Source: Letter from Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank & Roane County Executive Ron Woody | May 11, 2017
TVA’s Clinch River Small Modular Reactor Project (SMR) continues to make measured progress. As County Mayors of Anderson and Roane Counties, the two counties contiguous to the Clinch River site, we are pleased to see this progress and fully support the project. SMRs have the potential to provide the United States clean, safe, cost-effective energy. If the project is constructed at the Clinch River site it will also create jobs and have a positive economic impact on our region.
TVA owns property adjacent to the Department of Energy (DOE) Reservation which was previously approved for the construction of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor. While this energy project was cancelled in the early 1980’s, the site remains an ideal location for a project like the SMR. It has power distribution lines located on adjacent property, has the DOE reservation as a buffer and is located on a river. Also the Oak Ridge DOE facilities are large consumers of TVA power and these facilities desire to move toward cleaner energy.
Another positive factor for the proposed SMR site is the fact that it is in a region which has citizens who have supported and worked in the nuclear industry for many decades. Our region has the employee workforce and skill set to successfully support this project. Combining these factors with TVA’s strong track record for nuclear operations gives us great assurance for supporting the SMR.
Last year TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 2 came online. This unit has capacity to generate more than 1,100 megawatts which can provide power for 650,000 Tennessee Valley homes. It is the first new nuclear power reactor to achieve commercial operation in the United States in two decades. In fact, the last new nuclear reactor in the nation to go into operation was Watts Bar Unit 1 in 1996. This success puts TVA at the forefront of the global nuclear renaissance.
Currently TVA has submitted an Early Site Permit (ESP) application for the SMR with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). With an ESP, TVA will update the safety, environmental and emergency preparedness plans of the Clinch River site. This evaluation process reduces future operational licensing risk by achieving finality on many siting and environmental matters. It also addresses some regulatory policy issues that are important to SMRs such as the appropriate size of emergency planning zones.
On May 15 NRC will have a public scoping meeting for the ESP for the Clinch River site. We are in support of the ESP application as a logical and positive step in making the SMR a reality. Also as active members of the Association of Tennessee Valley Governments (ATVG), we are committed to working with TVA and any of its partners to assist in bringing SMRs to the Tennessee Valley.