Camden firm receives $147m grant to develop small nuclear reactor

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CAMDEN, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — An industrial manufacturer in Camden has received a huge grant to advance research and production of more efficient nuclear energy systems.

For the past 10 years, Holtec has been developing a small modular nuclear reactor to be built at their facility in Camden. Senior communications director Joe Delmar said last week, the company was awarded a grant of $147.5 million over seven years to continue development.

"We call it the SMR-160," he announced. "It produces 160 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 160,000 homes."

Delmar said the money will be spent on making the reactors commercial ready for deployment both in the U.S. and globally. And he said it's safer to operate than huge reactors.

"Its innovative design relies on gravity to flow water through the reactor, versus electrical pumps, and that reliance on gravity versus the electrical pumps would help prevent future events such as what happened in Japan," he explained, referring to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Delmar thinks these could be used to eventually replace aging nuclear plants and produce clean energy.