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Global nuclear lobby desperate to market an array of non existent Small and Medium Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

IAEA Showcases Global Coordination on Small, Medium Sized or Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) IAEA, October 2018   Vienna, Austria The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) expanding international coordination on the safe and secure development and deployment of small, medium sized or modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) has come into focus with new publications and expert meetings on these emerging technologies.

Significant advances have been made in recent years on SMRs, some of which will use pre-fabricated systems and components to shorten construction schedules and offer greater flexibility and affordability than traditional nuclear power plants. Some 50 SMR concepts are at various stages of development around the world, with commercial operations expected to begin in the coming years.

Following an IAEA meeting in September on SMR design and technology, energy experts from around Europe gathered at the Agency’s Vienna headquarters for a workshop earlier this month to discuss infrastructure, economic and finance aspects of SMRs. The meetings are part of an ongoing SMR project involving the IAEA Departments of Nuclear Energy, Nuclear Safety and Security and Technical Cooperation. In addition, representatives of regulatory authorities and other stakeholders also met this month at the IAEA’s SMR Regulators’ Forum, which exchanges experiences on SMR regulatory reviews.

Many IAEA Member States are interested in the development and deployment of SMRs as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels and for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said IAEA Deputy Director General Mikhail Chudakov, Head of the Department of Nuclear Energy. “The IAEA’s flurry of recent activities on SMRs is part of our efforts to respond to Member State requests for assistance on this exciting emerging technology.”

The IAEA recently released two new publications on SMRs: Deployment Indicators for Small Modular Reactors, which provides Member States with a methodology for evaluating the potential deployment of SMRs in their national energy systems; and an updated edition of Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments, which provides a concise overview of the latest status of SMR designs around the world and is intended as a supplement to the IAEA’s Advanced Reactor Information System (ARIS)…….https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/iaea-showcases-global-coordination-on-small-medium-sized-or-modular-nuclear-reactors-smrs

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/pressreleases/iaea-showcases-global-coordination-on-small-medium-sized-or-modular-nuclear-reactors-smrs

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October 16, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Hitachi and General Electric headed for another nuclear financial fiasco- small modular reactors?

October 16, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Nuclear lobby spreads confusion as it touts “SMRs” – nuclear fantasy research

Steve Dale Nuclear Fuel Cycle Watch South Australia, October 10

Small Modular Reactors don’t exist yet, and the picture below shows that the size of these speculative reactors are far from “small” (red arrow points to tiny human figure). Yet Barry Brook continues to receive funding from the “Australian Research Council” to investigate all things nuclear, including putting these reactors on small islands. How much money has gone to funding pro-nuclear fantasy research?
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1021186047913052/

Noel Wauchope they are now referred to by IAEA as small and medium reactors (SMRs)…..A subcategory of very small reactors – vSMRs – is proposed for units under about 15 MWe, especially for remote communities……..Note that many of the designs described are not yet actually taking shape. ……. There’s a bewildering array of reactor designs, listed in MWe (MegaWatts electic) -not in physical size.

October 13, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – their developers demand $billions from UK tax-payers

Energy firms demand billions from UK taxpayer for mini reactors Ministers under pressure to fund new generation of small-scale nuclear power stations,Guardian, Adam Vaughan Energy correspondent @adamvaughan_uk, 1 Oct 2018 Backers of mini nuclear power stations have asked for billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to build their first UK projects, according to an official document.

Advocates for small modular reactors (SMRs) argue they are more affordable and less risky than conventional large-scale nuclear plants, and therefore able to compete with the falling costs of windfarms and solar power.

But the nuclear industry’s claims that the mini plants would be a cheap option for producing low-carbon power appear to be undermined by the significant sums it has been asking of ministers.

Some firms have been calling for as much as £3.6bn to fund construction costs, according to a government-commissioned report, released under freedom of information rules. Companies also wanted up to £480m of public money to help steer their reactor designs through the regulatory approval process, which is a cost usually paid by nuclear companies.

Ten companies hoping to build the plants requested direct government funding, according to the briefing paper by the Expert Finance Working Group on Small Reactors. While the report named the companies involved in the mini nuclear projects, it did not specify who was asking for

David Lowry, a nuclear policy consultant who obtained the document, said: “SMRs are either old, discredited designs repackaged when companies see governments prepared to throw taxpayers’ subsidies to support them, or are exotic new technologies, with decades of research needed before they reach commercial maturity.”

