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June 29, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Kairos Power developing a second Hermes facility in Oak Ridge

Unlike the previously announced demonstration reactor, Hermes 2 will generate electricity.

There was some really exciting news that Mike Laufer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Kairos Power, shared earlier this week during one of the company’s periodic updates about its plans for Oak Ridge.

As previously reported, the California-headquartered company has announced a $100 million investment in Oak Ridge to build a demonstration reactor named Hermes and have it operational sometime in 2026 in the East Tennessee Technology Park. That component is a key part of Kairos Power’s strategy of deploying a commercial-scale facility by 2030.

“Kairos has been incredibly fast on the Hermes project,” Laufer said, explaining that the only steps left before securing the construction permit for the Oak Ridge component are a few items related to the environmental impact and final approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Then, close to three-fourths of the way through the one-hour update, he dropped the exciting news for nuclear power proponents.

“Instead of going from Hermes (1) to the larger scale, there will be another iteration named Hermes 2,” Laufer said. While the initial Hermes plant would not produce electricity, the plan for Hermes 2 is two reactors that would each produce 14 megawatts of electricity that would go on the grid. About the time Hermes 1 comes online, Laufer said Kairos hope is to have the approval to start construction of Hermes 2 and have the two-reactor facility up and running in 2028.

Laufer first revealed Kairos’ plans in a virtual presentation in December 2020 during the annual meeting of the East Tennessee Economic Council (see article hereand formally announced the project seven months later (see article here).

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