The mPower is an integral PWR designed to be factory-made and railed to site. The reactor pressure vessel containing core and steam generator is thus only a few metres in diameter. It will have a “conventional core and standard fuel” enriched to 5%, presumably with burnable poisons, to give a five-year operating cycle between refuelling. This is intended to provide a low-cost approach to plant operations. B&W notes that nuclear security and near-term management of used fuel would be improved through the underground containment design that will store fuel for the planned 60-year life of the plant. The mPower reactors are targeting 3 year construction times.
A memorandum of understanding was signed last year by B&W, Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and a consortium of regional municipal and cooperative utilities to explore the construction of a fleet of mPower reactors to meet the consortium’s need to diversify its power generation assets. Depending on regulatory approval and other factors, the first plant could be deployed as early as 2020