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NRC Issues Early Site Permit to Tennessee Valley Authority for SMRs at Clinch River Site

LCG, December 27, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced on December 17 that the Commission has authorized the issuance of an Early Site Permit (ESP) for Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA's) Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ESP closes several site-related issues, including many environmental impacts, for small modular reactors (SMRs) at the site. The ESP is the first issued by the NRC for SMRs and will be valid for up to 20 years from date of issuance.

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NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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Industry News

NRC Issues Early Site Permit to Tennessee Valley Authority for SMRs at Clinch River Site

LCG, December 27, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced on December 17 that the Commission has authorized the issuance of an Early Site Permit (ESP) for Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA's) Clinch River site near Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The ESP closes several site-related issues, including many environmental impacts, for small modular reactors (SMRs) at the site. The ESP is the first issued by the NRC for SMRs and will be valid for up to 20 years from date of issuance.

Carbon-free SMRs are a next-generation nuclear technology with potential for improved safety and increased flexibility. SMRs are less than one-third the size of a conventional reactors and may provide for greater standardization, shorter construction times and the ability to deploy in smaller increments.

TVA's Director of Nuclear Technology Innovation stated, "The early site permit is a significant step in the potential development of small modular reactor technology. Although we have no plans to build at this time, this permit will give TVA flexible options to prepare for future energy needs."

TVA submitted its ESP application in 2016, and the NRC accepted and docketed the application for the potential construction and operation of multiple SMR units at the Clinch River Site in January 2017. The new permit does not authorize any NRC-regulated construction activities. TVA would need to apply separately for an NRC license to build and operate a reactor at the site.

The ESP includes additional provisions, including approved analysis methods, that deal with the NRC's emergency preparedness regulations. This could allow a future license applicant at the Clinch River site to request an emergency preparedness zone smaller than those found at current U.S. nuclear power plants.

The NRC staff's technical review also covered issues such as how the site's characteristics could affect plant safety and environmental protection considerations. The staff published a final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the permit on April 3, 2019, and a final safety evaluation on June 24, 2019.
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