BW nuclear reactor testing facility wins grant

The Babcock & Wilcox Co. (B&W) received a $5 million grant from the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission for its Integrated System Test (IST) facility in Bedford County, Va.

The grant supports further development of the B&W mPower reactor that represents a new generation of smaller, scalable nuclear power plants on track to be deployed by 2020.

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.

Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy Inc. 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.

This is the second grant the Virginia tobacco commission awarded for design and construction of B&W’s facility. In July 2010, B&W announced a $2.4 million grant from the commission to support construction.

The additional $5 million is designated for process equipment to support operation of a scaled prototype of the B&W mPower reactor. All of the technical features of B&W’s mPower reactor are included in the IST, although the source of energy is electricity rather than nuclear.

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