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TVA, modular reactors
TVA Towers. Image: Brian Stansberry via Wikimedia Commons.

TVA considering small modular reactors near Oak Ridge

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Just a week after voting to scrap an unfinished 1970s-era nuclear power plant in Alabama, the Tennessee Valley Authority began taking steps toward possible future construction of small modular reactors.

TVA spokesman Jim Hopson says several designs for the new generation reactors are in the pipeline to be certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. TVA is asking the commission to approve a site plan that could accommodate any one of those designs at its Clinch River site near Oak Ridge.

Hopson says the small reactors produce around 80-200 megawatts of power. In comparison, the traditional reactor at TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 will produce around 1150 megawatts.

Unlike large reactors, the small reactors can be operated at different power levels and are designed to be used in combination.

Related: Engineer accused of illegally helping China build reactors.

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