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NuScale Power, the independently managed operating unit of Fluor Corporation (FLR - Analyst Report), recently inked an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development of next-generation nuclear reactor designs.

Under the five-year, public-private partnership, Oregon-based NuScale Power will receive matching funds from the DOE to facilitate the development of its nuclear small modular reactor (SMR) technology. The $217 million funding will be used for the advancement, licensing and commercialization of SMR technology.

SMR Technology

To address mounting global energy challenges, NuScale has conceived a clean, reliable and economical technology that provides diverse energy sources and reduces emissions as well. The innovative SMR technology enables the integration of the reactor, steam generator, pressurizer and containment into a single module which is manufactured in a factory. The assembled reactor is then shipped and installed at the plant site to meet its energy demand.

The reactors have extremely safe passive cooling systems and offer a unique scalability feature, wherein the SMR can accommodate growing electricity demand by simply adding modules as needed.

Improved quality and flexibility, shorter lead times and lower capital costs are some additional advantages of the SMR technology, making it ideal for the replacement of the old fossil-fuel based plants.

Energy Concerns

Globalization, population growth and increase in middle-class consumerism are reshaping present-day electricity requirements, leading to greater need for cost-efficient and emission-free energy solutions.

With global electricity demand interminably scaling newer heights, nuclear energy is emerging as one of the best alternatives to the world’s dependence on a finite oil supply, safeguarding the environmental concerns as well. That the revolutionary SMR technology holds strong promise for the future is evident from its triumph in the competitive process for the DOE reward and ultimate contract.

Moving Forward

Fluor has been assisting NuScale in its quest to find a long-term energy solution since 2011 by providing the engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance of nuclear power plants.

NuScale’s collaboration with Fluor, coupled with the federal funds, should aid in promoting this revolutionary technology. NuScale intends to submit its design certification application in the second half of 2016, with certification approval expected in 2020.

Fluor currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry include Pernix Group Inc (PRXG), Willdan Group, Inc. (WLDN) and Quanta Services, Inc. (PWR - Analyst Report). While Pernix and Willdan sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) each, Quanta holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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