The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with the public in Kingston today (Tuesday, June 5) to discuss a draft conclusion that environmental impacts would be small enough to allow an early site permit to be issued for the Clinch River site in west Oak Ridge, where a small modular nuclear reactor could be built.
While in Kingston, the NRC staff will discuss the agency’s draft environmental impact statement on the early site permit application for the 1,200-acre Clinch River site, which is south of East Tennessee Technology Park (the former K-25 site) and east of State Route 58.
“The NRC is interested in the public’s views on the agency’s overall draft conclusion that environmental impacts would be small enough to allow the agency to issue the permit,” a press release said.
The NRC will be at Noah’s Event Venue, which is at 1200 Ladd Landing Boulevard in Kingston, from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. (as needed) on Tuesday, June 5. NRC staff will describe the environmental review process and the conclusions of the draft environmental impact statement. Each meeting will conclude with a formal public comment period, the press release said. NRC open houses, which are scheduled from 1-2 p.m. and 6-7 p.m., will provide the public the opportunity to talk informally with agency staff.
A Federal Register notice includes information on commenting and participating in the meeting.
The Tennessee Valley Authority submitted the Clinch River application in May 2016 and provided follow-up information throughout the year, the press release said.
“The early site permit process determines whether a site is suitable for future construction and operation of a nuclear power plant,” the press release said.
The NRC held meetings in Oak Ridge in May 2017 to gather comments from the community regarding issues to include in the environmental review.
The NRC was also in Oak Ridge in April 2016 to discuss the safety and environmental review process related to the TVA permit application. The NRC accepted the application for “docketing and detailed technical review” in December 2016. The early site permit application is for two or more small modular reactors, or SMRs.
The application, minus proprietary and security-related details, is available on the NRC website, the press release said. In addition, the Oak Ridge Public Library at 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike and the Kingston Public Library at 1004 Bradford Way will maintain a copy of the application’s environmental report for public inspection.
The press release said TVA is seeking resolution of safety and environmental issues related to a potential small modular reactor at the site, approximately five miles southwest of Oak Ridge. The NRC has established docket number 52-047 for this application. More information about the new reactor licensing process is available on the NRC website.
Oak Ridge Today has previously reported that the small nuclear reactors could provide enough electricity to power several cities the size of Oak Ridge. They could also be, depending upon the timing, the first commercial reactors of their type in the United States.
The small modular nuclear reactors could provide an emissions-free fuel source, but it could be a decade or so before they start operating, Oak Ridge Today reported in 2016. And that’s assuming all goes according to plan.
An early site permit application allows the NRC to evaluate site safety, the environment, and emergency preparedness for future SMRs at the Clinch River Site. That site is in west Oak Ridge just north of the Clinch River and Interstate 40, south of Heritage Center (the former K-25 site), and between Highway 95 and Highway 58 in a bend of the Clinch River.
See previous stories on modular reactors here, including stories on the proposed project at the Clinch River site.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
Do you appreciate this story or our work in general? If so, please consider a monthly subscription to Oak Ridge Today. See our Subscribe page here. Thank you for reading Oak Ridge Today.
Copyright 2018 Oak Ridge Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.