The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) plans to deploy a North American-manufactured, scalable nuclear reactor. The B&W mPower reactor design is a passively safe Advanced Light Water Reactor (ALWR) with a below-ground containment structure. This optimized ALWR represents a Generation III++ nuclear technology that B&W believes can be certified, manufactured and operated within today’s existing US regulatory, industrial supply chain and utility operational infrastructure.
|B&W mPower integral modular reactor design (left) and single module inside its own underground containment (right). Click to enlarge.|
The scalable nature of nuclear plants built around the B&W mPower reactor would provide customers with practical power increments of 125 MWe to meet local energy needs within power grid and plant site constraints.
B&W expects the use of proven ALWR design features, together with a passive safety philosophy, to minimize plant licensing challenges, enhance safety performance and contribute to reliable plant operation.
The Nuclear Steam Supply System (NSSS) would be manufactured in existing B&W facilities in North America and then rail-shipped to construction sites. A planned five-year operating cycle without refueling is intended to provide a low-cost approach to plant operations. Used fuel is stored in the spent fuel pool for life of the reactor (60 years).
Nuclear security and near-term management of used fuel would be improved through the underground containment design that accommodates storage of fuel for the planned 60-year life of the reactor.
B&W has more than 50 years of continuous reactor engineering and manufacturing.
When we started looking at the best way to match up B&W's nuclear manufacturing, engineering and licensing expertise with the emerging needs of the commercial nuclear renaissance, it was clear that we could lead the scalable, modular reactor field.—Brandon Bethards, CEO of B&W
B&W has formed a new business unit, B&W Modular Nuclear Energy, LLC, to lead the development, licensing and delivery of B&W mPower reactor projects.
B&W has notified the NRC of its intent to submit an application for design certification of the reactor in 2011. The company has also assembled a global team of potential future customers to support the development of the reactor to make sure it meets customer and regulatory requirements in North America, Europe and elsewhere.
A Letter of Intent has been received from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to begin the process of evaluating a potential lead plant site for the B&W mPower reactor. A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed by B&W, TVA and a consortium of regional municipal and cooperative utilities to explore the construction of a fleet of B&W mPower reactors to meet the consortium’s need to diversify its power generation assets.