U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at COP27. (Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America)
U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at COP27. (Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America)

Project Phoenix

Out of the Ashes - Conversion of Coal to Clean SMR Energy Supply

PROJECT PHOENIX was announced by U.S. Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (COP27). The project will be carried out under the U.S. Department of State’s Foundational Infrastructure for the Responsible Use of Small Modular Reactor Technology (FIRST) Program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Small Modular Reactor Public-Private Program (SMR PPP), which aims to promote transatlantic cooperation to deploy SMRs in Europe and Eurasia. Project Phoenix aims to accelerate the global clean energy transition by providing technical assistance to support decision making on pursuing the conversion of one or more coal-fired power plants to secure and safe zero-carbon small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear energy generation.

Initial programming for Project Phoenix focuses on partnerships with key European and Eurasian countries interested in replacing retired – or soon to be retired – coal plants with new nuclear energy generation capacity from SMRs, consistent with the highest nuclear security and nonproliferation standards, while retaining and retraining the local workforce. Support may include the following activities:

Annual Coal to SMR Conversion Workshop

open to all countries in the region, to foster an open dialogue, share lessons learned, and bring developers and suppliers together.

Feasibility and Site Characterization Studies

to assess the viability of existing coal sites to be converted to SMR facilities

Advisory Services

to provide consultative support on issues such as workforce development for retraining coal plant operators, establishment of SMR regulations, SMR licensing, financing, and related technical assistance.

Through these efforts, the initiative seeks to pave the way for an accelerated global transition away from fossil fuels and toward a cleaner, independent, and more secure energy supply consistent with the highest standards of nuclear security, safety, and nonproliferation.

Efforts under Project Phoenix will be mutually reinforcing with similar projects in the United States and elsewhere. The program will also expand the global market for emerging clean energy technologies, thereby accelerating the process by which they can be made more affordable and readily available for all. Thus, out of the ashes of coal, Project Phoenix is poised to bring renewed life to the ambitious global clean energy agenda.

Thank you for interest in Project Phoenix. The application period is now closed.

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