The working group that drafted the report, and was appointed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), urged the government in August to put in place a framework to help bring the smaller plants to market.

The government has already offered £44m of funding for research and development of one group of SMRs, which typically have a capacity of less than a tenth of the Hinkley Point C nuclear plant being built in Somerset, or enough power for 600,000 homes.

Mini nuclear power stations are unlikely to supply clean energy to Britain’s homes and businesses any time soon. Of more than 30 British, US and Chinese companies that have expressed an interest in building one in the UK, the majority told the working group that their power stations would be ready to deployed in the 2030s.

The companies include UK firms such as Rolls-Royce, Sheffield Forgemasters and Atkins, along with China’s CNNC, US companies NuScale and Westinghouse, and France’s EDF Energy.

The working group found the firms’ cost estimates “varied significantly”, to the degree that some of the companies clearly had a “lack of understanding” of how British nuclear regulation works.

It also noted that some of the companies proposed using “non-standard fuels” rather than the conventional uranium used by today’s nuclear plants, which “may add cost to business models” because of new facilities to produce and later manage the spent fuel.

The firms told the group that the four main barriers they faced were finding and confirming sites, the cost of regulatory approval for their designs, a lack of state funding and unclear policy.

The government is expected to make announcements soon regarding the siting regime and regulatory approvals for SMRs, sources told the Guardian…….. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/sep/30/energy-firms-demand-billions-from-uk-taxpayer-for-mini-reactors

October 1, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Following Transatomic’s failure, small modular nuclear reactors face uncertain future

Is it worth spending $millions on a nuclear technology whose only real purpose is to train nuclear technologists?

A good announcement and a bad announcement for two nuclear-energy startups,NuScale Power takes a step toward engineering; Transatomic power shuts down. Ars Technica, MEGAN GEUSS – 9/26/2018  “…………….The old light-water reactors that serve America’s grid today create nuclear waste that’s politically impossible to dispose of. Nuclear plants with traditional reactors are also extremely expensive to build and difficult to permit.

For these reasons, many nuclear hopefuls have looked to advanced nuclear technology. Several startups have popped up, promising to make either the waste problem or the expense problem go away.

This week, two advanced nuclear-technology startups have announced major news, both good and bad for the future of advanced nuclear technology………..

 Transatomic is going to close down, according to MIT Technology Review. Several years ago, the startup raised millions on promises to use spent nuclear waste as reactor fuel, as well as to “generate electricity 75 times more efficiently than conventional light-water reactors,” according to MIT Technology Review. The company later retracted that “75 times” claim after a review from MIT’s Nuclear Engineering Department found issue with it.

Instead, Transatomic revised its estimates in 2016 to say that its reactor would be able to generate more than two times as much energy per ton of mined uranium than a standard reactor.

The company’s design to use spent nuclear-reactor fuel in a molten salt reactor was also called into question, causing Transatomic to state in its 2016 revision that its design “does not reduce existing stockpiles of spent nuclear fuel.”

The lost confidence made it harder for Transatomic to find funding to complete the $15 million it needed to build a prototype reactor, although it had raised about $4 million already……..

Onward to manufacturing

NuScale Power, based out of Portland, Oregon issued a press release today saying that, after 18 months of searching, it has selected manufacturing company BWX Technologies to begin engineering work that will lead to manufacturing the company’s Small Modular Reactor (SMR) design.

Phase 1 engineering and manufacturing begins today and will last until 2020, NuScale wrote, and then Phases 2 and 3—”preparing for fabrication” and “fabrication,” respectively—will continue from there……..

Small Modular Reactors don’t solve the nuclear-waste problem mentioned at the top of this article, but in theory, they might solve nuclear energy’s expense problem. Building smaller reactors that can be modularly expanded if necessary could not only keep siting, construction, and regulatory costs proportionally lower, but using the same manufacturing and construction crews to build more, smaller reactors would theoretically develop a workforce with expertise in building and installing reactors. https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/09/a-good-announcement-and-a-bad-announcement-for-two-nuclear-energy-startups/

September 28, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

The next big thing: unfeasible small modular nuclear reactors

A conversation with Dr. Gordon Edwards: contemporary issues in the Canadian nuclear industry, and a look back at the achievements of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility (CCNR), http://www.ccnr.org/ Montreal, August 25, 2018,   Nuclear waste management: an exercise in cynical thinking. DiaNuke.org, 24 Sept 18, “…….. 8. The next big thing: unfeasible small modular reactors

They want to basically clear the decks by shoving this waste off to the side so that they can use this territory, which is crown land owned by the Government of Canada, in order to develop a whole new generation of small modular reactors which are also pie-in-the-sky. They don’t have any customers at the present time. They say there’s a great deal of interest in small modular reactors. However, the interest is almost totally confined to the nuclear establishment. It’s the nuclear people who are interested in these small modular reactors, nobody else.

