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February 26, 2024 | Tom Ballard

Department of Energy will provide up to $303 million for Hermes demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge

The monies will flow under a performance-based, fixed-price, milestone-driven Technology Investment Agreement.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Kairos Power have signed a Technology Investment Agreement to implement an Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP) risk reduction award, for which the company was selected in December 2020, to support the design, construction, and commissioning of the Hermes demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge.

Under the agreement as described in this news release from the company, DOE will provide up to $303 million to Kairos Power using a performance-based, fixed-price milestone approach, wherein the company will receive fixed payments upon demonstrating the achievement of significant project milestones.

The contracting method has been used by the Department of Defense and follows the significant precedent in NASA’s successful Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program. It has proven to be a flexible and effective model to support the development and demonstration of complex technologies through federal partnerships with commercial companies.

“With the use of fixed-price milestone payments, this innovative contract provides real benefits to both Kairos Power and DOE to ensure the successful completion of the Hermes reactor,” said Mike Laufer, Kairos Power’s Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer. “It allows us to remain focused on achieving the most important goals of the project while retaining agility and flexibility to move quickly as we learn key lessons through our iterative development approach.”

This investment by DOE will complement Kairos Power’s substantial private investment in the Hermes project and supporting infrastructure. In December 2023, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a construction permit to Kairos Power for the Hermes reactor which will demonstrate the company’s ability to deliver clean, safe, and affordable nuclear heat and represents a critical step on Kairos Power’s iterative pathway to commercializing its advanced reactor technology.

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