by Will Davis
This week has brought two news items – one positive and one negative – that echo a theme which runs down the history of nuclear energy like a spine.  The story goes that the original, longest-tried technology works while other, theoretically superior but technically vastly more difficult concepts continue to run into roadblocks; that story remains unchanged today, in the face of these new developments.
Integral Light Water Reactor On The Move
It was announced yesterday (September 25, 2018) that NuScale Power had selected BWX Technologies, Inc. to begin the design work to actually fabricate components for NuScale’s small modular reactor design – a design that already has commercial interest (in fact, a buyer) in UAMPS and a site at INL.  According to NuScale’s press release BWX (which comprises the nuclear business of the former Babcock & Wilcox company) will subcontract some of the work to Precision Custom Components, a company based in Pennsylvania.  PCC’s website describes the company as follows (in a press release):
“Precision Custom Components, LLC http://www.pcc-york.com is a leading manufacturer of custom fabricated heavy pressure vessels (to 600 tons), reactors, casks, and heavy-walled components involving special materials with challenging welding and highly specialized machining, tight tolerances, and robust QA procedures for nuclear, commercial and government applications. PCC was founded at its current location in York, Pennsylvania in 1876 and was then known as the S. Morgan Smith Company. PCC’s facility exceeds 275,000 square feet and is conveniently located to major transportation routes including rail, truck, and deep water access in Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA.”
BWX Technologies was selected as engineering contractor not only because of its history in the business, but, according to NuScale’s release, also because it is a US based company.  The history of the company actually connects to a directly related product; in the

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