Kairos Power Establishes Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Reactor
Called Hermes, Kairos Power’s low-power demonstration reactor will demonstrate the company’s capability to deliver low-cost nuclear heat. The Hermes reactor is a scaled version of Kairos Power’s Fluoride Salt-Cooled High Temperature Reactor (KP-FHR), an advanced reactor technology that aims to be cost competitive with natural gas in the U.S. electricity market in order to provide carbon-free, affordable and safe energy. The project will be a redevelopment of a site at the Heritage Center, a former U.S. Department of Energy site complex.
“We are thrilled to join the Oak Ridge community and to build on the rich technological heritage of the East Tennessee Technology Park. The opportunity to demonstrate Kairos Power’s advanced nuclear technology in Tennessee is a major milestone on the path to a clean and affordable energy system in the United States. We are grateful for the support from our partners at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee Valley Authority, City of Oak Ridge, the East Tennessee Economic Council, Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and we look forward to continued growth and engagement in Tennessee,” Kairos Power CEO and Co-founder Mike Laufer noted.
According to state officials, scheduled to be operational in 2026, the Hermes reactor will move forward Kairos Power’s iterative development process from prototype toward commercial scale by demonstrating complete nuclear systems, advancing Kairos Power’s manufacturing capabilities for critical components, testing the supply chain and facilitating licensing certainty for the KP-FHR.
“Oak Ridge continues to lead the nation in groundbreaking technology, and we recognize Kairos Power for joining this effort. I’m proud of the energy development happening in Tennessee that will positively impact the U.S. and the world. We thank Kairos Power for choosing to develop their test reactor here in Tennessee to support their mission of developing innovative nuclear technology that will move the U.S. forward,” Governor Bill Lee said.
Kairos Power received $303 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and Office of Nuclear Energy’s program for Risk Reduction projects to support the design, licensing and construction of the Hermes low-power demonstration reactor. Hermes is intended to lead to the development of the Kairos Power KP-X, a commercial-scale KP-FHR.
“The Oak Ridge Corridor is at the forefront of science and technology in the U.S. and this partnership with Kairos Power is a huge accomplishment for Tennessee and the nuclear energy world. The combination of resources working to deliver innovative nuclear energy is fueled by our strong science and energy sector and the excellent work being done daily at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, led by Dr. Zacharia. I congratulate Kairos Power on this groundbreaking project,” said TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe.
Kairos Power is a mission driven engineering company launched out of a broad research effort at U.S. universities and national laboratories. The company was founded to accelerate the development of an innovative nuclear technology that has the potential to transform the energy landscape in the United States and internationally.
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