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Clinch River ‘R Us

Babcock and Wilcox diagram of a small modular reactor assembly

SMR assembly

The TVA proposal to build small modular reactors in Oak Ridge on the site that was once going to host the Clinch River Breeder Reactor is one of several interesting developments on the local horizon in recent years. The National Geographic website has a nice little news article about the technology and the proposal — I say “nice” because it does a good job of explaining the SMR technology, its expected advantages, and the issues that still surround it.

The article mentions Oak Ridge, but (as also happened in the days of the Clinch River Breeder Reactor Project) it doesn’t say that the site is in Oak Ridge. That’s probably OK. In general, the names of nuclear power plants don’t include the names of the towns where they are located. I believe that’s done deliberately to help communities avoid the negative perceptions that surround nuclear topics. (Of course, Oak Ridge already deals with those negative perceptions — that’s not a situation that’s likely to change.) I do hope that TVA remembers that “Clinch River ‘R Us”, so that our community is remembered when the public needs to be consulted about this project and when the benefits of the SMR project (whatever they turn out to be) get passed around.


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