demonstrating at least two advanced reactor designs by the mid-2020s and reducing risk for technologies that would be ready to deploy in the 2030s.

Morgan Lewis stands ready to advise awardees. We are the only firm with a Chambers Band 1 ranking in nuclear energy, and our NRC licensing and compliance team regularly partners with other practices on matters related to government contracts, intellectual property, and antitrust considerations.