Regulators to review Tennessee test nuclear reactor plan

December 1, 2021 GMT

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) — Federal regulators will review an application to build a low-power test nuclear reactor in Tennessee.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday that environmental and safety reviews should be finished by September 2023 for the test reactor planned in Oak Ridge by Kairos Power.

Regulators say the 35-megawatt reactor would use molten salt to cool the reactor core, providing insight to develop a bigger version meant for a commercial nuclear power plant. Kairos will need to apply for a separate operating license.

In May, the Tennessee Valley Authority announced plans to collaborate with Kairos on the test reactor.

TVA says it generates more than 40% of its electricity from nuclear power and has received the first U.S. preliminary site permit for a so-called small modular reactor, also in Oak Ridge. TVA says it’s evaluating potential environmental impacts of deploying more than one reactor and more than one design at the Clinch River Nuclear Site.