B&W to open testing facility for modular nuclear reactor in Bedford

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Babcock & Wilcox Co. announced Tuesday it will open a testing facility for its modular nuclear reactor in Bedford County.

The B&W mPower Integrated Systems Test facility will include a prototype of the B&W mPower reactor, which will undergo extensive, three-year testing of the reactor’s design and safety.  B&W plans to use data to aid in licensing requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

B&W says the smaller reactor would be less expensive and allow utilities to add power generation as needed.

The facility will include technical features of the B&W mPower reactor but will be fueled by electric rather than nuclear power.

B&W said one of the key reasons for its decision to locate in Bedford was a $2.4 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission.

“This facility will play an important role as we move forward with testing and licensing of B&W mPower reactors, while also reaffirming the region as a hub for nuclear technology,” Chris Mowry, president of B&W Nuclear Energy, said in a statement.

The testing facility will be located in Bedford’s Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER), which is under construction at the New London Business & Technology Center. The facility is expected to create at least 10 permanent jobs.

CAER will include 30,000 square feet of research and education facilities for nuclear and wireless technologies.

B&W Nuclear Energy recently announced a partnership with Bechtel Power Corp. to design, license and deploy B&W mPower nuclear power plants.

The testing facility is expected to be operational in 2011.

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