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The Nuclear Renaissance has failed. China and Russia cannot save it.

Energy Policy (accessed) 12th Nov 2018 , Steve Thomas: Is it the end of the line for Light Water Reactor technology or can China and Russia save the day?

The Nuclear Renaissance has failed. China and Russia cannot save it.

LWR technology is a blind alley. In the
late 1990s, a new generation of reactor designs evolved from existing
designs was touted as solving the economic problems that led to the
collapse of reactor ordering after the Chernobyl disaster. It was claimed
these designs would be cheap and easy to build because they would be
simpler and use passive safety, modular construction and standardisation.

The US and UK governments were convinced by this and launched reactor
construction programmes. However, 20 years on, the claims have proved false
and the US and UK programmes are in disarray. The last hope for the nuclear
industry appears to be that Chinese and Russian reactor vendors, with
powerful support from their governments, will take over, providing reactors
that are cheap but meet the safety standards required in Europe and North

However, these vendors and their designs are largely unproven in
open markets. There is also little evidence that their reactors will be
cheap, there are concerns about quality and safety culture and there are
national security concerns that may deter customers. New technologies, such
as radical new ones, Generation IV, and Small Modular Reactors are unproven
and, at best, a long way from commercial deployment.


November 15, 2018 - Posted by | general

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