TVA signs deal to build small new nuclear reactor in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

TVA signs deal to build small new nuclear reactor in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

February 20th, 2013 by Dave Flessner in Local - Breaking News

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The Tennessee Valley Authority has agreed to pursue plans for a new type of small modular nuclear reactor on property the utility owns in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

TVA announced today it signed a contract two weeks ago with Babcock & Wilcox Co. to prepare and support an application to build a small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear plant at TVA's Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge. TVA will work on the proposal to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to help build the mPower plant being developed by Babcock and Wilcox. The plant design must still be approved by the NRC, but the first commercial unit could be demonstrated by 2022, Babcock and Wilcox said in a statement today.

"This agreement between TVA and Babcock & Wilcox represents an important step toward TVA's inclusion of small modular reactors as a source of exactly the kind of clean, reliable, safe, and low-cost electricity the Tennessee Valley needs to attract good jobs," U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said in a statement.

The contract formalizes the first steps toward the anticipated B&W mPower deployment at Clinch River, as contemplated in TVA's May 2011 Letter of Intent to B&W for the project.

"TVA and B&W have now officially launched their team effort towards evaluating this new technology for the nuclear industry and starting the analysis process at TVA's Clinch River Site," said Dr. Joe Hoagland, TVA senior vice president for Policy and Oversight. "With strong support from DOE, we look forward to the successful development, demonstration, and analysis of SMR technology as a potential option to help TVA and the nation meet our clean-energy goals for the future."

Read more in Thursday's Times Free Press