Nuclear Reactors 1195 - The Tennessee Valley Authority Is Collaborating With Three Other Companies To Build Small Modular Reactors At The Clinch River Site

     The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a federally owned electric utility corporation in the United States. TVA's service area covers all of Tennessee, portions of Alabama, Mississippi, and Kentucky, and small areas of Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. The utility is finalizing plans for the next generation of commercial nuclear power plants with the announcement this week that it will construct a cutting-edge reactor near Oak Ridge, Tennessee in partnership with three other companies which include the joint American-Japanese GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, Ontario Power Generation in Canada and Synthos Green Energy in Poland.
     The federal utility has signed an agreement with the companies to collaborate on the design for a new small modular reactor (SMR) that will be far smaller than the existing plants known for their massive cooling towers. The new reactor will be less expensive and easier to build.
     The TVA and its collaborators will spend about four hundred million dollars on the project. The board of the TVA has already authorized two hundred million dollars for the program. This will cover the TVA’s portion.
     The Clinch River site is located in Kingston, Tennessee near the Oak Ridge Turnpike. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee visited the site on March 3rd. Jeff Lyash is the CEO of the TVA. He accompanied the governor’s visit to the site. Lyash said that the location was perfect because it is near Oak Ridge’s longstanding nuclear sites. It is on a bend in the Clinch River where the cold water can be used for cooling the reactor.
     The TVA owns the land because it was part o a previous project in the 1970s. Using the site for SMRs means a return on the TVA’s investment decades later.
     SMRs are designed to be much safer than current large reactor operating around the U.S. However, it is a new technology so there is no safety record yet. The design for SMRs and the construction process will be regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The NRC oversees the civilian use of radioactive materials.
     The emergency planning zone surrounding the TVA’s current nuclear reactors is ten miles in every direction. These zones are established by the NRC to reduce or prevent radiation exposure in an emergency for those who live near operating nuclear power plants. The SMR emergency zone will not extend beyond the boundary of the plant property.
    Joe Shea is the TVA’s senior technical advisor for the project. He said that the Clinch River site could host at least four SMRs. Lyash mentioned that if the TVA is successful in building a single unit it would be then build three more. The federal utility could also install small reactors at other sites.
     One SMR is about the size of a football field according to Shea. The SMR will include a reactor building, a turbine building and a control room. This information comes from a TVA rendering of the design.
      Shea added that it will be the early 2030s at best before the SMR is generating electricity.

Geiger Readings for Mar 24, 2023

Latitude 47.704656 Longitude -122.318745

Ambient office = 73 nanosieverts per hour

Ambient outside = 102 nanosieverts per hour

Soil exposed to rain water = 102 nanosieverts per hour

English cucumber from Central Market = 76 nanosieverts per hour

Tap water = 93 nanosieverts per hour

Filter water = 74 nanosieverts per hour

Nuclear Fusion 115 - Kyoto Fusioneering Is Collaborating With Other Fusion Researchers To Develop Materials For Fusion Reactors

     Japan’s Kyoto Fusioneering (KF) and the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) have just signed a collaboration agreement to develop fusion related technologies. The first project of the collaboration will be to develop a ‘fusion-grade’ silicon carbide composition system.
     The partners said, “The collaboration reaffirms the strategic partnership between the United Kingdom and Japan and is based on a mutual commitment to deliver sustainable, commercial fusion energy for generations to come.”
     KF and UKAEA stated that as a first step, they will develop a silicon carbide composition system (SiC/SiC) that will be suitable for use as a structural material inside a fusion reactor. They will test its stability under simulated fusion conditions.
     The use of SiC/SiC composites within the breeder blanket of a fusion reactor will increase the efficiency and commercial viability commercial nuclear fusion power plants. The new material will be able to operate at high temperatures and is resistant to neutron damage.
     The Self-Cooled Yuryo Lithium Lead Advanced (SCYLLA) blanket developed by KF is compatible with the lithium-lead based coolant and fuel breeding fluids in some fusion reactors.
     Testing of irradiated composites can only be carried out in a suitable active testing facility. KF is expecting to reach out to UKAEA’s Materials Research Facility for support.
      New post-irradiation examination methods are being developed by UKAEA to allow them to understand the changes in microstructural properties of the SiC/SiC samples caused by radiation damage. Some novel methods need to be used to extract useful material properties.
      Under the new collaboration, KF will accelerate the development of critical components catered to the needs of other fusion research institutions around the world.]
     KF has already signed several contracts awarded by UKAEA to provide its expertise and services. One of the most notable KF contracts involves being appointed in August 2022 as a member of the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) Interim Engineering Deliver Partner consortium. KF was also selected as a Tier 1 supplier in 2021 in the UKAEA Tritium Engineering Framework for the STEP fuel cycle.
     Taka Nagao is the CEO of Kyoto Fusioneering. He said, “The several contracts we have with UKAEA have demonstrated the win-win relationship that can create new value for the society and fusion research and fusion industry. Kyoto Fusioneering will continue to build on our successful technology collaboration to help achieve industrialization of fusion energy. The development of a 'fusion-grade' silicon carbide composite system is not only a huge advancement to the realization of commercial fusion, but also yet another advantage of the blanket system, which is so important in our collective battle against climate change.”
     Ian Chapman is the CEO of UKAEA. He said, “This collaboration agreement builds on our existing relationship. Putting fusion electricity on the grid requires finding and integrating solutions to several major challenges and we will be working with Kyoto Fusioneering on finding solutions to some of those challenges.”
     UKAEA has signed several agreements over the past few months to collaborate on the development of fusion technologies with other researchers. These contracts include a strategic research partnership with the US Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory aimed at achieving a better understanding of the performance and behavior of materials required for use in future commercial nuclear fusion power plants. UKAEA has also signed a five-year framework agreement with Tokamak Energy for closer collaboration “on developing spherical tokamaks as a route to commercial fusion energy”. It also signed an agreement with the University of Sheffield and the University of Birmingham to collaborate on fusion R&D.