TVA’s small reactor range makes headway in Canada and other business news


TVA’s small reactor selection is progressing in Canada

According to GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, the BWRX-300 small modular reactor (SMR) has achieved a pre-licensing milestone in Canada with the completion of phases one and two of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission’s vendor design review process.

“The successful completion of these phases and the feedback we have received on our SMR design are important steps in deploying this technology,” said Sean Sexstone, GE-Hitachi’s executive vice president of advanced nuclear, in a statement.

Although the GE-Hitachi design for the small modular reactor has yet to be approved by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) has begun planning and provisional licensing for a BWRX-300’s potential deployment at the Clinch River site in Oakridge, Tennessee.

Last month, Fermi Energia announced that it had selected the BWRX-300 for possible deployment in Estonia. SaskPower selected the BWRX-300 for potential use in Saskatchewan in the mid-2030s. ORLEN Synthos Green Energy (OSGE) and its partners have started the pre-licensing process by submitting an application for evaluation of the BWRX-300 to the Polish National Atomic Energy Agency. In 2021, Ontario Power Generation (OPG) selected the GEH BWRX-300 as the technology to be deployed at its Darlington Nuclear Power Plant.

Volkswagen builds economical electric car

To fend off competition from Tesla and others, Volkswagen this week unveiled its fuel-efficient electric vehicle, the ID 2all concept, priced under $27,000.

The ID 2all is as spacious as its Golf model and as affordable as the Polo that sits under the recently updated ID. 3, with a range of up to 279 miles and several new features.

“We are transforming the company quickly and fundamentally – with the clear goal of making Volkswagen a real love brand,” said Thomas Schäfer, CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars, in a statement.

In a blog post, the company introduced the electric car, which is currently just a concept. “Front-wheel drive, a range of up to 450 kilometers, innovative technical features such as Travel Assist, IQ.LIGHT or Electric Vehicle Route Planner and a new Volkswagen design language,” is how the company describes the car.

“We are implementing the transformation at speed in order to bring electromobility to the masses,” said Schäfer.

VW delivered more than 570,000 electric vehicles last year, thereby maintaining its position as the electric market leader in Europe.

In Chattanooga, Volkswagen produces the electric SUV ID.4.

Door panel manufacturer expands in Tennessee

An auto door panel maker expands in Linden, Tenn., creating 137 jobs from a proposed $10.4 million investment.

NYX Linden LLC, a subsidiary of Michigan-based auto parts supplier NYX, announced the expansion Thursday. Upon completion, the company will add an additional 16,000 square feet of space to its molding shop and a 24,000 square foot shipping warehouse.

The company designs and manufactures automotive parts and components, including door panels, center consoles, grab handles and more.

We have a dedicated workforce here at the NYX Linden facility, and this expansion opportunity will not only create more jobs for Perry County and the surrounding areas, but also create advancement opportunities for our current employees,” said NYX Linden LLC Plant Manager Todd McCaig in a statement on Thursday.

Mortgage rates fall after 5 weeks of increases

The average US long-term mortgage fell this week after five straight weeks of hikes, good news for homebuyers as the all-important spring buying season in the housing market begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average 30-year benchmark rate fell to 6.60% from 6.73% last week. The average rate a year ago was 4.16%.

The average long-term interest rate hit 7.08% in the fall – a two-decade high – as the Federal Reserve continued to hike interest rates to cool the economy and quell sustained four-decade high inflation.

At its first meeting of 2023 in February, the Fed raised interest rates by another 25 basis points, the eighth hike in less than a year. That pushed the central bank’s policy rate down to a range of 4.5% to 4.75%, its highest level in 15 years. Many economists expect at least three more hikes by the end of the year, although some have scaled back those expectations due to the recently unfolding banking crisis.

S&P 500 rises the most in 2 months

Shares rallied on Thursday after a group of big banks offered the bank a lifeline on which investors had been focused in their hunt for the industry’s next victim.

The S&P 500 rose 1.8% for its best day in nearly two months after 11 of the largest banks announced they would deposit a total of $30 billion in First Republic Bank. Erasing an early 300-point loss, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 371 points, or 1.2%, while the Nasdaq Composite gained 2.5%.

“Rapid disruptions in the global banking industry are making for very fluid and choppy markets,” said John Gentry, head of corporate fixed income group at Federated Hermes. “It’s never comfortable when” the markets are trying to figure out the right price for things amid deep uncertainty. “But we advise caution in trying to draw strong parallels to 2007-09,” when a financial crisis torpedoed the global economy.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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