OSU's tech transfer nudge powered NuScale's beginnings
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
NuScale's award from the Department of Energy, which could reach $226 million depending on how much the company can match, thrilled officials at Oregon State University, from which the company was spawned.
A bit more on Thursday's news that NuScale will receive up to $226 million (provided they can match that much) in Department of Energy funds:
- NuScale began life as a spinoff company based on research conducted by OSU professor Jose Reyes, who's since become "one of the international leaders in the creation of small modular nuclear reactors. Those are the items, designed for more-measure uses than larger reactors, that NuScale's developing.
- In the early 2000s, OSU's Reyes sought to craft a nuclear power reactor that could be manufactured in a factory, then transported to wherever it's needed.
- The smaller reactor could also, according to OSU, include "passive safety” concepts that allow the design to be shut down automatically. The shut-down system operates on gravity and convection.
- Oregon's congressional delegation moved quickly Thursday to weigh in on the award. Sen. Ron Wyden said the announcement "shows that investing in strong public universities leads to innovative technologies to address critical issues, like the need for low-carbon sources of energy, while creating private sector jobs.” Rep. Peter DeFazio called it "a big win for the local economy."
Mike McGough, NuScale's chief commercial officer, said earlier Thursday that state leaders have also strongly backed the company's efforts.
"Gov. (John) Kitzhaber has been extremely supportive of the entire Oregon delegation and has been tremendously helpful and supportive of our efforts," McGough said.
The award could reach as much as $226 million as the Energy Department provides a dollar-for-dollar match. McGough said NuScale must negotiate a collaborative agreement with the agency over the next three months that will finalize how much money it receives as well as the agreement's terms.
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