This week, two advanced nuclear-technology start-ups have announced major news, both good and bad for the future of advanced nuclear technology. The bad news first: nuclear startup Transatomic is going to close down, according to MIT Technology Review. Several years ago, the startup raised millions on promises to use spent nuclear waste as reactor fuel, as well as to “generate electricity 75 times more efficiently than conventional light-water reactors,” according to MIT Technology Review. The company later retracted that “75 times” claim after a review from MIT’s Nuclear Engineering Department found issue with it. Instead, Transatomic revised its estimates in 2016 to say that its reactor would be able to generate more than two times as much energy per ton of mined uranium than a standard reactor. The company’s design to use spent nuclear-reactor fuel in a molten salt reactor was also called into question, causing Transatomic to state in its 2016 revision that its design “does not reduce existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel.” The better news in nuclear technology this week comes from a company called NuScale Power, based out of Portland, Oregon. That company issued a press release today saying that, after 18 months of searching, it has selected manufacturing company BWX Technologies to begin engineering work that will lead to manufacturing the company’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.
Ars Technica 26th Sept 2018 read more »