In fact, we’ve had bad experience with small modular reactors Canada. We had two ten-megawatt nuclear reactors designed and built. They were built around the year 2000, and each one of these reactors was supposed to be able to replace the very old NRU reactor at Chalk River, which is the largest isotope production reactor in the world. And each one of these reactors—they’re called maples, the maple reactors—each one of them would be able to take over the workload of the already-existing NRU reactor which is now shut down. They couldn’t get either one of them to work properly. They were so unsafe, and so unstable in their operation that without operating them and after having spent hundreds of millions of dollars in building them, they now are dismantling them without ever having produced any useful results.

They also had here in Canada a design called a “slowpoke district heating reactor,” and this reactor was ranging from ten megawatts to a hundred megawatts, thermal power only, no electricity, and the idea of this was it could be a reactor which could supply district heating for buildings and so on. That was also a complete failure. That was back in the last century in the 80s and 90s in Canada. They tried to give these things away for free, and they couldn’t even give them away for free. Nobody wanted them.

So the whole business of nuclear waste has really been obfuscated by the industry who are perpetually trying to convince people that they have the solution, that they know what to do, and that when they do it, it’ll be perfectly safe. All of our experience points in the opposite direction…………https://www.dianuke.org/a-conversation-with-dr-gordon-edwards-contemporary-issues-in-the-canadian-nuclear-industry-and-a-look-back-at-the-achievements-of-the-canadian-coalition-for-nuclear-responsibility-ccnr-http-

September 26, 2018 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

The second nuclear industry stillbirth – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

 SMR – The Second Make-Believe Renaissance – Gordon Edwards, 18 Sept 18 SMR stands for “Small Modular Reactor(s)”. It is the latest effort by an increasingly desperate nuclear industry to create a “Nuclear Renaissance”. Nuclear Renaissance I
……. The originally planned renaissance depended on plants that were larger-than-ever and safer-than-ever. The French company Areva proudly announced the EDF reactor. “The first two EPR projects, in Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flammanville, France, were meant to lead a nuclear renaissance but both projects ran into costly construction delays” and so many billions of euros over budget that Areva was virtually bankrupted, but was bailed out by the French government. “Construction commenced on two Chinese EPR units in 2009 and 2010. The Chinese units were to start operation in 2014 and 2015,[11] but the Chinese government halted construction because of safety concerns.”…….
  The Canadian “Advanced CANDU Reactor” (ACR) never saw the light of day either, and led to the sale of the AECL CANDU division to SNL-Lavalin for a paltry $15 million in 2011. ACR was supposed to be another cornerstone of the Nuclear Renaissance, originally planned for either 1000 MW or 700 MW. It did not make it out of the womb.
  Nuclear Renaissance II So now the nuclear industry, imagining itself rising from the ashes of its own calamitous failure, is launching a NEW nuclear renaissance based on “Small Modular Reactors” (SMRs). There is no precise definition of an SMR except that it should be no more than 300 MW in power output, and could be as little as 10 MW or less.
…… There is a bewildering variety of SMR designs, using uranium, plutonium, or thorium in the fuel, using molten salt, liquid metal, or ordinary water as coolant, but all intended to run for a long time with a replaceable core.
The Catch-22 in all of this is that Small Reactors are NOT cheaper than large reactors, quite the contrary! Because of the safety features that must be included in order to be licensed needed to contain the enormous inventory of intensely radioactive fission products and extremely radiotoxic actinides and prevent them from escaping, these SMR’s can only begin to break even if they are purchased in the THOUSANDS of units. The economies of scale only kick in when they are mass-produced. So mass-marketing is absolutely essential
  Already the Canadian government (which has, at least tentatively, bought into this SMR scheme through its adherence to “NICE: Nuclear Innovation = Clean Energy”) is scouring the country for possibilities. In Alberta dozens of SMRs might be employed to “cook” the oil sands in order to extract the bitumen. In the northern regions SMRs might be used to replace diesel generators, especially in arctic and subarctic conditions. In New Brunswick SMRs could be sold to appease those who have over the years clamoured for a second Lepreau.
 But it is pretty certain that none of these plans could be realized without very hefty federal subsidies, because these SMRs will be initially sold at a loss just to “prime the pump” in hopes that a profitable market will eventually materialize. And of course the SMRs themselves are purely conjectural at this point, none have them have been built or licensed or operated. It will take at least a decade or two to get them up and running, if ever that happens. Meanwhile the economic prospects for nuclear, especially in the west, are dismal. As the senior vice-president of Exelon said recently:
Due to their high cost relative to other generating options, no new nuclear power units will be built in the US, an Exelon official said Thursday.
“The fact is — and I don’t want my message to be misconstrued in this part — I don’t think we’re building any more nuclear plants in the United States. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” William Von Hoene, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Exelon, told the US Energy Association’s annual meeting in Washington. With 23 operational reactors, Exelon is the US’ largest nuclear operator.
 “I’m not arguing for the construction of new nuclear plants,” Von Hoene said. “They are too expensive to construct, relative to the world in which we now live.”
Von Hoene’s stance includes so-called small modular reactors, or SMRs, and advanced designs, he said.
 “Right now, the costs on the SMRs, in part because of the size and in part because of the security that’s associated with any nuclear plant, are prohibitive,” Von Hoene said.
“It’s possible that that would evolve over time, and we’re involved in looking at that technology,” Von Hoene said. “Right now they’re prohibitively expensive.”
 In a later article I will address the particular kind of SMR intended for NB. It is a kind of mini-breeder in the sense that it uses plutonium in the fuel and liquid sodium as coolant. Bad news! …. http://www.ccnr.org/SMR_Second_Make-Believe_Renaissance_2018.pdf1 

