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Doubts on costs and safety as USA mulls Small Nuclear Reactors

text-SMRsUSA considers Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, The Hill, 16 June 15  “……. the same problems that have slowed development of full-size nuclear reactors to nearly a halt — safety and cost — could keep delaying or even kill the potential for small modular reactors to take off……

In May, the NRC voted to adopt a sliding scale for reactor license fees, which would provide for lower costs for small reactors.However, the prospect of changing rules for small reactors is troubling to nuclear safety and security advocates such as the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Edwin Lyman, a senior scientists with the group, said small reactors have no safety or security advantages when compared with larger ones. But since they would produce less power, there is pressure to scale down the requirements.

“The simple fact is that SMRs have a significant cost penalty compared to large reactors on a per-megawatt basis because of diseconomies of scale,” Lyman said.

“No utility will want to buy them unless they can be exempted from a lot of costly regulations that large reactors must meet,” he continued. “But in light of the Fukushima disaster, one must be very wary of the safety claims made by the nuclear industry, especially for reactor designs that have never been built or tested.”

June 17, 2015 - Posted by | general

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