home Nuclear Technology, Politics, U Holtec seeks $7.4 billion loan for expansion tied to new reactor

Holtec seeks $7.4 billion loan for expansion tied to new reactor

Holtec International Inc. has applied for a $7.4 billion federal loan to fund expansion expected from future sales of a company-designed nuclear reactor.

Holtec would tap the loan to boost capacity to make parts at its existing U.S. facilities, and to build and commission “at least four” SMR-160 advanced light water reactors.

It also expects to build “one or more additional manufacturing plants,” the company said.

Holtec added it’s “actively evaluating” potential sites “for the new ultra-modern manufacturing plant(s).”

The firm has three nuclear manufacturing facilities in the United States, including one at its Camden corporate campus that was designed for the eventual production of SMR-160s. It also has a fabrication plant in India.

Holtec claims its small modular reactor produces carbon-free energy more safely than a conventional nuclear power plant.

The firm has invested more than $400 million in the reactor’s development since 2010. It was approved in 2020 for $116 million in federal aid “to support the SMR-160’s commercialization readiness.”

Holtec is seeking the loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, which received an infusion of about $111 billion from last year’s Inflation Reduction Act.

“We anticipate that (the application process) will be ongoing for a while as DOE usually (has requests) for information or clarifying questions for an applicant,” said Holtec spokesman Patrick O’Brien.

“Our goal is to have an SMR-160 licensed and operational by 2030,” he said.

The company has said it’s “exploring” the potential to put its first SMR-160 at the Oyster Creek complex in Ocean County, where Holtec is decommissioning a former atomic power plant.

It’s also looking at two southern states “with rapidly growing regional demand for carbon-free energy,” Holtec said in a review of its 2022 performance.

Holtec also said it expects the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission “early this year” will license its planned nuclear-waste storage facility in New Mexico.

The complex, in the works for seven years, could hold “the vast quantity of spent nuclear fuel presently stored at more than 70 nuclear sites in 35 states,” the company said.

But an environmental coalition plans to challenge any NRC approval in federal court, said Kevin Kamps of Beyond Nuclear, a nonprofit that’s sharply critical of Holtec’s plan.

Kamps said Holtec’s waste-storage project also faces court challenges from the states of New Mexico and Texas, as well as from businesses with mining and ranching interests near the proposed storage site.

He also described potential federal aid to Holtec as “an outrageous pickpocketing of hardworking American taxpayers to benefit a filthy rich private company.”

According to Holtec, the operation of a consolidated waste-storage site would spur nuclear power in the United States, “leading to the rise of small modular reactors.”

It also expressed the belief that modular reactors made in America would find “a large global export market.”

Holtec previously has predicted it could place 32 SMR-160s in the United Kingdom by 2050.

The company said it expects to pair its SMR-160 with a “Green Boiler” facility that can store excess energy “from an SMR-160, a wind or a solar power plant, and generally from the grid in periods of excess power, then deliver that stored energy in times of generation deficit.”

Holtec has been developing the Green Boiler since 2021.

Source: Cherry Hill Courier Post