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December 13, 2020 | Tom Ballard

ETEC annual event includes major economic development announcement, presentation of five awards

Christmas keeps coming early for a number of our friends.

Last Thursday, we posted this article about a grant to Three Roots Capital that will help accelerate the development of the University of Tennessee Research Park, and, in tomorrow’s edition of, we will spotlight significant progress on another project championed for three years by a local entrepreneur.

On Friday, the good news was focused in Oak Ridge.

During the annual meeting and awards celebration of the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC) on Friday, Kairos Power announced that it plans to deploy a test reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP), pending completion of due diligence and the results of discussions with state and local officials. ETTP is the former K-25 Gaseous Diffusion site and is under the management of the Heritage Center LLC, a subsidiary of the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, with an announcement by.

“We are thrilled at the prospect of coming to East Tennessee,” said Michael Laufer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kairos Power, who is pictured in this screenshot as he made the announcement. “The infrastructure available at ETTP, combined with its proximity to key collaborators at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), makes this a great location to demonstrate our technology. The successful commissioning of Hermes builds on our current technology development programs and extensive engagement with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Ultimately, Hermes will prove that Kairos Power can deliver real systems at our cost targets to make advanced nuclear a competitive source of clean energy in the United States.”

As announced on Friday, Kairos Power has executed a Memorandum of Understanding with Heritage Center LLC to acquire the former K-33 gaseous diffusion plant site at ETTP, subject to ongoing due diligence evaluations.

The nuclear energy technology and engineering company has a mission to enable the world’s transition to clean energy with the ultimate goal of dramatically improving people’s quality of life while protecting the environment. This goal will be accomplished through the commercialization of the Kairos Power fluoride salt-cooled, high-temperature reactor (KP-FHR) that can be deployed with robust safety and at affordable cost.

During the virtual meeting that drew slightly more than 200 attendees, ETEC also presented its two prestigious awards.

  • Recipients of the “Muddy Boot” awards were: (1) Ron Woody, Roane County Executive; (2) Thomas Zacharia, ORNL Director; and (3) Eric Abelquist, the recently retired Executive Vice President of ORAU who has joined UCOR as Deputy Director of Technical Services.
  • Recipients of the “Postma Young Professional Medal” were: (1) Sasha Benjamin, Vice President of External Affairs and Community Relations at the Oak Ridge Utility District; and (2) Joe Storch, Director of Business Development at Patriot Talent Solutions.

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