September 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

UK’s Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is NOT backing Small Modular Nuclear Reactors

Global Warming Policy Foundation 10th Sept 2018 An important new briefing paper published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation reveals that the government has kicked a key nuclear programme into the long grass.

This follows an announcement last week by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on its small modular nuclear (SMR) competition, which outlined new funding for feasibility studies into a range of new nuclear technologies.

The report, by nuclear industry expert Andrew Dawson, shows that while this might appear to represent progress, in reality it is likely to be the end of the SMRs in the UK: “When George Osborne announced the SMR competition in 2015, it  was about identifying SMR technologies that could be deployed in the near-term. But in its announcement last week, BEIS made it clear that it would only back “blue-skies” projects, some of which are not SMRs, and
none of which have any hope of breaking ground in the next few decades……

https://www.thegwpf.org/who-killed-the-small-modular-nuclear-programme/

September 12, 2018 Posted by | politics, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | Leave a comment

Irrational optimism about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

“Panglossian puffery”, says David Lowry. The report ignores the security and nuclear waste problems of small modular reactors.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) says this is yet another attempt to promote the benefits of SMRs despite large and quite possibly insurmountable hurdles to cross. The Government suggests the report was produced by an ‘independent’ group, yet at least half of the group have strong links to the nuclear industry, including the Nuclear Industry Association. The UK appear to be one of the few governments pursuing a strategy of promoting SMRs. Even France and Finland, the only other countries in Europe currently developing large nuclear projects, have no plans to develop such technology. Indeed France has just commissioned a whole raft of new smaller-scale solar energy projects.

the finance sector is accurate in being sceptical of new nuclear developments given the rapidly decreasing costs of renewable energy.

Rolls-Royce warned last month that it was preparing to shut down the [Small Modular Nuclear Reactor] project if the government did not make a long-term commitment to its technology.

Panglossian SMRs , NuClear News Sept 18, The government should subsidise the deployment of small modular nuclear reactors in order to speed the transition to a low carbon energy system, according to an independent review into the technology commissioned by Ministers. The Expert Finance Working Group on Small Reactors (EFWG) said in a report that government should offer subsidies for small nuclear reactors to help de-risk the technology and kickstart cost reductions. (1)

Small modular reactors (SMRs) generally have a capacity less than 600MW, with the costs ranging from £100 million to £2.3 billion, which the experts suggest could be delivered by 2030. The EFWG has recommended the government to help de-risk the small nuclear market to enable the private sector to develop and finance projects – it believes SMRs could be commercially viable propositions both in the UK and for an export market.

The report says the “Government should establish an advanced manufacturing supply chain initiative, as it did with offshore wind, to bring forward existing and new manufacturing capability in the UK and to challenge the market on the requirement for nuclear specific items, particularly Balance of Plant (BOP), thereby reducing the costs of nuclear and the perceived risks associated with it.”

