DOE Drops the Ball on Nuclear Design Funding

The Department of Energy (DOE) was expected to announce two winners of the first round of small modular nuclear reactor (SMR) design funding which was delayed several times in 2012. However, only one award was announced last November and that award went to Babcox & Wllcox (NYSE: BWC  ) . Now over one year later and past the most recent deadline of September 2013 for two more design award announcements, the DOE continues to delay further commitment to SMR designs.

Life goes on for design companies, but spending millions upon millions in tweaking designs and resubmitting legal paperwork to the DOE only hurts potential customers seeking 24/7 base-load power. Frontrunners for the second SMR FOA are Westinghouse and NuScale Power, a company Fluor (NYSE: FLR  ) has invested in. Westinghouse has a proven track record, support from the state of Missouri to build an SMR factory, and an agreement with Ameren (NYSE: AEE  ) to develop/license SMRs. NuScale Power's biggest advantages are its truly scalable PWR technology design which can be shipped by rail, truck, or barge and the fact that the company has had its own test facility in operation since 2003, lending itself to the nearest term commercial availability.

So now at the end of 2013, investors, utilities and design companies alike collectively wait for the DOE to wake from its Rip Van Winkle-like slumber on design funding, especially since natural gas prices are showing their own ability to rise from the dead like Lazurus from the grave and give coal stocks like Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI  ) an afterlife. 

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  • Report this Comment On December 13, 2013, at 7:56 PM, GuestPost wrote:

    >> SMART investors will be investing in Renewable Energy.

    >> The U.S. already uses more Renewable Energy than nuclear energy.

    >> Right now the U.S. can produce the energy-equivalent of 60 nuclear power plants with Wind Energy alone!

    This success with Renewable Energy proves how obsolete and unnecessary nuclear energy is.

    >> With Renewable Energy, unlike with nuclear energy, there's no dangers of meltdowns, dangerous waste, or sdaily release of cancer-causing isotopes into the environment.

    >> ALL investors should be reading the headlines on the highly recommended site ENENEWS to understand how dangerous nuclear energy can be.

  • Report this Comment On December 14, 2013, at 12:20 AM, ChristinaMac1 wrote:

    Small Modular Reactors are a joke.

    Apart from their irrelevance to global warming (they'd be decades too late to have any effect), their security problems, waste problems, need for plutonium to start them going -

    apart from all that - they would need to be marketed and manufactured in mass orders.

    Simply far too expensive, - and would the existing mega companies let this pipedream interfere with selling their big new reactors, into which they have poured $billions in investment and lobbying?

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