The small modular nuclear reactors being evaluated for the Clinch River Site in west Oak Ridge could provide an emissions-free fuel source, but it could be a decade or so before they start operating. And that’s assuming all goes according to plan, officials said Tuesday.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is evaluating the possibility of building the small modular reactors, or SMRs, at the 1,200-acre Clinch River Site. To help prepare for the project, TVA plans to apply for what is known as an early site permit, or ESP, for the Oak Ridge project from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission by May 12.
The NRC had two public meetings at Oak Ridge Associated Universities on Tuesday to discuss the safety and environmental review process related to the TVA permit application.
The early site permit application will allow 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.
The review of TVA’s application for an early site permit could take about three years, and maybe longer if any groups raise legal challenges, said Scott Burnell, NRC public affairs officer. [Read more…]