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By Rick Prugh
Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Thanks to the federally-funded Make It In America (MIIA) program, Missouri manufacturers are better positioned to sell more components and subcomponents to the global supply chains to construct and maintain nuclear power plants.  Missouri Enterprise managed the just-completed program to make companies aware of growing sales opportunities and provide them with the information necessary to qualify and compete in this market estimated at $700 billion between now and 2030.  Because wind and solar power cannot dependably supply baseload power, it is practically impossible for the U.S. to meet its carbon reduction goals without utilizing nuclear energy, which generates no carbon in its generation process.  

The MIIA program discovered and contacted 444 Missouri companies who have the potential to supply this market.  Of that number, 63 indicated an interest in pursuing this opportunity.  Representatives from 25 Missouri manufacturing companies attended the “Advanced Manufacturing and Nuclear Supply Chain Development Conference” held in St. Louis on September 12th.

The primary conference objective was to make it easier for manufacturers to understand the requirements to enter the nuclear supply chain and introduce those who attended to consulting resources who could assist them meeting these requirements and pursuing NPP supply chain opportunities.  While there are some special challenges in supplying this lucrative market, these resources can help companies investigate opportunities and improve their capabilities to perform in this space.

What’s next?  The company leading the race among U.S. companies to introduce the new small modular reactor (SMR) technology is NuScale Power, who plans to submit its Design Certification Application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) next month.  Recruiting for most tier one and tier two suppliers should start in 2017, with actual supply chain partners signed in 2018 and the first completed SMR module delivered in 2023.

This represents just one current opportunity for Missouri companies to enter or expand their presence in this market.  Rick Prugh, who managed the three-year MIIA program, has been with Missouri Enterprise for 27 years and is now working with the organization as an Area Business Manager (ABM).  In addition to his ABM responsibilities, he will continue to advise companies on how to enter the nuclear power plant supply chain.