TVA authorises nuclear programme to explore innovative technology

On February 10, the U.S. Tennessee Board of Directors ratified the approval of a programmatic approach to the study of advanced nuclear technology as a component of decarbonisation goals.

Advanced nuclear is one of several technologies being investigated by TVA. Others include next-generation energy storage, carbon capture, new hydroelectric pumped storage and hydrogen. In addition, TVA continues to expand its renewable energy portfolio, including a target increase to 10,000 MW of solar energy by 2035.

Jeff Lesch, President and CEO of TVA, said: “There is no single answer to our country’s clean energy goals – it will require cooperation and innovation. Working together with industry partners will allow TVA to go further, faster in developing innovative, cost-effective technologies that will not only help Tennessee Valley residents but also support the country’s energy security. ”

He added: “We cannot meet the energy needs of tomorrow by making small changes to today’s energy system. Today, we need to work on zero carbon emissions at the program level, and combined with the efforts we have already made over the last few years, this is what allows us to make TVA’s New Nuclear Program ”.

The new nuclear program will provide a disciplined, systematic roadmap for TVA’s research into advanced nuclear technology, both in terms of the various reactor designs proposed and the potential locations where such facilities may be needed in the region to meet future energy needs. The process will include specific decision-making points that will allow TVA to abandon plans or projects if they are no longer feasible or do not meet the interests of the region.

It will also coordinate TVA’s joint efforts with other utilities, government agencies, research institutions and organizations in the field of advanced nuclear technology. TVA said working with other stakeholders helps spread the financial and technical risks associated with developing new, innovative solutions.

One of the first tasks to be performed by the program is a project to develop a permit for the construction of the Commission for Nuclear Regulation and Potential Deployment of a Lightweight Small Modular Reactor (SMR) at Clinch River near Oak Ridge, where it is currently is the only early NRC. permission to host SMR in the country.

“While we will continue to support and study all the various SMR designs offered, we believe that the lightweight SMR designs, which are closely related to the current generation of large TVA nuclear units, are more mature and closer to commercial deployment within the next decade,” he said. Lash. “For this reason, we are currently in discussions with GE Hitachi to support their SMR design for the BWRX-300 light water, which will help decide on a possible deployment in the future.”

Although no final decisions have been made, the knowledge gained from joint efforts with GE Hitachi and others, combined with a draft environmental statement, will be published shortly and will examine various advanced nuclear technology, will help inform the future TVA Board’s decision on whether to continue construction in Clinch River or not.


Photo: Aerial view of the Clinch River (TVA)

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