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Tennessee Valley Authority proposes new nuclear program

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WHNT) — The Tennessee Valley Authority’s board of trustees has approved an initiative to help develop new nuclear technology for future greenhouse gas reductions.

The project, worth up to $200 million, will focus over the next two years on so-called small modular reactors. The first phase of the project will include plant design and a project plan, but there is no construction commitment.

TVA provides electricity to seven states using a variety of energy sources including dams, solar and nuclear power from three large nuclear power plants. They are moving away from coal-fired plants, but current TVA reactor licenses are expected to end between the mid-2030s and 2041.

Several utilities in the United States and around the world are considering advanced nuclear reactors to reduce carbon emissions. TVA is the only U.S. utility to hold a site permit from federal regulators for small modular reactors. They will explore this technology for its Clinch River site in Tennesee.

TVA said small modular reactors could be an option for pursuing nuclear power, using less fuel and helping reduce greenhouse gases. Officials added that they were considering a GE Hitachi boiling water reactor while considering other reactor designs.

“We have known that TVA has been interested in pursuing an SMR for some time. This latest announcement is just a distraction from the fact that TVA is lagging behind proven clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and renewables,” said Maggie Shober, director of research for the Southern Alliance. for Clean Energy. “A key point is that SMR technology has not been proven both technologically and financially, but TVA has limited itself to proven and cost-effective technologies like solar power.”

Officials told the board meeting that they also discussed other new technologies such as carbon capture, new hydroelectric pump storage and hydrogen.


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