Washington state legislators have allocated $25 million in the state’s 2023-2025 capital budget for small modular reactor (SMR) development.

The allocation is provided as a non-federal match for Energy Northwest’s participation in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) loan programs office application. The utility wants to develop “up to 12 Xe-100 advanced small modular reactors” capable of generating up to 960 MW of electricity adjacent to the large nuclear-powered Columbia Generating Station in Richland.

The capital allocation received bipartisan support but still needs to be signed by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The $25 million allocation represents the first significant investment in nuclear energy generation by the Washington State Legislature in over a decade.

“The people of the 8th District are energy-savvy consumers who understand the importance of clean nuclear energy,” said Rep. Stephanie Barnard (R – Pasco). “The development of advanced SMRs has been a top priority goal in the Tri-Cities for years, and it’s a top priority for me.”

Energy Northwest said it expects to bring the first Xe-100 module online by 2030.

X-energy’s Xe-100 SMR is a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor. The Maryland-based company said 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.

Energy Northwest and X-energy have discussed plans for an Xe-100 reactor facility in central Washington since 2020. At one time X-energy’s goal was to have an operational unit by 2028, starting with a 320 MW four-unit Xe-100 power plant in the state.

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