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UK’s “Small nuclear” lobby spruiking its wares, downgrading Hinkley Point nuclear project

Britain’s on the brink of a small-scale nuclear reactor revolution, The Register, Marcus Gibson  Sure, there are hurdles, but no £18bn hole on the other side like Hinkley Point   ……. a cheaper and smaller alternative is emerging if activity from British entrepreneurs and academics is anything to judge by – the small “modular” nuclear reactor, or SMR…….

No nuclear industry programme has yet produced a series of reactors along factory production lines, but a large order for SMRs could change all that.

Tony Roulstone, course director at Cambridge Nuclear Energy Centre, believes a production line operation could fulfil the promise of continuous improvements, of more efficient designs over the years, and the real prize of being manufactured in the UK…….

Dr Jenifer Baxter, lead author of the report, said: “Pushing ahead on the demonstration and commercialisation of SMRs would be a key way for the UK to once again become a world leader in the sector.”

This view was backed by a House of Lords committee that criticised the government’s “failure to deliver on a multimillion-pound competition to develop mini atomic power stations,” which it said “hurt the nuclear sector and risks international companies walking away from the UK.”

SMRs also ensure that the British government can avoid a repetition of the growing fiasco over the cost of Hinkley Point. An expert in engineering capacity and financing energy plants, who spoke to The Reg on condition of anonymity, said Hinkley Point “could cost the UK as much as £81bn if maximum financing costs are included”……

And yet SMRs face daunting development costs, and mind-boggling technical uncertainties. Like all nuclear sites they inevitably involve high costs, the problems of expensive decommissioning, the risk of accidents and waste disposal.

Sceptics include former government adviser professor Gordon MacKerron, who has described SMRs as “a classic case of supply-push technology development – no potential user of SMRs, mostly electric utilities, has expressed any serious interest in them.”…….


May 26, 2017 - Posted by | spinbuster, UK

1 Comment »

  1. AP 1000 assembly line parts wouldn’t fit together which must bode poorly for the SMRs. The Swiss accident at Lucens and the SL ? accident in Idaho show these things are dangerous.

    Comment by miningawareness | May 26, 2017 | Reply

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