The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced Tuesday that it will issue an early site permit to the Tennessee Valley Authority for the Clinch River site in west Oak Ridge, where small modular nuclear reactors could eventually be built.
The early site permit closes several site-related issues, including many related to environmental impacts, for small modular reactors at the site, the NRC said in a press release Tuesday.
The Commission authorized the agency’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation to issue the permit following a hearing on August 14. The Commission found the staff’s review of TVA’s application to be adequate to make the necessary regulatory safety and environmental findings, the press release said.
The early site permit, which will be valid for up to 20 years, is expected to be issued in the next few days.
The permit does not authorize any construction activities regulated by the NRC. No reactor designs have been approved, and the TVA board has not yet approved the building of nuclear reactors in Oak Ridge. TVA would need to apply separately for an NRC license to build and operate a reactor at the Clinch River Nuclear Site.
The permit includes additional provisions, including approved analysis methods, that deal with the NRC’s emergency preparedness regulations. This could allow a future license applicant at the Clinch River site to request an emergency preparedness zone smaller than those found at current U.S. nuclear power plants, the press release said.
The NRC staff’s technical review of TVA’s application also covered issues such as how the site’s characteristics could affect plant safety and environmental protection considerations, the press release said.
The staff published a final environmental impact statement for the permit on April 3 and a final safety evaluation on June 24.
More information on the Clinch River early site permit review is available on the NRC website.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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