B&W receives $5 million grant for small modular reactor testing facility

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The Babcock & Wilcox Co. has received a second grant from the state’s tobacco commission for a small modular testing facility in Bedford County. The $5 million grant will support further development of the B&W mPower reactor —  a new generation of smaller, scalable nuclear power plants on track to be deployed by 2020.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company’s test facility is located at the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), which is currently under construction at the New London Business & Technology Center. Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy Inc. (B&W NE) and Bechtel Power Corp. formed a joint company, Generation mPower LLC, to design, license and build the next generation of nuclear power plants based on B&W mPower reactor technology.

The test program will collect data to verify the reactor design and safety performance in support of B&W’s licensing activities with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. B&W anticipates the facility will begin testing activities later this summer. “B&W is pleased to receive continued support from the Virginia Tobacco Commission and CAER as we establish a world-class testing facility in Bedford County,” Christofer Mowry, B&W NE president, said in a statement.  “This facility will play a vitally important role in testing, licensing activities and demonstrating the maturity of the design for the B&W mPower reactor, while strengthening Central Virginia’s reputation as a premier region for innovation in nuclear technology.”

This is the second grant the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission has awarded for B&W’s facility. In July 2010, B&W announced a $2.4 million grant to support construction. All of the technical features of B&W’s mPower reactor are included in the fest facility in Bedford, although the source of energy is electricity rather than nuclear.


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