NRC will issue early site permit for TVA Clinch River site

TVA Clinch River Site
The Clinch River Site in west Oak Ridge is pictured above. The road running from bottom to top on the right (east) side of the Clinch River connects to Bear Creek Road in southwest Oak Ridge. Highway 58 is off to the top left of the photo and the Heritage Center is to the north. (Photo courtesy TVA)

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.

[Read more…]

For members: Companies have agreement to make nuclear fuel

X-energy-TRISO-Carbonization-and-Heat-Treatment-Furnace
The carbonization and heat treatment furnace used to produce TRISO fuel, a uranium fuel, at a pilot production facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Photo courtesy X-energy)

Note: This story was updated at 12:15 p.m.

A company that has a trial fuel fabrication facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with a joint venture led by GE with Hitachi to produce nuclear fuel for the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.

 

The carbonization and heat treatment furnace used to produce TRISO fuel, a high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel, at a pilot production facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (Photo courtesy X-energy)

 

A company that has a trial fuel fabrication facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is collaborating with a joint venture led by GE with Hitachi to produce nuclear fuel for the U.S. Department of Defense and NASA.

The company, X-energy of Rockville, Maryland, announced the collaboration with Global Nuclear Fuel on November 6.

The two companies have an agreement to develop high-assay, low-enriched uranium TRISO fuel. The fuel could be used in defense micro-reactors and by NASA for nuclear thermal propulsion, a press release said.

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Cirrus Aircraft, Coquí Radio Pharmaceuticals could use Oak Ridge Airport

This is an aerial image of the current layout plan for the proposed Oak Ridge Airport at the Heritage Center (the former K-25 site) in west Oak Ridge. (Image courtesy Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority)

Cirrus Aircraft and Coquí Radio Pharmaceuticals could both use the proposed Oak Ridge Airport, a project consultant said Tuesday.

Oak Ridge Today has previously reported that Coquí Radio Pharmaceuticals Corporation could use the airport, which would have a 5,000-foot runway and be located at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site. Coquí has announced plans to build a $500 million medical isotope production facility at Heritage Center.

The company makes medical isotopes with a half-life of 62 hours, airport project consultant Billy Stair said at an Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce breakfast on Tuesday. Using the Oak Ridge Airport, rather than spending 42 minutes driving to McGhee Tyson Airport in Blount County, would save Coquí about $2.3 million per year, Stair said. It would also avoid the loss of about 1,000 doses per day of isotopes used for medical treatments, Stair said.

The Federal Aviation Administration conditionally approved the Oak Ridge Airport in March. That was a very significant step after four years of work, Stair said. The master plan has been approved; the precise location of the runway has been set; and a model of likely traffic has been developed.

As part of the conditional approval, the FAA wants an environmental assessment and a benefit-cost analysis.

[Read more…]

NRC could finish design review of small reactor by 2020

Cross-sectional view of the NuScale Power small modular reactor building. (Image courtesy NuScale Power)

NuScale Power of Portland, Oregon, said Monday that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed the second and third phases of its review of NuScale’s design for a small modular nuclear reactor, and the NRC is on track to complete the design review by September 2020.

This could be important to Oak Ridge because small modular reactors are possible at the Clinch River Nuclear Site in west Oak Ridge, although there are additional approvals that would be required.

The completion of the second and third phases of the NuScale design review is six weeks ahead of schedule, the company said in a press release on Monday.

“Completing phases 2 and 3 of the NRC’s design review certification process is a critical milestone for our company and the advanced nuclear industry,” said NuScale Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Hopkins.

[Read more…]

NRC has public hearing on Clinch River Nuclear Site in August

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Clinch-River-Nuclear-Site-Map-EIS-April-2019.jpg
This image shows the location of the Clinch River Nuclear Site in west Oak Ridge. (Image by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission from the April 2019 “Reader’s Guide” for the “Final Environmental Impact Statement for an Early Site Permit at the Clinch River Nuclear Site.”)


The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have a mandatory hearing on August 14 regarding an application for an early site permit for one or more small modular nuclear reactors at the Clinch River Nuclear Site in west Oak Ridge. It’s the final step in the agency’s review of the application.

The Commission hearing will include testimony and exhibits from the Tennessee Valley Authority, which applied for the early site permit, as well as from the NRC staff. The testimony and exhibits will be about the question of whether the NRC staff’s review adequately supports the findings that are necessary to issue a permit, a press release said.

The August 14 hearing will begin at 9 a.m. in the Commission Hearing Room at NRC Headquarters at 11555 Rockville Pike in Rockville, Maryland. The hearing will be open to public observation and webcast. A detailed agenda and presentation slides will be available in advance on the Commission’s meeting page.

[Read more…]

NRC has hearing on Oak Ridge site that could host small nuclear reactors

Image by the NRC from the April 2019 “Reader’s Guide” for the “Final Environmental Impact Statement for an Early Site Permit at the Clinch River Nuclear Site.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled a hearing for an application for a site in west Oak Ridge where small modular nuclear reactors could be built.

The hearing has been scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, August 14, at the NRC in Rockville, Maryland.

The NRC will discuss an early site permit application submitted by the Tennessee Valley Authority for the Clinch River Nuclear Site. TVA has proposed using the 935-acre site, which is along the Clinch River south of Heritage Center (the former K-25 site), to build two or more small modular reactors. The site once hosted the former Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project.

During the August 14 hearing, the NRC will have an evidentiary session to hear testimony and receive exhibits in the uncontested proceeding for TVA’s early site permit application, according to a notice published in the Federal Register on Monday.

[Read more…]

Small reactors can be safely located on Clinch River site, NRC says

Two or more small modular nuclear reactors could be built on a 935-acre area of the Clinch River Nuclear Site in west Oak Ridge, south of Heritage Center near Highway 58. (Image from the “Final Safety Evaluation Report for the Early Site Permit Application for the Clinch River Nuclear Site” published by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in June 2019.)

Two or more small nuclear reactors could be safely located on a site in west Oak Ridge, a federal agency said this month.

The reactors could be built on the Clinch River Nuclear Site. That’s a 935-acre site south of Heritage Center (the former K-25 site) in the Roane County portion of Oak Ridge. The plant would be off Bear Creek Road near Highway 58 on a peninsula surrounded by the Clinch River on the east, south, and west.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has completed a final safety evaluation report for an early site permit application for the site.

“The report concludes there are no safety aspects that would preclude issuing the permit for the site,” the NRC said in a press release Tuesday. The report, which is about 600 pages, had been expected this month.

The Tennessee Valley Authority applied for the early site permit in May 2016. The NRC’s final safety evaluation report for the site was published Friday, June 14.

[Read more…]

NRC still reviewing early site permit for Clinch River Nuclear Site

Clinch-River-Site-Bear-Creek-Road-Entrance-March-27-2016
The small nuclear reactors that could be built along the Clinch River could provide enough electricity to power several cities the size of Oak Ridge. The Bear Creek Road entrance to the Clinch River Site, where the reactors could be built by the Tennessee Valley Authority, is pictured above on Sunday, March 27, 2016. (Photo by John Huotari/Oak Ridge Today)

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still reviewing a permit application for a site in west Oak Ridge where two or more small modular nuclear reactors could be built.

The application for the early site permit for the Clinch River Nuclear Site was submitted by the Tennessee Valley Authority on May 12, 2016. The application was supplemented by a revision on January 18, 2019, the NRC said in a notice published in the Federal Register on Friday.

The 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear Site is located in the Roane County portion of Oak Ridge along the Clinch River.

[Read more…]