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Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) can’t compete, unless ordered en masse

SMR Supply Chains, Costs, are Focus of Key Developments, Neutron Bytes, Dan Yurman October 4, 2017

Small modular reactors won’t be able to compete with natural gas plants combined with renewables unless and until they get enough orders to justify building factories to manufacture them in a mass production environment.

Holtec Opens SMR Manufacturing Center in New Jersey

In September Holtec announced the grand opening of a $360M, 50 acre SMR manufacturing center in Camden, N.J. The firm was incentivized by the State of New Jersey to locate there with $260M in tax breaks.  According to Holtec the Camden plant will eventually employ up to 1,000 people……….

Dr. Singh, Holtec’s President and CEO, declared the factory to be “Ground Zero” for the renaissance of nuclear energy and heavy manufacturing in America.

“It will serve as the launching pad for the regeneration of manufacturing in the United States.”

He added, “We will build nuclear reactors here, and they will sail from the port of Camden to hundreds of places around the world.”

Is Holtec Headed for Ukraine to Manufacture SMRs for Europe & Asia?

The maturing of an American supply chain to support mass production of components for SMRs might develop, but not all of it may be in the U.S. Holtec International, is reportedto be in talks about planning to arrange the production of small modular reactors (SMRs) for nuclear power plants in Ukraine, and for export to Europe and Asia.

The Interfax wire service report, which was not confirmed by Holtec, comes on the heels of the firm’s grand opening of a $360M nuclear energy component manufacturing center in Camden, NJ. It is the second report in three months providing details of Holtec International’s discussions with Energoatom. However, a spokesperson for Holtec declined to comment on these discussions as reported by Interfax.

The Intefax report quotes Energoatom National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine President Yuriy Nedashkovsky who said,

“There is a very interesting offer made by Holtec International CEO Kris Singh to President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko  – to create a hub in Ukraine, distributing small modular reactors to Europe, Asia and Africa, with the localization of production and a large number of equipment at Ukrainian enterprises.”

According to Nedashkovsky, Ukraine’s Turboatom has already been involved in the project, as it has the required turbines in its production line.

“This project has already been developed conceptually. The launch of licensing procedures (in the U.S.) is expected next year, and an active phase of construction – approximately in 2023.”  Nedashkovsky added.

Talking of the long-term prospects, Nedashkovsky noted that the demand for small modular reactors after 2025 was estimated to grow over time.

Is the Ukraine SMR Story Ahead of Holtec’s Headlights?

What’s unclear is whether Nedashkovsky was speaking off-the-top-of-his-head, commenting officially on behalf of Holtec International, or did he let a proverbial cat out of the bag?

A spokesperson for the firm said in an email to this blog on 10/4 that the firm, “cannot confirm this article (the September Interfax wire service report) , as the quote is not ours.” The firm declined further comment.

What is clear is that Holtec knows about the quote because it posted the Intefax September report in the press section of its website. The company also posted a previous Interfax article, published last July, which noted that National Nuclear Generating Company Energoatom and Holtec International have discussed the prospects of licensing and building small module reactors, the SMR-160, in the United States, Ukraine and other countries.

“Holtec International specialists pointed out the possibility of localization of equipment production for SMR-160 at Ukrainian enterprises and the possibility of making fuel for these reactors in the country.”

What’s confusing about the disconnects here is that Nedashkovsky is a member of Holtec’s advisory council.  According to the company’s website, “The Holtec Advisory Council consists of recognized industry leaders with a corporate nexus to Holtec International. The Council’s principal role is to provide input to the Company’s executive leadership with respect to both the technical and commercial merits and weaknesses of the SMR-160 program.”

Holtec has an existing relationship with Ukraine’s nuclear energy sector manufacturing spent fuel casks for an interim storage facility there. It is also working on a proposal for a commercial interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel to be located near Hobbs, N.M.

According to the S&P Global Market Intelligence, Holtec International Inc. with HQ in Jupiter, FL, is privately held and does not report earnings on any public stock exchange……….

US Organizes to Ramp up SMR Supply Chain

While Holtec is working in Urkaine, a conference being held this week in Idaho Falls, ID, is looking for ways to spin up a supply chain for SMR manufacturing in the U.S.

The two-day Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain innovation Leadership Summit & Showcase (press statement) is sponsored by the U.S. Nuclear Infrastructure Council in conjunction with the Idaho National Laboratory. It will be followed by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Nuclear Energy’s annual review of the current projects that are part of its Advanced Methods for Manufacturing program.

The Advanced Manufacturing & Supply Chain Summit & Showcase is an inaugural meeting (agenda) of leading U.S. nuclear energy suppliers and manufacturers including the new Center for Advanced Nuclear Manufacturing (CANM).

During the DOE AMM workshop, more than a dozen principal investigators will review the status of their research and discuss the relevance of their findings to advanced manufacturing……….



October 7, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, technology, Ukraine, USA

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