TVA signs letter of intent for mini reactors

June 17, 2011 - 4:41 PM

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Valley Authority has signed a letter of intent to become the first utility to have a small modular nuclear reactor built.

Spokesmen for the nation's largest public utility and Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy subsidiary Generation mPower in Charlotte, N.C., said Friday the letter signed in late May outlines plans for designing, licensing and building up to six of the mini reactors at TVA's vacant Clinch River site west of Knoxville in Roane County.

TVA spokesman Terry Johnson said TVA is pursuing possible development of a single small reactor to start operating by 2020. He said they would be built in pairs. The cost is not known. Johnson said the small reactors could supply enough power to support about 70,000 homes, about one-tenth of a large reactor.