US Regulators Give Approval to Start Up First New Nuclear Reactor in 20 Years

I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal’s EnergyJournal email list and today there was a news item reporting that the Tennessee Valley Authority received approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to start fueling a new reactor with uranium at its Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant near Spring City, Tennessee. This is apparently the first time in 20 years that a new nuclear reactor has been put into operation.

“NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said his agency “is satisfied TVA’s work on the reactor meets all the relevant requirements for safe operation.” The reactor should reach full power within a few months, said TVA Chief Executive Bill Johnson.”

See more here.

This has happened without much fanfare — today is the first I have heard of this. Nuclear power was once such a hot button issue that it would generate lots of protest and outrage over fears of hazardous radiation; however, lately it has become somewhat less controversial, I think partly because some environmentalists see it as our best option to generate carbon-free power.

Still, with the promise of LENR as a much safer and cheaper option for generating clean power in large quantities, I wonder if this will be the last time a new nuclear fission reactor will start up in the United States.

  • BTW, check also this:
    China Details Next-Gen Nuclear Reactor Program
    http://www.technologyreview.com/news/542526/china-details-next-gen-nuclear-reactor-program/

    • roseland67

      Mats,
      As I recall, this was reactor based on Thorium, correct?
      But it was discontinued, because the “waste” had no weapons grade plutonium?

  • Jarea

    I really don’t understand that. They should just speed up the adoption of LENR, the government should take that more seriously. Investing in a new fission reactor is just more work for tomorrow. In any case, i think LENR also promise to transmute all radiactive waste into more safe materials.
    What they should do is just invest in promising technologies as LENR.

  • Gerard McEk

    When Andrea Rossi finallizes his test in Feb/March next year positively, this reactor will never reach its criticality, it probably will not even be built

    • US_Citizen71

      It has been built, they were just given the go ahead to add the fuel rods, it will be sending out power by Christmas.

  • Eyedoc

    Soooo….. was there any discussion/report regarding the waste disposal plan ??? I suppose they could always let it just sit on the shores of a precious fresh water source, until contamination occurs. Like Michigan does. ( yeh, the Japanese have nothing on us !!)

  • Alan DeAngelis
  • we want LENR Fusione Fredda

    Why do I get the feeling that I want to bang my head against the wall? You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink…