You are here

Department of Energy Continues Commitment to the Development of Innovative Small Modular Reactors

February 18, 2016 - 10:58am


WASHINGTON – Building on President Obama’s plan to advance America’s leadership in clean energy innovation, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that an agreement has been reached to support possible siting of an innovative small modular reactor (SMR) project within DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site.

This Site Use Permit has been granted to Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) to support possible siting of an innovative small modular reactor (SMR) project within the boundary of DOE’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) site.  

“Small modular reactors are an important new step toward safe, reliable, carbon-free technology. Today’s announcement is a part of the Department of Energy’s ongoing commitment to strengthening nuclear energy’s role in America’s low carbon future,” said Lynn Orr, Under Secretary for Science and Energy at DOE.

The INL Site Use Permit signed by the U.S. Department of Energy and UAMPS allows the latter to access the INL site to analyze environmental, safety, and siting conditions.  UAMPS is currently working to identify potential locations that may be suitable for building the UAMPS Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP) for further characterization and analysis. As potential locations are identified on the INL site, those locations will be provided to the Energy Department to ensure that the use of such site would not conflict with INL mission work.

Site characterization activities will be conducted in accordance with all established INL site stewardship protocols to include environmental protection, and historic and cultural resource preservation.

The CFPP is a commercial venture on a federal compound, and the successful deployment of a small modular reactor design would provide U.S. utilities with a greater range of nuclear energy options to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. Small modular reactors feature compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits, and could potentially supply low-carbon baseload energy to small electric grids and locations that cannot support larger reactors.

If UAMPS identifies a suitable area within the INL site boundary for development of the CFPP, and if the Energy Department determines that the use of such site would not conflict with INL mission work, the design, construction, operation, and eventual decommissioning of an SMR at the selected site would be licensed and inspected by the U.S.  Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), following extensive safety and environmental reviews.

The Site Use Permit signed by DOE and UAMPS can be found here

The SMR design for the CFPP is being provided by NuScale Power TM of Portland, Oregon.  For more information on this design, go to

Find more information on the important steps the Energy Department is taking to jumpstart America’s nuclear industry and support clean energy innovation at

Learn more about UAMPS and the CFPP at