Small Reactors Could Kick-Start the Stalled Nuclear Sector. Earlier this year, NuScale Energy took a crucial step forward in its prolonged effort to build 12 scaled-down nuclear reactors on an empty parcel at the Idaho National Laboratory, a sprawling research campus on the outskirts of Idaho Falls. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed to begin the formal process of reviewing the company’s designs for the 600-megawatt plant, which could power a city the size of Boise twice over. That gives NuScale, based in Portland, Oregon, the inside track on building the country’s first commercial reactors of this type. Known as small modular reactors, or SMRs, they also represent the first substantially new reactor design of any kind to reach this NRC milestone in decades. The most immediate advantage is that they might be cheap enough to get built at all. Raising the massive up-front capital to construct new full-scale reactors has become increasingly difficult in the United States, particularly after ballooning budgets for two plants in Georgia and South Carolina ended up tipping Westinghouse Electric into bankruptcy, nearly taking its parent company with it.
MIT Technology Review 17th July 2017 read more »