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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Babcock & Wilcox Refutes Mischaracterization of SMR Program

Below is a press release just received from Babcock & Wilcox.


B&W Refutes Taxpayers for Common Sense’s Mischaracterization of Small Modular Reactor Program
(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – February 27, 2013) – Based on the significant amount of misinformation contained in its press release and presented in today’s press conference, Taxpayers for Common Sense appears to be significantly misinformed on the importance and development of advanced, clean energy technologies for America’s future.
The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) has invested substantial resources in its small modular reactor (SMR) program because we believe in the promise of this technology. The U.S. Department of Energy wisely decided to support SMR development with a cost-share program so that this beneficial technology can be brought to market and new American jobs can be created.
Governments throughout the world invest in the development of advanced energy technologies that will deliver cost, safety and environmental benefits to their citizens. In order to maintain the United States’ position as the global leader in this industry, our leaders have for many decades supported promising new ideas that have led to innovations in emissions control technologies, nuclear energy, biofuels, hydro power, wind, natural gas and other areas. Support from the Obama administration and the current Congress has been bipartisan and equally strong because SMRs hold the same potential for game-changing innovation.
The development of SMRs will produce new employment opportunities for Americans – with the companies that design them, with manufacturers and companies in the supply chain, with construction firms and with the utilities that own and operate these plants. U.S. investment in SMRs is an investment in jobs for Americans.
Taxpayers for Common Sense mistakenly characterizes SMR technology.

SMRs are different from naval reactor technology, and in fact will require significant review and approval by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission before they can be built.
The B&W mPowerTM reactor is designed to be safe and produce clean energy. Its passive safety systems and secure underground containment make it an attractive, safe option when compared to traditional nuclear reactors. Each module also will provide zero-emission operations, contributing to the reduction of an estimated 57 million metric tons of CO2 during the lifetime of each reactor. And despite Taxpayers for Common Sense’s outrageous claim, SMR power plants are not designed for construction in suburban neighborhoods. In fact, as with any other major facility, communities, local and state governments will have a role in decisions to site these small, safe, efficient reactors.
B&W is committed to the development and deployment of SMRs and we’re committed to America’s future as the world leader in clean energy. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from the U.S. Department of Energy, state and federal government leaders, our project partners and the public for our work. We continue to look for cooperative partnerships and outreach opportunities with those interested in deploying SMRs and we’re excited to do our part to bring this promising new technology to market.
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.
ATOMIC POWER REVIEW commentary follows.
Yesterday, I (and a number of others) were made aware of the upcoming "media event" that Taxpayers for Common Sense was holding.  The release from this organization made it all too clear that nobody involved with the event really understands SMR, or for that matter, nuclear technology.
The term SMR is most commonly debated in terms of output -- that is to say, how much energy a power plant develops.  However, the real key factor in SMR plants is NOT the output.  It's the modular construction - and in the case of most of the light water cooled and moderated designs, this means moving the steam generators and coolant pumps inside the reactor pressure vessel.  That design alteration is significant as compared to the reactor plant portions of large commercial nuclear generating stations.
This concept of an integral component SMR is neither new nor untested.  B&W came up with such an integral design all the way back in 1962.  A reactor plant developing 38 MWt and 10,000 shaft horsepower was installed in the German built nuclear powered ore carrier Otto Hahn, which first achieved criticality in 1968.  Commercial service with this ship began in 1970.  What remains to be seen is how the design makes it through the present-day licensing process.
You can find many more details about the B&W / Generation mPower SMR plant by reading the interview I did with Generation mPower's Matt Miles on this site.  Click here to see it.
10:45 PM Eastern 2/27/2013

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