Nuclear Energy Minister Richard Harrington said: “Today’s independent expert report recognises the opportunity presented by small nuclear reactors and shows the potential for how investors, industry and government can work together to make small nuclear reactors a reality. Advanced nuclear technologies provide a major opportunity to drive clean growth and could create high-skilled, well-paid jobs around the country as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.” (2) Continue reading

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

USA scales back emergency zones for Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) to make them more affodable

US regulators agree smaller SMR emergency zones http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/US-regulators-agree-smaller-SMR-emergency-zones, 28 August 2018

The NRC’s preliminary finding is part of a safety evaluation of a 2016 Early Site Permit application from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for the potential use of a site at Clinch River for two or more SMR modules of up to 800 MWe. This is the first SMR-related application of any type to be received by the NRC.

The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) described the decision as a “potential regulatory breakthrough” that could accelerate future deployment of SMRs and advanced reactors. “The industry believes that this recognition of the enhanced safety features of small and advanced reactors could greatly simplify the licensing of these technologies and increase their cost competitiveness,” it said.

TVA’s application uses information from four SMR designs – BWXT’s mPower, Holtec International’s SMR-160, NuScale Power’s SMR, and Westinghouse’s SMR – to provide the technical basis for a requested exemption to the ten-mile EPZ requirement currently in use. The most detailed information was provided on the NuScale SMR, for which a design certification application was submitted to the NRC in January 2017. According to the application, the enhanced safety characteristics of those designs, such as smaller reactor cores, simpler systems, and built-in passive safety features, mean that off-site emergency planning requirements and plans can be scaled down to be proportionate with those reduced risks.

NRC staff found TVA’s proposed dose-based, consequence-oriented methodology to be a “reasonable technical basis” for determining EPZ size, consistent with the basis used to determine that for large light water reactors, NEI said.

The NRC also granted TVA its exemption from a ten-mile EPZ for future combined construction and operating licence applications for which the radioactive source term is bounded by the conditions established by the NRC. An SMR plant at the Clinch River site based on the NuScale SMR design would meet the conditions for a so-called site boundary-sized EPZ.

NEI Technical Advisor for Nuclear Generation David Young said current emergency planning requirements would impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on applicants and licensees, which would diminish the cost competitiveness of advanced reactors and hinder their development.

NEI Technical Advisor for Nuclear Generation David Young said current emergency planning requirements would impose an unnecessary regulatory burden on applicants and licensees, which would diminish the cost competitiveness of advanced reactors and hinder their development.

August 29, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors could be a costly mistake for Idaho utility

Murray Power looks to tap into nuclear energy  Murray Journal  By Shaun Delliskave|s.delliskave@mycityjournals.com Aug 23, 2018 Murray Power is moving forward with plans to tap into the nation’s first small nuclear modular reactor (SMR)—but not without opposition. Murray Power has, so far, committed $15,000 towards NuScale Power’s reactor, which is in development at the Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls.Murray’s main power supplier belongs to the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) consortium, consisting of several municipally owned power systems in Utah. Murray City has subscribed to a portion of the nuclear plant’s capacity through its partnership with the UAMPS organization…….

NuScale Power is based out of Corvallis, Oregon and recently completed the Phase 1 review of its design certification application by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). NuScale’s reactor is the first and only SMR to ever undergo an NRC review. …….

Diane Turner, chair of the Murray City Council, is leery about Murray’s interest in a reactor using unproved technology. “I have concerns about Murray committing funds to a new energy form that has not yet been proven and is likely to cost billions of dollars. It is my understanding that our initial investment is not that high. However, it is my concern that as we get further into the commitment it will cost much more.”

Watchdog groups have also expressed concerns regarding the new reactor. HEAL Utah, an advocacy group that promotes renewable energy to protect public health and the environment from dirty, toxic and nuclear energy threats, attended a recent city council committee-of-the-whole meeting to advocate for cleaner renewable investments in power and to express their concerns. They argued that renewable energy is more cost-effective and proven technologies already exist……..

radioactive waste generated by reactors remains toxic for thousands of years. The NuScale reactor has space to store waste for 60 years. Nuclear reactors also draw significantly from water resources.

