TVA eyes building 2 smaller reactors on the Clinch River in Oak Ridge

photo TVA is planning to build two 180-megawatt small modular reactors on the Clinch River in Oak Ridge. (Rendering by Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy)

photo A single B&W mPower nuclear reactor module.

Proposed small modular reactorName: mPowerPartners: Babcock & Wilcox, TVA and BechtelSite: Clinch River site in Oak RidgeSize: Up to four SMR units, each capable of generating 180 megawatts of electricitySchedule: Submit permit application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by mid 2014 for approval by 2018; commercial operation by October 2021.Smaller reactor future Advantages:• Most components are small enough to be built in factory and shipped for assembly on site• Simpler and smaller design allows for reactor to be built underground and with passive cooling, eliminating need for so many pumps, valves and other equipment• Smaller size should allow for quicker and easier construction and incremental additions that don't require as much one-time capital cost• Small modular reactors could be air cooled, in some instances, allowing for locations away form rivers, lakes or oceansDisadvantages:• Technology is yet to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and there is no history of construction to test new design.•