APR: your source for nuclear news and analysis since April 16, 2010

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DOE awards SMR funds to B&W / TVA / Bechtel

Below is the text of a DOE press release from around 45 minutes ago as I post it:

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Energy Department Announces New Investment in U.S. Small Modular Reactor Design and Commercialization


WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to deploy every available source of American energy, the Energy Department today announced an award to support a new project to design, license and help commercialize small modular reactors (SMR) in the United States. This award follows a funding opportunity announcement in March 2012. The project supported by the award will be led by Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel. In addition, the Department announced plans to issue a follow-on solicitation open to other companies and manufacturers, focused on furthering small modular reactor efficiency, operations and design.

“The Obama Administration continues to believe that low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America’s energy future,” said Secretary Chu. “Restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing small modular reactor technologies will help create new jobs and export opportunities for American workers and businesses, and ensure we continue to take an all-of-the-above approach to American energy production.”

This project represents a significant investment in first-of-a-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for small modular reactors in the United States. Through a five-year cost-share agreement, the Energy Department will invest up to half of the total project cost, with the project’s industry partners matching this investment by at least one-to-one. The specific total will be negotiated between the Energy Department and Babcock & Wilcox (B&W).

The Energy Department investment will help B&W obtain Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing and achieve commercial operations by 2022 – helping to provide U.S. utilities with low carbon energy options as well as create important export opportunities for the United States and advance our nation’s competitive edge in this emerging global industry. The project will be based in Tennessee and will support additional suppliers and operations in Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.

Small modular reactors - which are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear power plants - have compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits. Small modular reactors can also be made in factories and transported to sites where they would be ready to “plug and play” upon arrival, reducing both capital costs and construction times. The smaller size also makes these reactors ideal for small electric grids and for locations that cannot support large reactors, offering utilities the flexibility to scale production as demand changes.

As this nascent industry continues to grow, the Energy Department is committed to supporting research and development that will advance efficient, safe and cost-effective small modular reactor technologies. The Department plans to issue a new funding opportunity announcement to address this goal and support continued design development and certification of innovative SMR technologies.

Find more information on the important steps the Department is taking to jumpstart America’s nuclear industry at www.energy.gov/nuclear.

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Click here to see an EXCLUSIVE APR feature on the Generation mPower SMR design, with details and illustrations.

I covered SMR plants during some sessions for the American Nuclear Society at its 2012 Winter Meeting.  Click here for a brief article.

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4 PM Update -- Press Release from Babcock & Wilcox below.

