Nuclear power plant equipment manufacturer and plant decommissioning specialist Holtec International is working on a $7.4-billion plan to produce small modular reactors “in large numbers” at one expanded plant and another to be built.The Jupiter, Fla.-based firm announced on July 20 that it had submitted the second and final part of its U.S. Dept. of Energy loan application to finance reactor develoipment.

Holtec plans to build a power plant with four of its SMR-160 small modular reactors, possibly at its Oyster Creek nuclear plant site in southern New Jersey, which shut down in 2018. It also would expand a Camden, N.J., manufacturing plant with additional machining, robotic welding and material handling equipment to meet an expected rise in demand for its SMR-160. 

DOE previously approved the first part of Holtec’s loan guarantee application in March, the company said.

Holtec also plans to build a new “giga-manufacturing facility” to manufacture SMR-160s that will be similar to its modern heavy fabrication plant in Camden, but larger, according to Holtec. The company has not yet selected a location but says it will likely be in the same region where its first SMR-160s will be deployed. 

Like its name implies, the SMR-160 requires a smaller footprint than typical nuclear reactors—just 4.5 acres, so owners can use multiple units to meet demand, according to Holtec. The 160-MW light-water reactor is also designed for modularity, with most of the components prepared ahead of on-site assembly.

Holtec anticipates construction times of 30 months or less after the first SMR-160 is built.

Holtec also announced that it has partnered with New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. to explore the feasibility of using SMR-160s at the nuclear power plant operator's existing sites. 

Chris Bakken, chief nuclear officer at Entergy, said in a statement that the aim is to see if the SMR-160 could work toward the company’s net-zero goals. 

As ENR has previously reported, many aging U.S. nuclear plants are being decommissioned, and the sector is looking toward new technologies and small reactors, which are typically under 300 MW. DOE has provided funding to several companies to boost development of advanced nuclear reactor designs in recent years.