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UIUC submits letter of intent to apply for micro-reactor license

By District Energy posted 06-29-2021 14:05




The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) has submitted a Letter of Intent to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to apply for a license to construct a research and test reactor facility on the UIUC campus. The submission of the Letter of Intent (Project No. 99902094) is the first step in NRC's two-step process to license a new reactor, including a process of public hearings on the proposed project for full transparency.

The University's Grainger College of Engineering (and its Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering), in collaboration with Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), is spearheading the new reactor deployment. The new research and test reactor facility will offer UIUC staff and students a diverse set of opportunities for research: instrumentation and control (I&C), multi-physics validation, reactor prototype testing, micro-grid operations, cybersecurity, hydrogen production for transportation and energy storage, and other energy intensive, high-value products.

"This impressive project takes advantage of the diversity of expertise and spirit of innovation across all relevant areas of science and technology at the University of Illinois," said Susan Martinis, vice chancellor for research and innovation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. "We know that Illinois ingenuity will play an important role in advancing the technology that makes microreactors safe, versatile, and cost effective."

The university plans to partially re-power its fossil fuel-fired Abbott power station with the Ultra Safe Nuclear Micro Modular Reactor (MMR™) Energy System, providing a zero-carbon demonstration of district heat and power to campus buildings as part of its green campus initiative. The project team aims to demonstrate how microreactor systems integrate with existing fossil fuel infrastructure to accelerate the decarbonization of existing power-generation facilities.

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