With $260 million state incentive, the company, which builds new generation small nuclear reactors, hopes to revitalize nuclear energy, as giant reactor manufactures face an uncertain future.
Holtec International and its subsidiary SMR, LLC, founded by Indian American Dr. Kris Singh, opened its third US campus in Camden, New Jersey, last month. With the addition of the latest facility, the company now has a total manufacturing space of 1.5 million square feet in the United States.
The other two manufacturing facilities in the United States are in Pittsburgh and Orville, Ohio. The company also has campuses in North Carolina and Florida. Globally, SMR and its parent company, Holtec International, have 31 campuses.
The newly opened Camden waterfront facility, Singh Nuclear Technology Campus, has an area of 600,000 square feet. It was awarded $260 million in incentive by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, earlier this year.
Christie was one of the dignitaries present at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on September 15. Others present included Consul General of India in New York Sandeep Chakravorty and representatives from Ukraine, the UAE, Switzerland, and Canada, among other countries.
SMR’s parent company, Holtec, is a diversified energy tech firm with world headquarters in Jupiter, FL. A leader in carbon-free power generation, mainly in commercial nuclear and solar energy, Holtec and its subsidiaries service 70 percent of the world’s nuclear market. According to the company, it is the largest US exporter of nuclear components, with a backlog order of around $6 billion.
Singh, founder and CEO of SMR, LLC and Holtec International, told the American Bazaar that the opening of the new facility will help revitalize the state’s economy and create jobs in New Jersey. Small reactors manufactured at the facility will be shipped worldwide, “hopefully creating a trillion dollar market for the US in the field of nuclear energy.”
Christie lauded Holtec for its investment in the Jersey campus, saying it “represents the largest single investment of private capital in the history of the City of Camden.” The governor pointed out that it “is a project that is investing in the people of the City of Camden” by offering financial security through employment opportunities.
Chakravorty and diplomats from other countries that spoke at the event emphasized on the strong ties between their countries and the United States.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Executive Director of SMR, said the company is now positioning itself to meet an expected increase in demands for the new generation small reactors globally at a time when giant nuclear reactor manufacturers are going through a rough patch.
“People don’t realize it, but the fact is that the nuclear energy is the most reliable round the clock source of green carbon-free energy,” he said. “Our new generation small nuclear reactors will make nuclear energy more attractive as these reactors are unconditionally safe and very economical, cheaper than many other sources of energy. These new generation 160 Megawatt reactors can withstand earthquake, hurricane or even a terrorist bomb blast. The world can’t afford another Fukushima or Chernobyl and the time has come for these new generations walk away safe nuclear reactors.”
Gupta said with “safety issues, excessive costs, and untimely completion” leading to a financial crisis and “bankruptcy of the makers of big reactors,” big rectors “are a thing of past.” He added: “I can foresee our small nuclear reactors being used as the cheapest and most reliable source of green energy worldwide.”
Westinghouse, the US company that manufactured giant nuclear reactors, filed bankruptcy earlier this year. Westinghouse had received orders to build six large reactors in India after the United States and India signed the historic civil nuclear deal in 2008. The French company Areva, which signed an agreement to provide six nuclear reactors to India in 2016, is in financial doldrums, hinting at an uncertain future of big nuclear reactors.
The market for small reactors, on the other hand, looks strong and promising. SMR executives Singh and Gupta said the company hopes to cash in on this. It has already started working in several countries, including Canada, Ukraine, and the UAE.
SMR’s innovative design enables their Small Nuclear Reactors (SMR) produce reliable and carbon-free 160 MW nuclear energy, Singh said.
In India, SMR is headquartered in Dahez, Gujarat, where it has made an initial investment of $100 million. In the wake of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, the company anticipates local manufacturing and exports worth several hundred million dollars from the country.
“Part of our backlog of orders of $6 billion can be manufactured in India,” Gupta said. “We expect around $470 million exports over the next year or so from the Gujarat site. We plan to invest around $2 billion in the South East Asia corridor in the next few years and some of this can be in India.”
“Even if India does not use SMR for its own energy needs, the country can benefit from collaborating with us in exporting nuclear components worldwide, which would generate thousands of jobs and will strengthen India’s position as a world leader in nuclear science,” Gupta said. “The country that leads in nuclear science will lead the world. It is very clear that China Nuclear footprint is expanding rapidly worldwide. It has already signed accords with countries such as Pakistan, Romania, Argentina, Turkey and the UK and the list keeps growing every day.”
Holtec is also involved in philanthropy in the United States. In 2013, Singh, through his KPS Charitable Foundation, established the Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania’s campus in Philadelphia. An advanced center with facilities where students can generate ideas and implement nanotechnology applications, it is available for both academic and industrial use. In India, The company has started charitable work by building toilets in the remote village areas of Bihar.
“So far 700 toilets have been constructed as a pilot charitable project with initial $1.5 million contribution,” Gupta said. “We hope to expand this Bihar experiment in different parts of India with total $100 million contribution towards building toilets in the most needy and remote areas.”
Ratan Tata amongst 9 Indian-origin selectees for the NAE (October 8, 2013)