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.