Trump gives tiny nuclear reactors a billion-dollar boost

Subsidizing emerging technology is a very common way to encourage investment

Small modular reactor startup NuScale Power has a new, unlikely ally after a tough couple of weeks in the press: President Donald Trump‘s Department of Energy.

After the small-scale western utility Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems had several small cities pull out of its planned pilot program with NuScale, the entire utility group started to grumble about the future. But on October 16, the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) approved a $1.4 billion grant to help offset the costs of test driving the new technology.

“The award, to be spread out over 10 years, is still subject to appropriations by Congress,” the Washington Examiner reports. “That could be manageable given that bipartisan majorities have supported NuScale over the years for its potential to prove the viability of small reactors, an emissions-free technology of a type that has never been deployed and expected to be safer and cheaper than traditional large nuclear projects that have struggled economically”.

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To call nuclear energy “emissions-free” is a gentle kind of misleading, but it’s true that NuScale has led public imagination about the idea of small modular reactors. And with a design that’s essentially a “new and improved” version of the light water reactors that power every American nuclear power plant today, NuScale has had less regulatory red tape between its dreams and a soon-to-be-realized reality in its pilot projects in the western U.S.

Read more: yahoo