The United States Will Build The Country's First Small Modular Nuclear Power Reactor

- Nov 24, 2017 -

Polaris Nuclear Power Network News: After 30 years of growing, more and more expensive nuclear power plant construction history, the United States began to think about the next generation to develop smaller reactors. It is reported that the first small modular reactors in the United States will be built in the Kerling River ruins in Oak Ridge. At present, the NRC in the United States has accepted the pre-approval application for site clearance (ESP) in 2017.


In 2013, the Tennessee Valley Authority of the United States signed an agreement with Babcock & Wilcox to explore the establishment of the country's first small-scale modular reactor at a scale of only 180,000 kilowatts. The Tennessee Basin Authority hopes to build this small, modular reactor in the Kerling River site in Oak Ridge and expects to eventually add three such reactors here.


Modular small heap project is actively promoted


In June 2013, Tennessee of the United States launched the world's first commercial modular nuclear power plant project.


In 2016, the U.S. power company, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), submitted a preliminary site approvals application to the NRC for building and operating small modular reactors in the Clinic Ridge near Oak Ridge, Tenn. Machine feasibility. The goal is to get early site approvals (ESPs) for the TVA Clinch River nuclear site in Tennessee and the potential for accommodating multiple SMR-type nuclear power units. This is the industry's first SMR-related application to the NRC and includes four light water-based SMRs developed by the United States: mPower Design by BWX United Technologies, SMR-160 by Holtec International, SMR at NuScale Energy, and Westinghouse Electric's SMR. One of the main goals of the Clinch River project is to demonstrate SMR's advanced safety and security design features by eliminating several potential emergency scenarios.


NRC accepted the review application in January 2017. Based on the application, the NRC reviewed the safety of building a new generation of nuclear power plants at about 1,200 acres and assessed whether the environment and emergency response capabilities met the requirements. As part of the review process, TVA recently provided the NRC with additional information on SMR's unique safety and performance attributes, making the contingency plan more scalable.


At present, a new generation of modular small heap (SMR) is rapidly moving forward. Although distance may eventually be set to build, there may be several years to go. However, TVA will continue to expand its reach to clean energy destinations while DOE completes licensing and site selection and continues to promote the development of SMR programs in the United States.


Cost advantages and safety performance outstanding


If SMR is completed, it will provide clean energy to nine million people in the Tennessee Valley and play a key role in TVA's sustainable energy, environmental and economic development. At the same time, the application is also likely to make TVA the industry leader in SMR technology.


In addition to cost advantages, backers also believe that the small "petite" size helps to secure nuclear power. For example, the U.S. nuclear safety regulation requires that the nuclear power station keep the core cooled within 4 to 8 hours after the power is cut off. In addition, according to the design of B & WmPower, the reactor will be buried underground with a concrete protection board on the top, thus effectively preventing the damage caused by aircraft impact and the like.


There are nuclear experts believe that the operation of modular small reactor than the large nuclear power plant trouble. Large nuclear power plants tend to be made up of several components, including reactors, steam generators, pumping stations and large and small valve assemblies, each of which requires a lot of manual work. The small pile of original small, but also constitute a very simple.


To prevent a nuclear leak in the event of a nuclear power plant, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) demanded that nuclear power plants be within 10 miles of a statutory evacuation zone. With a highly efficient and secure system, the modular evacuation radius is only half a mile. This means that small heaps can be closer to urban areas with higher electricity loads.


The future also faces many challenges


For example, Edwin Lehmann, a senior fellow in the global security program at the non-governmental organization Union of Concerned Scientists, said that in the case of the 2011 Chernobyl nuclear accident in Fukushima or 1986, Resources and food contamination are more than 100 miles around the site of the accident, so the safety of the reactor design can not be judged simply by the size of the evacuation zone. "Moreover, there is no mature model of the small heap." In addition, the cost of small heaps may indeed be lower than that of large-scale nuclear power plants, but this does not mean that the cost of generating electricity must be lower than the latter.


Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Moniz also admitted that there are many uncertainties in the project, but repeatedly stressed the importance of research and development for small heaps. He said at the hearing mentioned above that small heaps have higher safety performance and therefore deserve large-scale investment.


Dan Estatte, senior manager of the Modular Bobble Technology at the Tennessee Valley Authority, said that for now, both the project team's engineering staff and regional consumers are optimistic about the prospects for small heaps.


At present, a new generation of modular small heap (SMR) is rapidly moving forward. Although distance may eventually be set to build, there may be several years to go. However, TVA will continue to expand its reach to clean energy destinations while DOE completes licensing and site selection and continues to promote the development of SMR programs in the United States.


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