Environmental Impact Statement for the Construction Permit for the Kairos Hermes Test Reactor – Draft Report for Comment (NUREG-2263)

This publication has been issued for public comment. Comments will be accepted until December 6, 2022. To submit comments, please see Docket ID Number NRC-2021-0193.

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Publication Information

Manuscript Completed: September 2022
Date Published: September 2022

Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555-0001

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The U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has prepared this draft environmental impact statement (EIS) in response to an application submitted by Kairos Power, LLC (Kairos) for a construction permit (CP) for a non-power test reactor termed Hermes at a site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Kairos plans to build and operate Hermes to demonstrate key elements of the Kairos Power Fluoride Salt-Cooled, High Temperature Reactor technology for possible future commercial deployment. This draft EIS includes the analysis that evaluates the environmental impacts of the proposed action and considers the following two alternatives to the proposed action: (1) the no-action alternative (i.e., the CP is denied) and (2) building the proposed Hermes non-power test reactor at a site near Idaho Falls, Idaho.

After weighing the environmental, economic, technical, and other benefits against environmental and other costs, and considering reasonable alternatives, the NRC staff recommends, unless safety issues mandate otherwise, that the NRC issue the CP to Kairos. The NRC staff based its recommendation on the following factors:

  • the NRC staff’s review of Kairos’ environmental report (included as part of the CP application) and associated responses from Kairos to requests from the NRC staff for clarifying information;
  • the NRC staff’s review of comments received as part of the scoping process;
  • the NRC staff’s communications with, and scoping comments received from, Federal, State, and local agencies, as well as Tribal officials; and
  • the NRC staff’s independent environmental review.

The NRC’s staff’s recommendation in this draft EIS is tentative. Before identifying a final recommendation in the final EIS, the NRC staff will also consider comments received on the draft EIS from Federal, State, local, and Tribal officials, and members of the public.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Thursday, September 29, 2022