A documentary called New Fire was released promoting ‘advanced’ nuclear power concepts last year. The heroes of the film were young entrepreneurs Leslie Dewan and Mark Massie, founders of a start-up called Transatomic Power that was developing a ‘Waste-Annihilating Molten-Salt Reactor’. Problems arose during the long gestation of New Fire. Transatomic Power gave up on its plan to use nuclear waste as reactor fuel after its theoretical calculations were proven to be false, and the waste-annihilating reactor was reinvented as a waste-producing, uranium-fuelled reactor. Worse was to come: just before the release of New Fire, Transatomic Power went broke and collapsed altogether. An epic fail. The Australian parliament’s ‘inquiry into the prerequisites for nuclear energy’ is shaping up to be another epic fail. The conservative chair of the inquiry claims that “new technologies in the field are leading to cleaner, safer and more efficient energy production.” But the ‘advanced’ nuclear power sector isn’t advanced and it isn’t advancing. The next ‘advanced’ reactor to commence operation will be Russia’s floating nuclear power plant, designed to help exploit fossil fuel reserves in the Arctic ‒ fossil fuel reserves that are more accessible because of climate change. That isn’t ‘advanced’ ‒ it is dystopian.
Ecologist 10th Sept 2019 read more »
THE US has launched a National Reactor Innovation Centre (NRIC) to help industry accelerate the development of advanced nuclear energy technologies. The Government has provided US$5m in its 2020 budget for the centre to demonstrate small modular reactor and micro-reactor concepts within the next five years. Implemented through the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017, the centre will provide industry access to the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories to help build, test and demonstrate reactor concepts and assess their performance. Led by the Idaho National Laboratory, the Government scheme seeks to accelerate the licensing and commercialisation of new systems.
Chemical Engineer 9th Sept 2019 read more »