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Industry News

TVA and B&W Sign Agreement for Clinch River mPower Construction Permit

LCG, February 21, 2013--The Babcock & Wilcox Company announced yesterday that its subsidiary, Babcock & Wilcox mPower, Inc. (B&W mPower), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have executed an agreement to prepare and support the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) review of a Construction Permit Application for a B&W mPower small modular reactor (SMR) nuclear plant at TVA's Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The new agreement sets the next steps to support the development of B&W mPower SMRs at Clinch River, as outlined in TVA's May 2011 Letter of Intent to B&W for the project.

B&W's President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "This Construction Permit contract with TVA is evidence of real and definitive progress toward our goal of completing the first commercial deployment of an SMR in the United States by 2022."

Last November, B&W was selected as the winner of the Department of Energy?s (DOE) SMR Licensing Technical Support Program, and the new agreement achieves the first milestone associated with the program. B&W?s mPower technology is based upon a 180-MW, integral pressurized water reactor design that uses a fully underground containment structure. Other contenders for the DOE program award were Westinghouse?s 225 MW SMR; NuScale Power, with a 540 MW plant that includes twelve mini-reactors; and Holtec's 140-MW design.

In contrast to nuclear reactors now in the NRC approval process that have capacities of 1,000 MW or more, the SMR offers a lower project cost due to its smaller size and because roughly 70 percent of the reactor and its systems are contained within the unit and built in the factory. Moreover, the smaller size provide the potential to deploy the SMRs at aging coal-fired power plant sites, where coal-fired units are approaching retirement, and the site and remaining utility infrastructure may be of value in developing the SMR.

Work at the Clinch River site will commence once B&W mPower and the DOE sign a cooperative agreement for the grant funds. The contract defines the respective responsibilities and work scopes for TVA and B&W to conduct the Clinch River Site geological characterization, develop a Preliminary Safety Analysis Report, and prepare an Environmental Assessment to build up to four mPower SMR reactors. TVA currently expects to submit the Construction Permit Application to the NRC in 2015.

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