TVA, B&W Sign Small Modular Reactor Agreement Under DOE Program

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Babcock & Wilcox announced Wednesday a major step in their joint effort to build and test the nation’s first small modular reactor at TVA’s Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge Tn.

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.

The agreement is the first definitive milestone in the U.S. Department of Energy’s recently initiated SMR Licensing Technical Support Program, which aims for commercial demonstration of SMRs by 2022. DOE chose TVA in November for cost sharing in the design and licensing of the B&W mPower small modular reactor as part of the mPower America Team.

“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.”

The contract also defines respective responsibilities and work scopes for TVA and B&W in preparing a license application for NRC review, including a Clinch River Site geological characterization, preliminary safety analysis report, and site environmental report.

Work under this contract will commence at the Clinch River Site once B&W mPower and DOE sign a cooperative agreement for the grant funds. The DOE program, which provides $452 million in funding over five years, has received more than $67 million in appropriations from Congress. Under the program, DOE will fund as much as 50 percent of the cost of design and licensing.

TVA is evaluating the Clinch River Site for potential deployment of up to four B&W SMRs. 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. 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.

Other potential benefits include fully underground containment for improved safety and security, and clean base-load generation capacity in smaller, more flexible, lower-cost increments.

TVA has been evaluating SMRs, one of its signature technologies, since 2009, but SMRs are still in the early phase of design and licensing. TVA’s nuclear construction project priority remains completion of Watts Bar Unit 2. As the Clinch River project matures, it will be evaluated at certain progress points to ensure its continuation makes sense for TVA.

Northwest Georgia’s Unemployment Rate Unchanged At 5.6 Percent In October

The Georgia Department of Labor announced on Thursday that the unemployment rate in the Northwest Georgia region in October was 5.6 percent, unchanged from September. The rate in October 2014 was 6.8 percent. While the rate was unchanged, the number of initial claims for unemployment insurance rose by 741, or 29.1 percent, to 3,291 in October. Most of the increase was due ... (click for more)

October 2015 County Unemployment Rates

County unemployment rates for October 2015, released Wedesday, show the rates decreased in 90 counties, increased in four, and remained the same in one county. Specific county information for October is available on the Internet .   Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in October at 4.2 percent, down from September’s rate of 4.6 percent. Knox ... (click for more)

City Council To Consider Policy That Job Applicants Would Not Have To Reveal Criminal Records

The City Council on Tuesday night will consider a policy that city job applicants would not have to reveal their criminal past. Councilman Yusuf Hakeem cited problems those with felony records have in securing employment. The policy would go into effect by the first of the year. The resolution says: WHEREAS, the City of Chattanooga (the "City") is committed ... (click for more)

City Considering Measure That Would Require City Employees To Be Tennessee Residents

The City Council is considering an ordinance that would require city employees to be residents of the state of Tennessee. The city has employees who live in North Georgia and North Alabama and that is allowed.  If the ordinance is approved by the City Council, it still would need to be okayed by a majority of city voters in an election. The measure will be considered ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Can’t ‘Ban The Box’

I know a man who has over 20 former convicts from federal prisons who either work for him or who have retired with their dignity, pride, and self-worth restored. Better yet, I know some of them, men who have done “hard time” in prisons so wretched none of us would dare to go. So on the surface I applaud City Councilman Yusef Hakeem for seeing ways to get formerly incarcerated men ... (click for more)