Federal Regulator Holds Public Meetings Tuesday to Discuss TVA’s Proposal for Small Modular Reactors at Clinch River Site

Guest Blog | June 4, 2018 | Press Releases

Residents, organizations gather to voice concerns about federal licensing for experimental technology

Contacts: Jen Rennicks, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, 865-235-1448

Don Safer, Tennessee Environmental Council, 615-585-5444


What: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is holding important public meetings Tuesday, June 5 in Kingston, Tennessee to hear from residents, communities, organizations, elected officials and businesses regarding the Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) proposal to potentially develop up to 800MW of new nuclear power generation from Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) at their Clinch River Site. The NRC is gathering comments from the public on the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that the federal regulator released in April as they evaluated TVA’s Early Site Permit (ESP) to determine the site’s suitability for SMRs.

“TVA has admitted that these reactors are not needed given a decline in power demand,” said Sara Barczak, Regional Advocacy Director with Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. “It’s more accurate to describe SMRs as an experimental technology that would be ‘Squandering More Resources.’ SMRs are also much more water-intensive than affordable, clean energy choices such as wind, solar and energy efficiency and conservation. If pursued, SMRs will be a lose-lose for TVA customers and the environment.”

“TVA should sidestep the economic and environmental downsides of Small Modular Reactors and nuclear power by pursuing renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage. Widespread deployment of those alternatives will make SMRs obsolete before they can possibly be brought on line,” said Don Safer, Board Member with the Tennessee Environmental Council. “The Early Site Permit process and TVA’s SMR program are a waste of ratepayer and taxpayer money.”

When & Where: Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The NRC will hold two identical meetings.

First Session: 2-4 pm EDT; open house 1-2pm EDT

Second Session: 7-9 pm EDT; open house 6-7pm EDT

Noah’s Event Venue, 1200 Ladd Landing Boulevard, Kingston, Tennessee


Who: Local residents and advocates, including Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) and the Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC), which have legally intervened in TVA’s license application,will be available for media interviews regarding their concerns. Find the SACE-TEC June 2017 petition here, a teleconference with their expert witnesses here and the Atomic Safety & Licensing Board’s (ASLB) decision here.

Based on analysis of the draft EIS, SACE and TEC filed additional contentions in May with the ASLB that dealt with spent fuel pool risks and the impermissible discussion of need for power/energy alternatives.


How: The public can sign up to speak at the meetings; a sign-up sheet will be available on a first-come-first-to-speak basis. Find the NRC’s official public meeting notice here and the NRC’s licensing page on TVA’s Early Site Permit here. The NRC is acceptingwritten comments until July 10, 2018. Public comments should reference Docket ID NRC-2018-0101 and can be submitted online, by email to [email protected] or by regular mail: May Ma, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWFN-7- A60M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555- 0001.


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Founded in 1985, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization that promotes responsible energy choices that work to address the impacts of Global Climate Change and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughout the Southeast. Learn more at www.cleanenergy.org.


The Tennessee Environmental Council hasbeen educating and advocating for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee’s environment, communities, and public health since 1970. Learn more at www.tectn.org.