published Thursday, June 16th, 2011

NRC approves fuel for Watts Bar

The Tennessee Valley Authority has received a license to receive and store fresh nuclear fuel for the Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor that is projected to start operating late next year.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday said the license allows TVA to receive, possess, inspect and store 193 assemblies containing fresh nuclear fuel enriched up to 5 percent in the isotope uranium-235. The NRC is reviewing TVA’s application for a license to operate the reactor near Spring City, Tenn.

NRC region spokesman Ken Clark said TVA has onsite storage for the unused fresh fuel that he said is “slightly radioactive” and different from spent fuel that is highly radioactive. Watts Bar Unit 2 is the nation’s only active reactor construction project.

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