This is one reason for Council Chair Turner’s reservations. “I don’t know that it is in Murray’s best interest to invest in nuclear rather than making further investments in renewable energy that has been determined to be more environmentally and fiscally sound.” http://www.murrayjournal.com/2018/08/23/179014/murray-power-looks-to-tap-into-nuclear-energy

 

August 25, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, USA | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors for Canada – would create a host of new problems

Telegraph-Journal 9th Aug 2018 Several experts blinked a few weeks ago when the province announced its
intention to begin research into new types of nuclear reactors, smaller and
producing less electricity. It would not be the first time the New
Brunswick government has turned to nuclear power for its energy supply.
Should the province proceed more cautiously this time?

The New Brunswick government recently pledged $10 million to create a nuclear research group.
The province also announced on July 9 a partnership with the American
company Advanced Reactor Concepts, which will try to build a new type of
more compact nuclear reactor designed to produce 100 MW of electricity,
nearly six times less than the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant.

Then a week later, the province announced another partnership with the English
company Moltex. The latter is even promising a reactor capable of producing
energy by reusing nuclear wastes (from uranium fuel). This perspective is
tempting at first. Among the advantages of Moltex’s reactors are (1) the
ability to produce clean energy at low cost and (2) the ability to reduce
environmental impacts by burning irradiated uranium fuel. William Cook,
professor of chemical engineering at the Centre for Nuclear Energy Research
at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, believes that small
modular reactors could be quite efficient in terms of energy production,
and that they could overcome many of the problems created by conventional
CANDU (Canada Deuterium Uranium) reactors such as Point Lepreau.

On the one hand, Mr. Cook says that the small reactors under development are small
enough to be built in a factory and then transported to a destination by
train or ship, which would significantly reduce their cost of installation.
He also mentioned the possibility of reusing the uranium fuel from the
Point Lepreau reactor. “Not all compact reactor models can use irradiated
nuclear fuel, but [Moltex] is advertising that they can process the old
fuel on site to prepare it for reuse. There is still an enormous amount of
energy remaining in the spent fuel when it comes out of a CANDU reactor,”
says the chemical engineering professor.

But this concept of a small reactor that reuses nuclear fuel is only a dream for now. In fact, the
project is still in its infancy. “Certainly [small modular reactors are]
very far from commercialization, or even feasibility,” says Gordon
Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, a
non-profit organization based in Montreal.

According to Edwards, the deployment of these reactors would create a host of new problems. He
disputes the benefits promised by Moltex. “The benefits of small modular
reactors are zero,” he says. “For used fuel from Point Lepreau to be
recycled, it would first have to be reprocessed after it is removed from
the reactor.”

He explained that this would result in the creation of
liquid and volatile [gaseous] radioactive waste. He also noted that [the
Moltex] small modular reactor would use plutonium, unlike Point Lepreau,
which uses uranium. The use of uranium creates plutonium as a byproduct. So
part of the [Moltex] plutonium fuel could come from Point Lepreau, but the
province could also import it from the United States.
https://www.telegraphjournal.com/letoile/story/100669270/point-lepreau-nucleaire-petits-reacteurs-dechets-environnement

August 11, 2018 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Biased and unreliable – UK’s ‘Expert Finance Working Group on Small Modular Reactors’

NFLA 8th Aug 2018 , The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) notes the report by the ‘Expert
Finance Working Group on Small Modular Reactors’ as another attempt to
promote the benefits of this technology despite large and quite possibly
insurmountable hurdles to cross.

The report was commissioned by the UK
Government to consider ways to provide market frameworks for the
development of small nuclear reactors to prosper. The Government suggests
it is an ‘independent’ group, yet at least half of the group have
strong links to the nuclear industry, including the Nuclear Industry
Association, the main UK supporter for such technology.

Over the past few
years, the UK Government has put forward the potential of small nuclear
reactors to be a part of a future ‘low carbon’ energy mix. The UK
appear to be one of the few governments pursuing such a strategy, as even
France and Finland, the only other countries in Europe currently developing
large nuclear projects, have no plans to develop such technology. Indeed
France has just commissioned a whole raft of new smaller-scale solar energy
projects.
http://www.nuclearpolicy.info/news/small-modular-nuclear-reactors-financing-report-nfla-remain-sceptical-such-technology-as-cost-effective-as-renewables/

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, UK | 1 Comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) now recognised as unviable: governments still pouring money into them

AMRs rise from the ashes of SMRs  No2nuclearpower, 29 July 18

On both sides of the Atlantic billions of dollars are being poured into developing small modular reactors. (SMRs) But it seems increasingly unlikely that they will ever be commercially viable, writes Paul Brown on the Climate News Network.

