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Nuclear power’s future includes large and small reactors, speakers tell APPA audience

From the June 20, 2013 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published June 20, 2013

By Jeanne LaBella
Sr. Vice President, Publishing

Construction on unit 3 of Plant Vogtle in Georgia is 30 percent complete, said Jerry Ranalli of MEAG Power, the state’s municipal electric joint action agency. He spoke June 17 at a breakout session on nuclear power developments at the APPA National Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Work on the plant is proceeding under a combined construction and operating license under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s new licensing rules, Ranalli said. Construction on the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar 2 reactor is proceeding under the NRC’s older regulations, which authorize a utility only to construct, but not operate, a nuclear plant, he said. Under the old rules, utilities apply for an operating license once construction is completed. 

The new NRC rules reduce financial risks for licensees, but come with greater responsibility, Ranalli said.

Investor-owned Southern Co. is building Vogtle units 3 and 4.  MEAG Power owns a 22.7 percent interest in the reactors. Vogtle 3, expected to begin operating in 2017, is likely to become the first new nuclear reactor in the United States in 30 years.

Mike McGough, vice president business development for NuScale Power, told the APPA conference audience about his company’s ongoing work to develop 45-MW modular nuclear reactors. The company is preparing its license application now and expects to submit it to the NRC in 2015. NuScale hopes to have a construction and operating license by 2019 and an operating modular reactor by 2024, he said.

The small reactors are designed to be installed underground in groups of 12. Because of their size, they would be refueled once every two years and refueling operations at a 12-unit plant would be ongoing.

Ranalli and McGough gave a video snapshot of their conference presentation immediately following the session. The video is posted on Public Power TV.


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Senior Vice President, Publishing 
Jeanne Wickline LaBella

Editorial Director
Robert Varela

Editor, Public Power Daily
Jeannine Anderson

Communications Assistant
Fallon W. Forbush

Manager, Integrated Media 
David L. Blaylock

Integrated Media Editor 
Laura D’Alessandro