A First-Ever Construction Permit Received by Kairos Power

Kairos Power is the recipient of the first ever Nuclear Regulatory Commission-approved Construction Permit Application (CPA) for a Gen IV (non-light water) Reactor Design.  Kairos is now able to commence building the Hermes molten salt-cooled demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the first advanced nuclear design approved for construction in the US in more than 50 years.

According to World Nuclear News, Kairos has been in pre-application engagement with the NRC since 2018 and submitted the CPA in late 2021 and had it accepted by the NRC in November 2021. In October, the NRC held a mandatory hearing for the CPA, with senior Kairos officials in attendance (in a publicly available meeting that any interested party can attend via Zoom) which received unanimous support from the Commissioners, not least because, under Dr. Per Peterson, the company has done an amazing job of planning a series of iterative builds, which sequentially and increasingly de-risk the design.

The NRC in action at Kairos' mandatory meeting. Image courtesy of Nucleation Capital.
Kairos in attendance at the NRC meeting. Image courtsey of Nucleation Capital

According to World Nuclear News, Kairos has been in pre-application engagement with the NRC since 2018 and submitted the CPA in late 2021 and had it accepted by the NRC in November 2021. In October, the NRC held a mandatory hearing for the CPA, with senior Kairos officials in attendance (in a publicly available meeting that any interested party can attend via Zoom) which received unanimous support from the Commissioners, not least because, under Dr. Per Peterson, the company has done an amazing job of planning a series of iterative builds, which sequentially and increasingly de-risk the design.

Hermes is the first step in this graduated process and is anticipated to be a 35 MW (thermal) non-power iteration of the future fluoride salt-cooled high temperature reactor, the KP-HFR. Kairos also have a CPA pending for its next iteration, called Hermes 2, which is expected to be a 2-unit demonstration plant that, after learnings have been incorporated, would replicate the complete architecture of the future commercial plants, which the company expects to start building in the early 2030s.

According to Katy Huff, the US Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, the NRC’s approval is a “huge milestone” for the energy sector and, we’ll add, for our ability to address climate change.  If nothing else, the NRC is showing that it is serious about providing a path forward for Gen IV reactors.

Read more at the World Nuclear News in “NRC approves Hermes construction permit,” December 13, 2023.

Learn more about Kairos Power at the company’s website and at Atomic Insights, our companion blog and podcast series, where Rod Adams interviews Per Peterson, the Chief Nuclear Officer of Kairos in Atomic Show #288 – Per Peterson, CNO, Kairos Power.

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