The idea is to build dozens of the reactors (SMRs) in factories in kit form, to be assembled on site, thereby reducing their costs, a bit like the mass production of cars. The problem is finding a market big enough to justify the building of a factory to build nuclear power station kits. For the last 60 years the trend has been to build ever-larger nuclear reactors, hoping that they would pump out so much power that their output would be cheaper per unit than power from smaller stations. However, the cost of large stations has escalated so much that without massive government subsidies they will never be built, because they are not commercially viable. To get costs down, small factory-built reactors seemed the answer. It is not new technology, and efforts to introduce it are nothing new either, with UK hopes high just a few years ago. Small reactors have been built for decades for nuclear submarine propulsion and for ships like icebreakers, but for civilian use they have to produce electricity more cheaply than their renewable competitors, wind and solar power. A number of companies in the UK and North America are developing SMRs, and prototypes are expected to be up and running as early as 2025.

However, the next big step is getting investment in a factory to build them, which will mean getting enough advance orders to justify the cost. A group of pro-nuclear US scientists, who believe that nuclear technology is vital to fight climate change, have concluded that there is not a large enough market to make SMRS work. Their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that large reactors will be phased out on economic grounds, and that the market for SMRs is too small to be viable. On a market for the possible export of the hundreds of SMRs needed to reach viability, they say none large enough exists.

 In the UK, where the government in June poured £200 million ($263.8) into SMR development, a parliamentary briefing paper issued in July lists a whole raft of reasons why the technology may not find a market.  The paper’s authors doubt that a mass-produced reactor could be suitable for every site chosen; there might, for instance, be local conditions requiring extra safety features. They also doubt that there is enough of a market for SMRs in the UK to justify building a factory to produce them, because of public opposition to nuclear power and the reactors’ proximity to population centres. And although the industry and the government believe an export market exists, the report suggests this is optimistic, partly because so many countries have already rejected nuclear power

New funding measures for advanced reactor research and manufacturing will help the UK retain and grow its nuclear expertise and signals support for a widening range of SMR applications, according to Nuclear Energy Insider. The UK nuclear industry has broadly welcomed the UK government’s new 200 million-pound ($263.8-million) Nuclear Sector Deal which aims to cut the cost of nuclear power and bolster the UK skills base.

The deal, announced June 27, includes £56m towards the development and licensing of advanced modular reactor (AMR) designs and £32m towards advanced manufacturing research. In addition, the UK and Welsh governments will jointly invest $40 million in new thermal hydraulics testing. The development funding will initially allocate a total £4m to eight non-light water reactor (non-LWR) vendors, to perform detailed technical and commercial feasibility studies. The eight vendors are: Advanced Reactor Concepts; DBD; LeadCold; Moltex Energy (which is planning to build a demonstration SSR-W – Stable Salt Reactor Wasteburner at Point Lepreau in New Brunswick Canada); Tokamak Energy; U-Battery Developments; Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation and Westinghouse Electric Company UK

In April 2019, three or four of these companies will be selected to receive a total of £40m to accelerate the development of the design over two years. The Office for nuclear regulation will receive £5m to support the process and a further £7m to build regulatory resources to assess and license new designs.

The new development funding schedule indicates the government has slowed down and broadened its approach to SMR deployment since it launched a competition for the best value SMR in March 2016.

The latest funding announcements could, for now, prevent an exodus of UK expertise to other countries supporting SMR development. Several advanced reactor developers are simultaneously pursuing SMR programs in North America, where government support programs are larger

The final selection of SMR designs will come later than originally expected and signals a change in scope and a recognition of multiple potential applications, Mike Middleton, Strategy ManagerNuclear at the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), said. The funding scope recognises the application of SMR technologies could be “broader than the traditional role as a baseload electricity provider.”

In addition to baseload supply, SMR developers are targeting applications such as renewable energy load following, industrial power and heat, district heating, and hydrogen production.(3)

Meanwhile Rolls-Royce is threatening to shut down its SMR development project unless the government makes a long-term commitment including financial support in the coming months. It has scaled back investment significantly, from several millions to simply paying for “a handful of salaries”, said Warren East, Rolls-Royce chief executive. David Orr, executive vice-president of Rolls-Royce’s SMR programme, said that without comfort from the government on two fronts the project “will not fly. We are coming to crunch time.”

Rolls-Royce wants its technology to be chosen as the first to apply for a licence when a slot is made available later this year. It also wants the government to provide financial support, initially of about £20m, to take the technology through the early stages of the licensing process. This would be match-funded by the consortium, which includes companies such as Laing O’Rouke and Arup. Rolls-Royce is one of several consortia to have bid in a governmentsponsored competition launched in 2015 to find the most viable technology for a new generation of small nuclear power plants.

