Governor Lee, Commissioner Rolfe Announce Kairos Power to Establish Low-Power Demonstration Reactor in Oak Ridge
- Nuclear power company will invest $100 million in low-power demonstration reactor site
- Low-power demonstration reactor will be at East Tennessee Technology Park
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Kairos Power officials announced today that the privately funded, advanced nuclear engineering company will establish a low-power demonstration reactor in Oak Ridge.
Kairos Power will invest $100 million and create 55 jobs to deploy a low-power demonstration reactor at the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge.
Kairos Power’s low-power demonstration reactor, called Hermes, 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.
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.
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..
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.
Over the last five years, TNECD has supported nearly 70 economic development projects in East Tennessee, accounting for 9,000 job commitments and $2.5 billion in capital investment.
“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.” – Gov. Bill Lee
“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.” – TNECD Commissioner Bob Rolfe
“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
"The City of Oak Ridge has a long and distinguished history of nuclear innovation. The citizens of Oak Ridge look forward to welcoming Kairos Power into to our community and working with this exciting innovative project to ensure their long-term success." – Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson
“Advanced nuclear technology plays a critical role in meeting electricity generation needs and carbon reduction goals in the next two decades. For a growing number of businesses, having a supply of carbon-free energy has become a key factor in determining where they locate or expand their operations. Partnering with Kairos Power to develop advanced nuclear solutions creates a competitive advantage for our region and state in attracting innovative industries, jobs and investments.” – TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash
“I am extremely excited about this announcement. Oak Ridge is at the center of nuclear innovation and I am grateful Kairos Power has chosen the East Tennessee Technology Park for this project. I greatly appreciate the work of Senator Yager and others to bring this project to fruition. They have been critical to bringing this project to our region. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Yager, Kairos Power and others to make this project a continuing success story for Oak Ridge.” – Lt. Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge)
“This is tremendous news for our region as we continue to develop the most innovative nuclear technology in the world. Kairos is a leader in revolutionizing manufacturing in the nuclear industry and we welcome these high-quality jobs. They will add to the increasing number of world experts located here, building on our strengths as a technological research and development hub. I appreciate the work of Governor Lee, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee and our local officials who have worked with Kairos on securing this significant investment. It is a pleasure to partner with them to bring new and better paying jobs to Tennessee.” – Sen. Ken Yager (R-Kingston)
“Kairos Power’s investment in Oak Ridge further demonstrates Tennessee’s commitment to advancing research and developing clean energy. I’m very proud they’ve chosen to come to Roane County and I’m confident they will be a highly valued employer here. I look forward to witnessing the evolution of their technological discoveries that will help improve the lives of others.” – Rep. Kent Calfee (R-Kingston)
“Oak Ridge is known for its rich history and long tradition of being a center for scientific and energy innovation. It’s exciting to see a company like Kairos Power recognize the opportunity and unique capabilities provided by our community. We welcome our newest employer and wish them success for many years to come.” – Rep. John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge)
About Kairos Power
Kairos Power is a nuclear energy technology and engineering company whose mission is 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.
About the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development’s mission is to develop strategies that help make Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs. To grow and strengthen Tennessee, the department seeks to attract new corporate investment to the state and works with Tennessee companies to facilitate expansion and economic growth. Find us on the web: tnecd.com. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @tnecd. Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/tnecd.
Kairos Power Media Contact
Cindy Chan, Corporate Communications
TNECD Media Contact
Molly Hair, Public Information Officer