The Tennessee Valley Authority has taken the first step toward gaining regulatory approval to build up to six new mini-nuclear reactors on the site of the abandoned Clinch River Breeder Reactor in Oak Ridge
The federal utility “is evaluating the feasibility” of erecting two of the new Babcock & Wilcox-designed “mPower reactors” by 2020. Each of the new reactors would produce 125 megawatts of electricity — about 10 percent as much as conventional reactors at TVA’s other plants — and could be built in controlled factory conditions to cut production costs and ensure construction quality.
* The mPower reactor will use 5% enriched uranium in fuel rod assemblies which are similar in design to those used in 1,000 MW plants.
* At a hypothetical price of $3,000/Kw, a single unit would cost $375 million
* One of the intended uses of the mPower reactor is to “repower carbon-intensive plants where the transmission and distribution infrastructure is already in place. (coal to nuclear ? )
* First units could be received by customers by 2018 and that the reactor can can be shipped by truck and rail to a customer site and installed below grade by skilled trades without complex training.
Reactor type: Integral PWR
Power: ~125MWe, ~400MWt
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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