skip to main content

DoD exercises option for complementary second micro nuclear reactor design

BWX Technologies' transportable micro nuclear reactor is being developed in partnership with the Pentagon. (BWXT Advanced Technologies)

The Department of Defense (DoD) recently exercised a contract option with X-energy of Rockville, Maryland, to develop an enhanced engineering design for a transportable micro nuclear reactor, the Pentagon confirmed on 13 September.

The Pentagon's Strategic Capabilities Office (SCO) executed the contract option to develop a complementary microreactor design that builds upon X-energy's developments completed under Project Pele in 2022, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Started in 2019, Project Pele's objective is to design, build, and demonstrate a prototype mobile nuclear reactor by the middle of this decade. The project is led by SCO in close collaboration with the Department of Energy (DoE), Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as with industry partners.

Pele was in response to the 2019 US National Defense Authorization Act, which mandated the DoD and the DoE to develop a plan to design, build, and test a microreactor at a DoD installation by December 2027.

In 2022 SCO selected BWX Technologies of Lynchburg, Virginia, to build a prototype microreactor with a 1–5 MWe power capacity for about USD300 million. This work is under way and long-lead hardware fabrication has begun.

The recent option continues funding for X-energy to develop its design to meet the technical requirements of Project Pele, “targeting a reactor design which is ready for licensing by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for both commercial ventures and military resiliency”, the DoD said in a statement.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...