Tag Archives: clinch

World’s First Commercial Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Coming to TN

Near the banks of the Clinch River in eastern Tennessee, a team of engineers this month will take the initial steps in plans for the world’s first commercial small modular nuclear reactors, reports National Geographic.
Once before, there was an effort to hatch a nuclear power breakthrough along the Clinch River, which happens to meander through the U.S. government’s largest science and technology campus, Oak Ridge, on its path from the Appalachian Mountains to the Tennessee River.
In the 1970s, the U.S. government and private industry partners sought to build the nation’s first commercial-scale “fast breeder” reactor here, an effort abandoned amid concerns about costs and safety.
Today, nuclear energy’s future still hinges on the same two issues, and advocates argue that SMRs provide the best hope of delivering new nuclear plants that are both affordable and protective of people and the environment. And even amid Washington, D.C.’s budget angst, there was bipartisan support for a new five-year $452 million U.S. government program to spur the technology.
The first project to gain backing in the program is here on the Clinch River at the abandoned fast breeder reactor site, where the Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public utility in the United States, has partnered with engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox to build two prototype SMRs by 2022.
SMRs are “a very promising direction that we need to pursue,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz at his confirmation hearing in April. “I would say it’s where the most innovation is going on in nuclear energy.”

(Hat tip: Steve Tapp, whose nifty blog is HERE)

Court Hands Setback to Attempt at Ousting Utility Commissioners

A unanimous ruling by the state Court of Appeals has provided a serious setback to efforts to remove three Powell-Clinch Utility commissioners from office, reports the News Sentinel.
Judges opined that the commissioners can’t be removed from office for allegedly running a loose fiscal ship before a state law was amended in 2009 making that an ouster offense. That amendment made failure to fulfill fiduciary duties — even without “knowing or willful conduct” — a valid reason to toss commissioners out of office.
The Court of Appeals called the effort to oust on the basis of that amendment “an impermissible retrospective application of law.” The case was sent back to a Davidson County chancellor for further proceedings.
The ouster effort by the state’s Utility Management Review Board began two years ago and was sparked by a state comptroller’s investigative audit.