U.S. backs project for small nuclear reactors
By Matt Smith, CNN
updated 7:31 PM EST, Wed November 21, 2012
• The Energy Department announces support for small modular reactor design
• Supporters say the units will be cheaper and safer than current reactors
• U.S. regulators are still reviewing the designs
(CNN) -- The Department of Energy is putting federal money behind the development of small-scale nuclear reactors that supporters say are cheaper, safer and easier to build, though the design still needs federal approval.
The first award under a $452 million program to boost the development of small modular reactors will go to a consortium led by Babcock & Wilcox and the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Southeastern utility that already operates three commercial nuclear plants. The reactors will be about a third the size of those now used in nuclear power plants, with the B&W design generating about 180 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power almost 200,000 homes.