The Office of Nuclear Energy’s US Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development project has awarded $1,628,285 for nuclear energy development in Puerto Rico.
The funds will go toward a site suitability study examining the prospect of two possible locations for small nuclear reactors in Puerto Rico. The Nuclear Alternative Project has identified two locations that meet the criteria of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Their work suggests that small reactors could complement solar energy on the Island to limit fossil fuel dependence.
A total of $8.5 million has been awarded across the nation. $800,000 is going to the American Bureau of Shipping to address obstacles to the use of nuclear power for shipping.
Nuclear power is currently used for ships that need to be at sea for long periods of time, especially submarines. It can be used for many different kinds of vessels, though. Nuclear power can produce greater speed than fossil fuels with no carbon emissions.
The U.S. Navy has more than 100 ships using small nuclear reactors. The American Bureau of Shipping plans to develop business use cases and demonstration models for commercial use of nuclear power in the maritime setting.
Terrestrial Energy USA has been awarded $3 million to improve modelling of off-gas systems for molten salt reactors, a new kind of nuclear reactor. Molten Salt Reactors are 50% more efficient than water-cooled reactors.
Another $2.7 million will go to General Atomics’ Electromagnetic Systems for silicon carbide-based fuel for high-temperature reactors.
Puerto Rico’s inclusion in the awards is good news for the U.S. territory.
Puerto Rico’s energy costs are nearly twice as high as those in the States. Since manufacturing is an important element of Puerto Rico’s economy and the Island’s leaders are working to increase its importance, reducing energy costs is a high priority for Puerto Rico.
Climate change is also high priority for the territory, and nuclear power could be part of the strategy to move away from fossil fuels.
The project is also expected to create jobs on the Island.