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Pentagon's new contracts could mean creation of mobile nuclear reactors

Smaller, mobile nuclear reactors could be the future.

Nuclear reactors could be smaller and mobile soon. 
Classen Rafael / EyeEm/ Getty Images

The Pentagon issued three new contracts that reportedly signal the start of work on small, mobile nuclear reactors, according to a report from Defense News on Monday. This is reportedly part of a two-step plan to achieve nuclear power for US forces at home and overseas. 

BWX Technologies of Virginia (a company that supplies nuclear components and fuel to the US government), X-energy of Maryland, and Westinghouse Government Services of Washington, D.C., were awarded a combined almost $40 million in contracts to begin a two-year design competition for a small nuclear microreactor, according to Defense News. 

The contracts are from "Project Pele," which is run through the Strategic Capabilities Office on the Pentagon's research and engineering side. 

"[Pele] involves the development of a safe, mobile and advanced nuclear microreactor to support a variety of Department of Defense missions such as generating power for remote operating bases," Lt. Col. Robert Carver, a department spokesman, told Defense News. "After a two-year design-maturation period, one of the companies funded to begin design work may be selected to build and demonstrate a prototype." 

CNET reached out to the Department of Defense, and we'll update when we hear back.