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TVA, B&W sign small modular reactor agreement under DOE program

From the February 21, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published February 21, 2013

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Babcock & Wilcox announced yesterday a step forward in their effort to build and test the nation’s first small modular reactor at TVA’s Clinch River site in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

TVA and B&W signed a contract on Feb. 7 formalizing the process toward the eventual submittal and Nuclear Regulatory Commission review of a licensing application for a B&W mPower small modular reactor nuclear plant at Clinch River.

Last November, the Department of Energy chose TVA for cost sharing in the design and licensing of the B&W mPower small modular reactor as part of the mPower America Team under DOE's Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support Program. The program aims to demonstrate SMRs commercially by 2022.

"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," said Joe Hoagland, TVA senior vice president for policy and oversight. 

Work under the contract will start at the Clinch River site once B&W mPower and DOE sign a cooperative agreement for the grant funds. Under the program, DOE will fund as much as 50 percent of the cost of design and licensing, TVA said. 

TVA is evaluating the Clinch River site for potential deployment of up to four small modular reactors. Some site characterization work is already under way as part of the license application preparation, expected to be submitted to the NRC in 2015.

B&W’s mPower reactor is being designed to produce 180 megawatts, about one-sixth the size of large light-water reactors being built today, TVA said. More of the equipment will be constructed in factories and shipped by rail to the plant site, resulting in reduced construction time and more standardization from plant to plant, the utility said.


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