Federal officials have agreed to spend another $20.5 million on a project that could result in a small modular nuclear reactor in west Oak Ridge within a decade.
The Babcock & Wilcox Co. announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Energy has allocated the additional funding to an agreement with Babcock & Wilcox mPower Inc. (B&W mPower) under what is known as the Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support Program.
The small modular reactor, which can generate 180 megawatts of electricity, could be built at the former Clinch River Breeder Reactor site in west Oak Ridge by 2022.
“With this most recent $20.5 million allocation, the full commitment of the department to the initial budget period has now been made available to B&W mPower under the program,” a press release said.
The first $79 million installment was allocated by DOE when the formal agreement with B&W mPower was signed in April 2013, the release said.
“The DOE has also provided approximately $2 million to national laboratories to perform important analyses and evaluation work related to this project, bringing the total DOE investment to $101 million during this initial project period,” the release said. “It is the intent of the DOE to provide additional funding to the project subject to incremental appropriations from Congress and B&W mPower’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.”
“This additional funding allocation from the DOE further demonstrates the U.S. government’s commitment to supporting private industry in the development and deployment of small modular reactor technology,” said Christofer M. Mowry, president of B&W mPower Inc. “We remain on an aggressive schedule toward the anticipated commercial operation of the Clinch River mPower Plant near Oak Ridge, Tenn., by 2022 and appreciate the DOE’s support as we move closer to delivering this vital technology to the global energy market.”
The signing of the Cooperative Agreement formalized B&W’s cost-share agreement with the DOE, following the selection of the mPower America team—comprised of B&W, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Generation mPower—as the winner of DOE’s competitively bid funding opportunity. B&W mPower and Bechtel (who together formed Generation mPower LLC) will provide licensing and engineering support for the mPower America Project.
The B&W mPower reactor is an advanced integral pressurized water reactor designed to generate 180 megawatts of electricity. The reactor incorporates technology innovations that advance the state-of-the-art in nuclear plant safety, security, and economics, the release said.