TVA's SMR Project Clears NRC Hurdle

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission declared Monday there were no environmental impact issues that would prevent the agency from issuing permits for the small modular reactor project at the Clinch River Site in West Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Clinch River SiteThe Tennessee Valley Authority submitted an application for an early site permit on May 12, 2016, seeking to place “two or more small modular reactor modules (up to 800 MWe, 2420 MWt),” according to the NRC website.

The NRC accepted the application for docketing and a detailed technical review on Dec. 30, 2016. TVA used the Plant Parameter Envelope Approach, which designates that a specific reactor design had yet to be selected for the project.

“Although a reactor is not specified, TVA has identified bounding parameters for a surrogate nuclear plant, which NRC will use to evaluate the suitability of the site for the building and operation of a new nuclear plant falling within those parameters,” the website explains.

The agency held meetings in Oak Ridge, Tenn., in May 2017 to gather comments from the surrounding community regarding issues to include in the environmental review. The NRC held additional meetings in Kingston, Tenn., in June 2018 to discuss the draft environmental impact statement. The NRC Commissioners must hold a mandatory hearing, expected later this year, before the agency can reach a final decision on issuing the permit, the latest release says.

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