B&W Selected As Winner Of DOE’s Small Modular Reactor Program
(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – November 20, 2012) – The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE:BWC) announced today that it has been selected as the winner of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) competitively bid Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Licensing Technical Support Program. B&W will receive funding that will support accelerated development of its B&W mPowerTM SMR technology.
In March 2012, the DOE issued a Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to provide support to the American nuclear industry for SMR technology development and design certification. The funding program, expected to be administered over the next five years, is the cornerstone of a public-private partnership created to share the challenges of developing and deploying SMRs across the U.S. before 2022. SMRs offer the promise of expanding high-technology U.S. manufacturing jobs and exports, as well as maintaining America’s leadership role in global nuclear policy and security issues. As a result of this FOA announcement, B&W mPower has been selected by the DOE as the SMR technology provider for early deployment, and thereby delivering these program goals and benefits for the nation.
B&W formed the mPower America project team with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and Bechtel to pursue an award under this program. The mPower America team and its members currently have nearly 400 employees working on the development and licensing of the B&W mPower SMR. The project will help to revitalize the U.S. commercial nuclear manufacturing infrastructure. B&W subsidiaries have executed 150 agreements with suppliers in 36 states to support the B&W mPower program. Once in the deployment stage, the mPower America project will create a significant number of new jobs at B&W manufacturing facilities and supplier facilities.
In a news release issued earlier today, DOE Secretary Steven Chu stated, “The Obama Administration continues to believe that low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America’s energy future.”
“Restarting the nation’s nuclear industry and advancing small modular reactor technologies will help create new jobs and export opportunities for American workers and businesses, and ensure we continue to take an all-of-the-above approach to American energy production,” Chu said.
“With this public-private partnership, the DOE is providing important national leadership for America in the global pursuit of SMR technology,” said E. James Ferland, President and Chief Executive Officer of B&W. “This partnership is essential to reestablishing our nation’s international competitiveness in the nuclear energy industry, as well as enhancing U.S. manufacturing infrastructure and energy independence. We are honored to have been selected by the DOE for this program and are appreciative of the support we have received from the U.S. Congress and the state governments of Indiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.”
“We are grateful for the DOE’s endorsement of B&W mPower. Our company, our partners, and our industry are working hard to turn the vision of a more practical, flexible and affordable clean energy solution into reality. With the DOE’s support, we can deliver this important innovation to the energy industry and our nation more quickly and with less risk,” said Christofer M. Mowry, President of B&W mPower, Inc. “We are committed to maximizing the return on our government’s investment for our country and the public. The DOE’s selection validates B&W mPower as the leading SMR technology and is expected to accelerate market adoption both domestically and internationally, creating more high technology jobs and exports for our country.”
TVA is preparing an application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to license up to four B&W mPower SMRs at its Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
“TVA is pleased that the mPower America Team has been selected by the DOE to receive cost-share funding for the design and licensing of a small modular reactor,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Policy and Oversight, Joe Hoagland. “It supports TVA's mission of being a national leader in technological innovation and may provide a new source of clean, base-load generation capacity in the future.”
The B&W mPower SMR is designed to provide 180 megawatts of carbon-free electricity. It is based on advanced integral pressurized water reactor technology which incorporates robust, passive safety protection systems within a fully underground containment structure. The B&W mPower design philosophy maximizes the use of proven, mature systems and components within an innovative plant architecture to reduce licensing and construction risks. The unique, security-informed, underground reactor building significantly improves plant security, and largely mitigates potential environmental impact and the effects of external events.
 
About B&W
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., The Babcock & Wilcox Company is a leader in clean energy technology and services, primarily for the nuclear, fossil and renewable power markets, as well as a premier advanced technology and mission critical defense contractor. B&W has locations worldwide and employs approximately 12,700 people, in addition to approximately 10,400 joint venture employees. Learn more at www.babcock.com.
About TVA
The Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the U.S. government and provides electricity for business customers and distribution utilities that serve 9 million people in parts of seven southeastern states at prices below the national average. TVA, which receives no taxpayer money and makes no profits, also provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists utilities and state and local governments with economic development.
About Bechtel
Bechtel is among the most respected engineering, project management, and construction companies in the world. It stands apart for its ability to get the job done right—no matter how big, how complex or how remote. Bechtel operates through five global business units that specialize in civil infrastructure; power generation, communications, and transmission; mining and metals; oil, gas and chemicals; and government services. Since its founding in 1898, Bechtel has worked on more than 22,000 projects in 140 countries on all seven continents. Today, its 53,000 employees team with customers, partners and suppliers on diverse projects in nearly 50 countries. www.bechtel.com.
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Statements
B&W cautions that this release contains forward-looking statements regarding our ability to obtain funding that will support accelerated development of B&W mPower; the expected timing of the administration of the DOE funding program; mPower America’s ability to revitalize the U.S. commercial nuclear manufacturing infrastructure and create a significant number of new jobs; our optimism regarding our ability to deliver B&W mPower with the DOE’s support; our commitment to maximizing the return on the DOE funding; our expectation that the DOE’s selection will accelerate the market adoption of B&W mPower and the creation of U.S. jobs and exports; and other statements about B&W mPower, to the extent such statements relate to management’s expectations and plans regarding the design, specifications and implementation of the B&W mPower reactor. These forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, including, among other things, adverse changes in U.S. Government appropriations; our inability to finalize terms and conditions on SMR funding with the DOE; our inability to finance B&W mPower research and development efforts; and adverse changes in the demand for or competitiveness of nuclear power. If one or more of these or other risks materialize, actual results may vary materially from those expressed. For a more complete discussion of these and other risk factors, please see B&W's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. B&W cautions not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release, and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except to the extent required by applicable law.

3:36 PM Eastern 11/20/2012
ATOMIC POWER REVIEW

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