New Modular Nuclear Reactors to Be Built in US

Babcock & Wilcox and the Tennessee Valley Authority will be awarded the first contract for modular reactors.

By Shepard Ambellas
dev-test.intellihub.com
November 22, 2012

The Department of Energy is now backing a new $452 million plan to start installing smaller modular nuclear reactors throughout the US as a safer alternative to massive nuclear plants.

According to a report, Paul Genoa of the Senior Director of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) stated, “You don’t have to build a 1,000- or 1,500-megawatt power plant and hope that demand catches up,” …. “You can build chunks of power to more closely meet your demand curve.”

As of now this concept remains untested in the field, raising some concern for some.

The new modular design is anticipated to power about 200,000 homes as it is about one-third the size of standard nuclear reactors and will be situated underground adding a tier of safety not seen in previous reactor designs.

The official Babcock website reads;

The Babcock & Wilcox Company plans to deploy the B&W mPower™ reactor – a scalable, modular, passively safe, advanced light water reactor system.

The reactor features a four-year operating cycle without the need for refueling, and is designed to produce clean, zero-emission operations. Generating capacity can be added in 180 MWe increments to match our customers’ load growth projections.

B&W subsidiary Babcock & Wilcox mPower, Inc. will lead the development, licensing and delivery of B&W mPower reactor projects.

Features of the B&W mPower reactor include:

  • Integral nuclear system design
  • Passive safety systems
  • Underground containment
  • Four-year operating cycle between refueling
  • Scalable, modular design is flexible for local needs
  • Multi-unit (1 to 10+) plant
  • Less than five percent enriched uranium
  • North American shop-manufactured

The modular and scalable design of the B&W mPower reactor will meet the generation needs of our customers with the proven performance of existing light water reactor technology. Several reactor modules can be installed to support the customer requirements and infrastructure constraints.

The B&W mPower reactor will reduce risks associated with deploying nuclear power and become a flexible, cost-effective solution to the U.S. energy needs while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Each B&W mPower reactor brought online will contribute to the reduction of approximately 57 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, compared to those created by other forms of energy generation, over the life of the reactor.

The B&W organization offers production capabilities to supply all Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) components, reducing manufacturing costs and streamlining construction.

Conceptual drawing of an underground containment structure housing two B&W mPower reactor modules.

Conceptual drawing of an underground containment structure housing two B&W mPower reactor modules.

Conceptual drawing of a Generation mPower nuclear plant with a generating capacity of 360 MWe.

Conceptual drawing of a Generation mPower nuclear plant with a generating capacity of 360 MWe.

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Shepard Ambellas is the founder & director of dev-test.intellihub.com (a popular alternative news website), researcher, investigative journalist, radio talk show host, and filmmaker.

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