The US federal government has set aside more than a quarter of a billion dollars to fund the demonstration of a small modular (SMR) nuclear reactor in the US, with potential total funding rising to close to half a billion dollars. With smaller-scale nuclear technology widely discussed as the future of the troubled sector, a whos-who of companies are expected to participate in the project and apply for the funds.

Westinghouse Electric Company, based in Pittsburgh but part of Japan’s Toshiba, has submitted a letter of intent saying it will compete for the SMR nuclear deployment acceleration grant. The company is showcasing a 225 MW-equivalent integral pressurized water reactor that leverages technology from its already-licensed AP1000 nuclear power plant design.

Westinghouse is working with power company Ameren on a proposed construction and operating license at the energy company’s Callaway Energy Center in central Missouri.

Westinghouse technology is the basis for roughly half of the world’s operating nuclear plants, the company said.

According the funding announcement from the federal government, “the DOE is soliciting applications for SMR designs that offer unique and innovative features that can serve to improve nuclear safety, operability, efficiency, economics, security, and performance over existing plants and previously certified nuclear plant designs and that can achieve NRC design certification on a schedule that supports deployment in the 2025 timeframe.”

“Program funding will be provided at a minimum of 50% industry cost-share and a maximum of 50% Federal cost-share to the awardee(s) for the purposes of completing design development and certification efforts for innovative SMR design projects,” the announcement said.

For more information on the funding opportunity announcement from the Department of Energy, visit here. The closing date for applications is July 1, 2013.