 However, when the nuclear sector deal was finally unveiled last month, the government allocated funding only for more advanced modular reactors (AMRs). SMR’s, which typically use water-cooled reactors similar to existing nuclear power stations, were omitted from specific funding even though they are closer to becoming commercial. This has frustrated those putting forward SMR bids. Rolls-Royce has argued that developing its technology should be regarded as a “national endeavour” to develop nuclear skills that can be used to create an export led industry. (4) http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/NuClearNewsNo109.pdf

July 30, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – no commercial future? But they make the nuclear industry LOOK viable

Small modular reactors have little appeal https://climatenewsnetwork.net/small-modular-reactors-have-little-appeal/ July 27, 2018, by Paul Brown , London 

The last hope of the nuclear industry for competing with renewables is small modular reactors, but despite political support their future looks bleak.

On both sides of the Atlantic billions of dollars are being poured into developing small modular reactors. But it seems increasingly unlikely that they will ever be commercially viable.

The idea is to build dozens of the reactors (SMRs) in factories in kit form, to be assembled on site, thereby reducing their costs, a bit like the mass production of cars. The problem is finding a market big enough to justify the building of a factory to build nuclear power station kits.

For the last 60 years the trend has been to build ever-larger nuclear reactors, hoping that they would pump out so much power that their output would be cheaper per unit than power from smaller stations. However, the cost of large stations has escalated so much that without massive government subsidies they will never be built, because they are not commercially viable.

To get costs down, small factory-built reactors seemed the answer. It is not new technology, and efforts to introduce it are nothing new either, with UK hopes high just a few years ago. Small reactors have been built for decades for nuclear submarine propulsion and for ships like icebreakers, but for civilian use they have to produce electricity more cheaply than their renewable competitors, wind and solar power.

One of the problems for nuclear weapons states is that they need a workforce of highly skilled engineers and scientists, both to maintain their submarine fleets and constantly to update the nuclear warheads, which degrade over time. So maintaining a civil nuclear industry means there is always a large pool of people with the required training.

Although in the past the UK and US governments have both claimed there is no link between civil and military nuclear industries, it is clear that a skills shortage is now a problem.

It seems that both the industry and the two governments have believed SMRs would be able to solve the shortage and also provide electricity at competitive rates, benefitting from the mass production of components in controlled environments and assembling reactors much like flat-pack furniture.

This is now the official blueprint for success – even though there are no prototypes yet to prove the technology works reliably. But even before that happens, there are serious doubts about whether there is a market for these reactors.

Among the most advanced countries on SMR development are the USthe UK  and Canada. Russia has already built SMRs and deployed one of them as a floating power station in the Arctic. But whether this is an economic way of producing power for Russia is not known.

Finding investors

A number of companies in the UK and North America are developing SMRs, and prototypes are expected to be up and running as early as 2025. However, the next big step is getting investment in a factory to build them, which will mean getting enough advance orders to justify the cost.

A group of pro-nuclear US scientists, who believe that nuclear technology is vital to fight climate change, have concluded that there is not a large enough market to make SMRS work.

Their report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that large reactors will be phased out on economic grounds, and that the market for SMRs is too small to be viable. On a market for the possible export of the hundreds of SMRs needed to reach viability, they say none large enough exists.

They conclude: “It should be a source of profound concern for all who care about climate change that, for entirely predictable and resolvable reasons, the United States appears set to virtually lose nuclear power, and thus a wedge of reliable and low-carbon energy, over the next few decades.”

Doubts listed

In the UK, where the government in June poured £200 million ($263.8) into SMR development, a parliamentary briefing paper issued in July lists a whole raft of reasons why the technology may not find a market.

The paper’s authors doubt that a mass-produced reactor could be suitable for every site chosen; there might, for instance, be local conditions requiring extra safety features.

They also doubt that there is enough of a market for SMRs in the UK to justify building a factory to produce them, because of public opposition to nuclear power and the reactors’ proximity to population centres. And although the industry and the government believe an export market exists, the report suggests this is optimistic, partly because so many countries have already rejected nuclear power.

The paper says those countries still keen on buying the technology often have no experience of the nuclear industry. It suggests too that there may be international alarm about nuclear proliferation in some markets. – Climate News Network

July 28, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | Leave a comment