BREAKING: Gadsden chosen for $232 million microreactor assembly plant

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Photo: Dan Stout, USNC’s Chief Nuclear Officer, (left) with Mayor Ford (right). Submitted/The Messenger.

 

On Wednesday, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC) announced their selection of Gadsden as the location of the company’s Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR) assembly plant.

The highly automated facility will manufacture, assemble, test and inspect the non-radiological modules needed to construct USNC’s industry leading Micro-Modular Reactor (MMR). While USNC operates in the nuclear energy sector, the company emphasized that no radioactive material will be used or stored at the Gadsden assembly plant.

The decision to locate in Gadsden resulted from an extensive search spanning multiple states and hundreds of potential sites. The deal was formalized through a project agreement executed by Governor Kay Ivey and the company.

“Alabama is home to an impressive array of highly innovative companies, so our state is an ideal place for Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s new advanced microreactor assembly plant,” Ivey said. “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.”

“This is a game-changer for Gadsden,” said Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford. “Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation’s selection of Gadsden proves what I’ve known all my life about the unmatched grit and capability of our workforce. When I took office less than eight months ago, this was one of the first industrial project requests to cross my desk and working toward today’s announcement has been my top priority since. With this plant being focused on manufacturing and assembly, our workforce is built for exactly this type of industry. We look forward to filling the hundreds of innovative, technology-driven jobs once this new assembly plant becomes operational in 2027. Gadsden and USNC are excited to grow together.”

“We are attracted to Gadsden by their skilled workforce and the outstanding training programs and support they are bringing to the table,” said Ted Coulter, plant director for the MMR factory at USNC. “In Gadsden, I have confidence we can hire local talent and operate with both safety and efficiency. We are looking forward to becoming a member of the community.”

News of the agreement came during a keynote address by USNC’s Chief Nuclear Officer, Dan Stout, at the 10th Advanced Reactors Summit and Technology Trailblazers Showcase in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford was on hand in Charlotte for the announcement.

The non-nuclear production facility represents a $232 million investment in advanced nuclear infrastructure, benefitting the community, the Southeast region and the nation. When operational, the assembly plant will employ 250 professional and technical workers.

Construction is slated to begin in 2024 with the facility operational in 2027.

“USNC’s microreactors will be produced at the state-of-the-art facility in Gadsden and shipped as modules to sites around the world, allowing for the generation of reliable energy anywhere,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce. “This is safe and amazing technology, and I’m pleased that it will be made in Alabama.”

“We appreciate the interest and support for this effort from the City of Gadsden, Etowah County, the Alabama Department of Commerce and so many others up to and including Governor Ivey and her talented team,” said Stout. “We especially appreciate the guidance and efforts of April Gray at the Department of Commerce and David Hooks of the Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority in making this project a reality.”

The 578,000 square foot factory features state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing processes and equipment and will be capable of producing up to 10 complete MMR nuclear units per year. The project establishes an advanced nuclear manufacturing hub in Gadsden and the surrounding region. USNC representatives note significant potential for expansion and export as demand for the MMR high-temperature gas reactor gains global interest and traction. There is also high potential for USNC suppliers to establish a local presence, thereby creating even more growth and opportunity in and around Gadsden.

The project is contingent upon remaining approvals.

About Ultra Safe Nuclear  
Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC), a United States company headquartered in Seattle, Washington, is a global leader and strong vertical integrator of nuclear technologies and services, on Earth and in space. The company produces the Micro-Modular reactor (MMR), TRISO-based Fully Ceramic Micro-encapsulated (FCM) nuclear fuel and develops nuclear power and propulsion technologies for space exploration.

The company has active micro reactor deployment projects in Canada at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, and in the United States at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Additional units are in development in the United States, Canada and Europe.

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