TVA and University of Tennessee to evaluate SMRs

14 April 2020

The University of Tennessee (UT) and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) have signed a memorandum of understanding to evaluate the development of advanced nuclear reactors at TVA’s Clinch River nuclear site.

TVA has not yet made a decision to build a small modular reactor (SMR) at the 935-acre Clinch River site and would first need approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a specific design.

“UT offers unique capabilities supporting TVA’s mission for innovation in nuclear power,” said TVA president and CEO Jeff Lyash. “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.”

The partnership allows collaboration and evaluation of the economic feasibility of potentially operating light-water or non-light water reactors at Clinch River by leveraging the expertise of UT’s nuclear engineering department.

In February, TVA signed a similar agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory to "evaluate a new generation of flexible, cost-effective advanced nuclear reactors.

TVA is the only US utility with an approved early site permit from NRC to potentially build SMRs.

TVA said its agreements with UT and the Oak Ridge National Lab, as well as the early site permit from the NRC, are important early steps in consideration of the new nuclear technology.


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