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Weekend edition March 24, 2023 | Tom Ballard

TVA partnering with others on new small modular reactor

Other partners with the nation’s largest public power supplier are GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Ontario Power Generation, and Synthos Green Energy. TVA is preparing a construction permit application for a GE Hitachi BWRX-300 at the Clinch River Site near Oak Ridge.

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Ontario Power Generation (OPG), and Synthos Green Energy (SGE) are teaming up to advance the global deployment of the GEH BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR), and one of the SMRs is expected to be located in this region.

Through a technical collaboration agreement that was announced Thursday in Washington, DC, TVA, OPG, and SGE will invest in the development of the BWRX-300 standard design and detailed design for key components, including reactor pressure vessel and internals. GEH is committed to standard design development and anticipates a total investment of around $400 million associated with the development.

Each contributor has agreed to fund a portion of GEH’s overall cost and collectively will form a Design Center Working Group with the purpose of ensuring the standard design is deployable in multiple jurisdictions. The long-term goal is for the BWRX-300 design to be licensed and deployed in Canada, the U.S., Poland, and beyond.

TVA is preparing a construction permit application for a BWRX-300 at the Clinch River Site near Oak Ridge and exploring additional sites in the TVA service area for potential SMR deployments. Meanwhile, site preparation is now underway for a BWRX-300 at OPG’s Darlington New Nuclear Project site in Clarington, Ontario, with construction expected to be complete by the end of 2028. This will be the first grid-scale SMR in North America.

“Working together, we are taking intentional steps to advance new nuclear in the U.S. and around the world,” said Jeff Lyash, TVA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “TVA is leading the way for the nation by investing and helping to shape the standard design of the GEH BWRX-300, which will add more reliable, resilient, affordable, and clean energy to the grid. TVA has extensive experience and expertise in building and operating nuclear facilities, and we are uniquely positioned to help lead this effort moving forward. We appreciate the support of our federal and state officials who are helping us go further, faster in developing innovative, cost-effective technologies that will help support the energy security of the nation.”

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