Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) started a process to study sites that could host advanced small modular nuclear reactors.

Under legislative bill 1014, the State of Nebraska allocated $1 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to complete a siting study for small modular reactors. 

As an owner of a current operating nuclear power plant, the single-unit, 835 MW Cooper Nuclear Station, NPPD qualified to apply for funds to complete the siting study. NPPD’s application for funding was approved by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development on January 6.

The Cooper station entered service in 1974 and is licensed to operate through 2034.

The siting study’s first phase involves doing a statewide assessment to determine the 15 best locations for siting small modular reactors based on geographic data and preliminary licensing criteria. Some of the key criteria being considered will be access to water and transmission lines, among others. This phase is estimated to be completed this spring.

The study’s second phase is expected to include a more in-depth evaluation to reduce the number of sites from 15 to four. This effort is expected to include detailed field environmental and constructability evaluations based on criteria used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when licensing nuclear plants. This phase is estimated to take around a year to complete.

NPPD will be completing the study with the help of engineering firm Burns & McDonnell.

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