Advanced nuclear reactor company X-energy will become a publicly-traded company after a business combination agreement with special-purpose acquisition company Ares Acquisition Corporation.
The merger with Ares Acquisition Corp. would value X-energy at about $2 billion, according to the Dec. 6 announcement. The deal, expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, would generate cash proceeds of about $1 billion for X-energy from the trust account of Ares, assuming no redemptions.
Institutional investors have also committed $120 million in financing, which includes $75 million from Ares Management and $45 million from Ontario Power Generation and Segra Capital Management.
X-energy is developing a small modular nuclear reactor (SMR), a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor known as the Xe-100. The Maryland-based company is also developing its proprietary tri-structural isotropic (“TRISO”) encapsulated particle fuel, TRISO-X.
X-energy completed the basic design of the Xe-100, a development announced by the U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear office in August.
The company plans to try to license the reactor through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The goal is to have a unit operational by 2028, starting with a 320 MW four-unit Xe-100 power plant in Washington state.
X-energy says its SMR can address a broad range of uses, including applications that currently rely on fossil fuels to produce steam and heat for processes like manufacturing, petroleum refining and hydrogen production.
X-energy said it also hopes to license the country’s first commercial facility dedicated to fueling HALEU-based reactors as part of DOE’s Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP). The company submitted their application to build this facility in early April. According to DOE, it could be operational as soon as 2025.
The DOE said the fuel fabrication facility has the capacity to produce eight metric tons per year of TRISO pebble fuel, enough to power 12 of X-energy’s proposed Xe-100 SMRs. The facility would also be capable of manufacturing TRISO fuel for other advanced reactor designs. X-energy said it plans to double its fuel production by the 2030s.
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