Marlton nuke maker will try again for US $

A proposal to build a small modular nuclear reactor electric plant (SMR), backed by Marlton-based Holtec International, in partnership with South Carolina Gas & Electric Company and partners Areva USA and Shaw Group, has been turned down for initial funding by a U.S. Department of Energy matching fund grant program. Instead the government has picked a rival proposal by Babcock & Wilcox, Bechtel and the Tennessee Valley Authority, using suppliers in Pennsyvlania and several other states. DOE statement here.

The Obama administration waited until after the Nov. 6 election - in which energy subsidies became an issue - to pick a winner. It had been expected to name two winners, from at least four proposals submitted earlier this year, and to pick the winners by August. But DOE now says it "plans to issue a new funding opporunity announcement" that gives Holtec and others a second chance.

"We are hopeful to get an award on the second round," Holtec officer Pierre Oneid told me. Holtec, which handles spent nuclear fuel and other nuclear support services, and operates from a former Westinghouse plant in Pittsburgh, among other locations, "is hopeful that the Company will merit an award in the second round," Holtec said in a statement.

William S. Woodward PhD, who heads Holtec's SMR-160 small reactor development program, says Holtec "will continue our careful and deliberate technology development effort" even without the federal grant. The Holtec proposal, for a site at the former federal Savannah River site, is supported by South Carolina's state government, which hopes it will create jobs. 

Holtec boss Kris Singh is an owner of the Inquirer.