Industries Energy/Green

Babcock & Wilcox Co. dedicates test facility for new scalable nuclear reactor

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The Babcock & Wilcox Co. dedicated its mPower Integrated System Test (IST) facility in Bedford County on Thursday.

The facility is located at the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) at the New London Business & Technology Center.

The IST facility houses a prototype of the B&W mPower reactor —  a modular, scalable nuclear reactor. The reactor’s design and safety performance will undergo extensive testing in support of a licensing process with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The primary technical features of the B&W mPower reactor are included in the IST, but the energy source is electricity rather than nuclear fuel.

Grants totaling $7 million from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission were used to help in the construction of the facility and the purchase of equipment.

“The IST facility will allow us the opportunity to demonstrate to the world the value of small modular reactors as a practical and affordable choice for nuclear power generation,” Brandon C. Bethards, president and CEO of B&W said in a statement. “Today’s dedication marks another step in our progress toward commercializing small modular reactor technology.”

The multi-year testing program is scheduled to begin in the final months of this year. B&W, which is based in Charlotte, N.C., has extensive operations in Lynchburg.

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