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Alabama Site Picked for First Commercial-Sale Microreactor Assembly Plant

The facility will make modules for microreactors that are small enough to ship, but still provide a substantial amount of nuclear power.

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation's proposed MMR Assembly Plant (MAP) in Gadsden, Alabama.
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation's proposed MMR Assembly Plant (MAP) in Gadsden, Alabama.
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A Seattle-based nuclear energy company has selected Gadsden as the site of a microreactor assembly plant.

Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation said the facility will manufacture and assemble modules needed to construct the company's microreactors.

Unlike nuclear power plants, with their conspicuous cooling towers, microreactors are small and can be shipped to users, while also providing a substantial amount of nuclear power — nearly enough to run a hospital or a small campus. Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation's microreactor vessel is about 40 feet tall and 12 feet in diameter, and each unit can produce 15-30 megawatts of thermal energy, a company spokesman said.

Microreactors are a developing energy alternative. The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, in collaboration with the Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation, is in the pre-application process with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to put one of the small reactors on campus.

Construction on the plant in Gadsden is set to begin next year, and the facility is expected to be operational in 2027. The company said no radioactive material is to be used or stored at the Alabama facility.

The factory will be capable of producing up to 10 complete microreactor nuclear units per year. When operational, the facility will employ 250 professional and technical workers.

"This unique facility will benefit the Gadsden community through a significant investment and the creation of good jobs, while also reinforcing Alabama's reputation for cutting-edge manufacturing operations," Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.

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