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UT, TVA sign Agreement on Advanced Nuclear Reactor Demonstration

Sequoyah Nuclear Plant

A new partnership between the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) will help prioritize the development of one or more advanced reactors at TVA’s 935-acre Clinch River Nuclear Site in Roane County. TVA has not made a decision to build and would first need approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a specific design.

The partnership will allow collaboration, evaluation, and potential demonstration and operation of light-water or non-light-water fission reactors that build on the success of the current generation of reactors and will also leverage the expertise of UT’s nuclear engineering department.

“Established in 1957, our department is the first and one of the largest and most prestigious in the country,” said UT Department of Nuclear Engineering Head Wes Hines. “This strategic partnership with TVA to build highly efficient advanced reactors will help us pave the way for a clean, reliable energy future.”

Nearly 40 percent of TVA’s current generation portfolio is nuclear power, which provides the majority of the region’s carbon-free energy. With increased interest in cleaner power sources, the potential of expanding safe, reliable, and economically viable nuclear energy grows.

“UT offers unique capabilities supporting TVA’s mission for innovation in nuclear power,” said TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash. “This partnership allows us to better explore new nuclear technologies through UT’s advanced modeling and simulation tools as we continue to pursue a clean energy future.”

Advanced reactor designs build on more than 50 years of operational experience with the current generation of nuclear power reactors. They offer advanced passive safety systems and increased operational flexibility while continuing to provide the only continuous source of carbon-free energy.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is the flagship campus of the UT System and the state’s land-grant institution. The university is home to more than 29,000 students from every Tennessee county, every state, and more than 100 countries. Its 11 academic colleges provide more than 300 degree programs representing a wide range of teaching and learning opportunities. Programs in business, engineering, law, and the arts rank in the top 10 nationally among all public universities. UT’s unique partnership with the US Department of Energy and nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory addresses critical issues in energy, transportation, climate, and the environment. Nestled along the Tennessee River in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, the university’s 600-acre campus is adjacent to downtown Knoxville.

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation, and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.