TVA and University of Tennessee agree SMR collaboration

09 April 2020

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is to collaborate with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT) to evaluate the development of a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors at TVA's Clinch River site. TVA has an early site permit from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission for two or more small modular reactors at the site but has not yet taken a decision to build.

Tennessee's state flag (Image: Pixabay)

The memorandum of understanding will see TVA and UT work together on the evaluation and potential demonstration and operation of light-water or non-light-water fission reactors that build on the success of the current generation of reactors and will also leverage the expertise of UT's nuclear engineering department, TVA said. Such partnerships - a similar agreement was signed with Oak Ridge National Laboratory in February - are important steps in the early stages of evaluation as TVA considers the prospect of new nuclear, it added.

"This partnership allows us to better explore new nuclear technologies through UT's advanced modelling and simulation tools as we continue to pursue a clean energy future," TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash said.

"This strategic partnership with TVA to build highly efficient advanced reactors will help us pave the way for a clean, reliable energy future," UT Engineering Department Head Wes Hines added.

Clinch River's ESP, approved by the NRC last December, certifies that the site is suitable for the construction of two or more small modular reactors with a maximum rated thermal power for a single reactor core of 800 MWt and a combined generating capacity of up to 800 MWe. The permit certifies the site's suitability from the point of view of site safety, environmental impact and emergency planning, but does not specify the choice of technology. TVA said it would first need approval from the NRC for a specific design before making a decision to build.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News