Concerns are being raised about the billions of dollars being spent on research to design and build small nuclear reactors for electricity production The world’s big powers are in a race to build a new series of small reactors, which they believe will combine with renewables to create a low-carbon future for the planet. Small modular reactors (SMRs) have hardly been heard of by the public, but many billions of dollars are being spent in the US, China, Russia, the UK and France on research and development. The nuclear industry believes the first reactors can be deployed as early as 2025, and the plan is for them to be sited close to towns to produce the local electricity supply. This week, leaders of companies from across the globe are meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to assess progress on prototypes and to address the all-important question of licensing these new designs for safety. The US government has already put $217 million into one commercial design, and is offering billions of dollars in loan guarantees for others.
Climate News Network 11th April 2016 read more »
Take a large number of scientists who have grown up with the firm belief that nuclear power is the future of energy, face them with the fact that nuclear power is proving to be undeliverable in anything like the scale, time and cost that has been originally envisaged in UK Government plans, and what do you get? Wishful thinking about ‘small modular reactors’ or ‘smrs’! You can see this in the article in the Times by Lady Judge. Nuclear reactors in the UK (and in the rest of the world) have been steadily scaled up from around 200 MWe in size to begin with, up to around 500 MWe in the 1960s, and then up to over 1000 MWe in the 1980s and 1990s. Contrary to the impression given in Lady Judge’s article, this was not a recent decision or trend. And there are sound engineering reasons for this, including one very simple one: for complex machines with moving parts and the need to ensure (safe) functioning of each unit each unit needs much the same input for design as a much larger unit. This fact is effectively taken for granted with other type of power sets, even those whose safety characteristics are not so much the centre of anxiety.
Dave Toke’s Blog 11th April 2016 read more »