TRIDEC Selects URS Corporation to Conduct Site Analysis for New Small Modular Reactor

The Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) announced today, that URS Corporation has been selected to conduct a site analysis of Hanford as a possible location to construct a new Small Modular Reactor (SMR) on federally owned property.

This study will be conducted under a Washington State Department of Commerce $500,000 grant awarded to TRIDEC last year for this SMR site study. “Sen. Sharon Brown was instrumental in securing funding for this study and she is also the sponsor of a bill to create a legislative taskforce on the issue,” said Carl Adrian President of TRIDEC. “Her leadership has helped bring the state closer to understanding the full potential of nuclear power to contribute to economic development and job creation in the Tri-Cities, as well as support our state’s clean energy efforts.”

“There is intense national and even international interest in the design, licensing, construction and operation of new Small Modular Reactors at several locations across the U.S.,” said Adrian. “And, we believe that we have one of the best and most economical sites in the country. This URS study will set out to prove, or disprove, TRIDEC’s position on this being the perfect site for a new first-of-a-kind SMR.”

Nearly two years ago TRIDEC made a proposal to DOE-Hq., that the Hanford site – more specifically the WNP-1 site at Energy Northwest at Hanford – has major advantages over other sites being identified for a new small modular reactor across the U.S. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy has already awarded some $450 million under a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA), to two SMR companies to move ahead with the design for new SMRs. This funding is for design and licensing only, and at this point does not include site selection or construction.

The purpose of this study grant is to identify and evaluate the benefits at local, state and national levels for locating an SMR at Hanford; and more specifically to identify what are the significant advantages to DOE and the Federal Government in selecting Hanford as an SMR preferred site.

Governor Jay Inslee, and almost the entire Washington State Congressional delegation, provided letters of support for a new SMR to be located at Hanford. It is anticipated that a new small modular reactor will result in 200-300 construction jobs and operating staff of 100 or more permanent employees, and an original cost for the SMR of something between $500 million and $1 billion. Current DOE efforts are focused on having an SMR operational somewhere in the U.S. in the 2025 time frame, about 10 years from now.

“TRIDEC believes that at least one location on the Hanford Site, Energy Northwest’s former WNP-1 site, has a number of major advantages for locating a new small power reactor,” Adrian said. “We feel that the existing WNP-1 infrastructure alone could provide a $50 million advantage to selecting Hanford. In addition, of all the sites being talked about across the country, Hanford is the only site where DOE itself is going to need an additional 100 MWe of ‘new’ power in the 2020-2025 time frames!”

“Small Modular Reactors represent a strong export opportunity as China and other countries seek clean energy, greenhouse-gas-free energy sources to meet the needs of their growing economies,” said Brian Bonlender, Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Washington State’s leadership in clean energy innovation positions us well, and the Tri-Cities is ideally-suited as a center to develop SMR technology.”

The study is expected to take approximately five months, and the final report will be made available to the community, the State, the Congressional delegation and to DOE Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz.

Thirteen responses to the Request for Proposals were received by TRIDEC. Proposals were received from all over the U.S., and included major companies with outstanding credentials in the nuclear siting arena. URS was selected following oral presentations by the top three companies in a “down select” review of the written proposals.