KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority said they have signed an agreement with Babcock & Wilcox to explore building the nation's first small modular nuclear reactor.
TVA hopes to build the unit at its Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge and to eventually add three more such reactors there.
The reactors would produce about 20 percent of the electricity generated by standard light-water reactors now in use. Advantages would be more of the manufacturing being done in factories, reducing construction time, and more standardization of reactors.
The agreement signed February 7 formalizes the process under which a license application will eventually be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
TVA provides electricity for business customers and local power distributors serving 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)