Tag Archives: small

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)

Bredesen: Higher Taxes Befall ‘Poor Schmucks’ Without Lobbyists

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen says small businesses suffer an unfairly high tax rate because they don’t have powerful lobbyists to fight for loopholes.
Bredesen said in a panel discussion about federal debt issues Tuesday at Lipscomb University in Nashville that while the United States has the highest corporate tax rates in the word, the country also has some of the lowest collections as a percentage of gross domestic product.
Bredesen said that’s because big corporations are able to influence tax policy in their favor, while small businesses can’t.
In Bredesen’s words: “It’s all the rest of the poor schmucks who don’t employ a lobbyist to get their special deal that are paying these very high marginal rates.”
Bredesen left office in 2011 after two terms as governor.

Small Donors Don’t Matter Much Anymore?

Small-dollar donations make up a relatively minuscule part of the money that fuels congressional incumbents, including those in the Tennessee delegation, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics reported by The Tennessean.
Take, for example, Sen. Bob Corker, who is seeking the Republican nomination for a second term in Thursday’s primary. Corker has raised $14.1 million when contributions to both his campaign and his personal political action committee are considered.
Of that, about 2 percent, or $271,090, is from donors who gave $200 or less, the center’s breakdown of Federal Election Commission reports shows.
Small-dollar percentages for other incumbents include:
• Rep. Diane Black, R-Gallatin: $42,144 — 2 percent of $1.77 million.
• Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood: $53,317 — 4 percent of $1.43 million.
• Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Jasper: $22,192 — 3 percent of $934,349.
• Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Frog Jump: $43,921 — 2 percent of $2.02 million.
• Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville: $70,287 — 8 percent of $924,523. Cooper’s figure is for his campaign committee only. He does not have his own PAC.

Fincher Passes a Bill in Congress

Rep. Stephen Fincher’s bill aimed at making it easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to go public passed the House on Thursday, marking the first major legislative victory for the first-term Republican from Frog Jump, according to Gannet Tennessee.
Fincher’s bill formed a key piece of a larger jobs package designed to spur the growth of start-ups and help small businesses raise capital. The group of bills passed the House 390-23 in a rare moment of bipartisan agreement. All of Tennessee’s House members voted for it except Republican Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. of Knoxville, who did not vote
. “This was a good day, hopefully, for the workers in America, the job creators who can do some positive things for people who are hurting and unemployed,” Fincher said after the vote.
His measure would reduce regulatory costs for an initial public offering by creating an IPO “on-ramp” for companies with less than $1 billion in annual revenue, phasing in certain requirements over five years. Those requirements now take effect as soon as – or in some cases before – a company goes public.

‘TNTrade’ Uses Fed Grant to Boost Tennessee Exports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The state has announced an initiative to boost Tennessee exports.
TNTrade, announced Wednesday, is designed to help small and medium businesses increase their exports.
Under the program, eligible businesses will receive a reimbursement equal to half of any one-time export-related expense such as consultant fees or trade show participation. The maximum reimbursement amount is $5,000 per company.
Additionally, the state will fund the majority of the costs of a trade mission to China and South Korea for medical device manufacturers and other health care companies next April.
The initiative is funded by a $375,000 grant from the Small Business Administration.