Info item on modular nuclear reactors

Since lots of readers are interested, or, perhaps, a few are very interested, I thought I would mention that the US Department of Energy is beginning an effort to promote the development of modular nuclear reactors in the US. The plan is to choose two designs, with the object of having them in production by 2022. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that one of them will be the Westinghouse SMR, a cut down version of the Westinghouse AP1000 which is the only serious contender remaining as far as conventional reactors are concerned. That leaves one spot for another contender, call it SMRX.

I therefore need to revisit my previous conclusion on SMRs, namely, that none of them except the Westinghouse have any prospect of being in operation before 2020. First, I think it’s pretty clear that the designs that don’t make the DOE cut are finished – in a generally dire funding environment, who is going to back a horse that has already placed third or worse. Second, the DOE 2022 date is an aspirational target that is virtually certain to be missed, at least by SMRX. But, if things go well, 2025 is a possibility. So, by then we might have one conventional design and two SMRs in production on a serious scale.

29 thoughts on “Info item on modular nuclear reactors

  1. TerjeP
    May 2nd, 2012 at 12:43 | #17
    Reply | Quote

    Nuclear is not too dangerous. It has an increadibly good safety record in terms of fatalities per GWh when compared to Wind or Coal.

    What a load of codswallop.

    city abandoned

    city abandoned

  2. I suppose engineering publications are a litte more honest; received in emaill from IEEE

    Japan’s Last Nuclear Reactor to Go Off-line

    In the wake of last year’s massive 11 March earthquake and tsunami that damaged four reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, the Japanese government took the dramatic step of taking most of the nation’s other reactors out of service over safety concerns. Now Japan’s last operating nuclear reactor, Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s No. 3 unit, at its Tomari plant in northern Japan, will shut down for a scheduled inspection on 5 May. This will leave Japan without any nuclear-generated power, something that hasn’t happened since the nation’s first commercial plant went on line in 1966.

    I suppose in the end it comes down to how big a risk your willing to take, and after you have paid the piper, if your willing to go another round.

  3. Yes ABC news reports;

    “Japan has switched off its last functioning nuclear reactor, leaving the country without atomic power for the first time in four decades.”

    This is the death-knell of fission nuclear power. It is;

    (1) Too dangerous.
    (2) Too expensive.
    (3) Poor on energy return when all inputs, accidents, cleanups and de-commissionings are counted.
    (4) Too reliant on subsidies and indemnities.
    (5) Still based on a non-renewable fuel (uranium) that has already peaked in production due to limited mineable (economic and EROEI positive) deposits world wide.
    (6) Only supported by hopeful anti-realists who have no idea how to assess or quantify the issues empirically.

  4. Some technology implementations are disastrous dead ends. Here are two; the zeppelin and nuclear power.

    [video src="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Special_Release_Zeppelin_Explodes.ogv" /]

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