The Tennessee Valley Authority has taken the next step toward deciding whether to build a new, smaller nuclear reactor in Oak Ridge.

TVA wants to build the small modular reactor (SMR) in an area on the Clinch River near the southwest edge of Oak Ridge. This is the same site where TVA proposed to build the breeder reactor in the 1980s that was scrapped due to budget cuts and safety concerns.

PREVIOUS: TVA applying for permit to build smaller nuclear reactor in Oak Ridge

It's a design that's never been approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the United States.

TVA said its submitted the Early Site Permit Application to the NRC to assess the project's construction and operation potential.

The NRC will now use the application to review site safety, environmental and emergency preparedness requirements for the 1,200-acre location.

It could be several years before the design and the site are approved, said Dan Stout, TVA senior manager for small modular reactors.

“However, the application process helps pave the way for TVA to expand on its mission of environmental stewardship through clean energy development and for DOE to support licensing and siting requirements for U.S.-based SMR projects,” he said.