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by Rick Prugh, Missouri Enterprise

To help reduce the enormous capitalization costs associated with building new nuclear power plants, several companies are designing small modular reactors (SMRs). These smaller reactors are designed so that modules can be manufactured in factories and shipped to the site for assembly, which is a more cost-effective solution than constructing the majority of the power plant on site. 

Missouri wants to be the hub of SMR manufacturing, and Missouri Enterprise (the state’s NIST MEP center) is helping the state reach this goal. In partnership with the University of Missouri and the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, Missouri Enterprise has set a goal of building a supply chain in the state around the SMR technology. Funding for this effort is provided through the federal Make it in America Challenge program.

Because SMRs are still in the design phase, manufacturers are first being encouraged to become part of the existing nuclear power plant supply chain. Missouri Enterprise is supporting these businesses in this effort in a variety of ways. In working toward building a strong manufacturing supply chain, Missouri Enterprise is performing the following tasks:

  • Identifying needed primary supply components
  • Determining necessary supplier qualifications
  • Scouting the state to discover manufacturers that meet the criteria
  • Finding interested manufacturers that do not currently meet criteria
  • Helping manufacturers fill gaps in meeting criteria by matching them with technical resources that can provide training or consultation 

According to the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, each SMR should create orders for parts and services totaling at least $400 million. Becoming an integral part of the SMR supply chain is a tremendous growth opportunity for Missouri businesses as well as companies across the country that commit themselves to supporting this emerging industry.