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Small nuclear reactors produce more radioactive trash than large ones do- American Academy of Sciences

Despite being hailed as the future of electricity generation in the UK,
small nuclear reactors may actually produce more waste than their larger
counterparts, as our Gossage Gossip columnist explains.

A planned new generation of small nuclear reactors will create more waste than
conventional reactors, according to an authoritative new study.

The projects, called small modular reactors (SMR), are designed to be simpler
and safer than conventional plants in the case of an accident. They are
also expected to be built in factories and shipped to locations across the
world, as opposed to today’s massive reactors, which are built on-site
and typically run billions of pounds over budget. SMR backers maintain they
are a safe way to boost generation of virtually emissions-free electricity.

But the reactors would create far more radioactive waste per unit of
electricity they generate than conventional reactors by a factor of up to
30, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the American
National Academy of Sciences.

Some of these smaller reactors, with molten
salt and sodium-cooled designs, are expected to create waste that needs to
go through additional conditioning to make it safe to store in a

Allison Macfarlane, a co-author of the study and former head of
the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said SMR designers ‘don’t pay
that much attention in general to the waste, because the thing that makes
money for them is the reactor. But it is important to know about the waste
products, and whether they’re going to pose such difficulties in managing
and then disposing of them. Which they are.’

 Electrical Review 2nd Aug 2022

August 1, 2022 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, wastes

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