Small Modular Nuclear Reactors to Provide Safe, Reliable & Economical Electricity
In December 2013, the DOE announced an award to NuScale Power LLC, located in Portland, OR. The award was given mainly on account of NuScale Power’s support to design, certification & commercialization of small size nuclear reactors in the US.
NuScale has plans to fabricate & modularize all major components in a factory setting. Further it will transfer the module capable of producing 45 MWe to the plant site. Its being expected that small size will lead to lesser capital cost & construction time while the resulting output will be safe, reliable, clean & economical electricity. It will also allow for easy installation of extra modular units in locations having more electrical demand. Along with NuScale, other states involved in the development work include Idaho, Wyoming, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Arizona.
Westinghouse had submitted proposals to the DOE but it could not be selected for developing their small nuclear reactors. As per the Cranberry-based nuclear firm’s CEO Danny Roderick “The main issue with small modular reactors is neither the technology nor the deployment part, but its actually the lack of customers. You can’t expect getting your money back unless you build at least 30-50 of them”.
As per energy secretary Ernest Moniz “A new generation of reliable, safe and minimal carbon nuclear energy technology is represented by small modular reactors. The DOE is totally committed to empowering the role of nuclear energy in the low carbon future of America. Small modular reactors will ensure that we maintain our leadership in the secured & efficient use of nuclear power across the globe”.
The concept of small nuclear reactors is not new. Since 1976, four thermal units (62 MWt) are operating in Siberia. At present, development & deployment of small size nuclear reactors is reported in countries including Canada, China, South Korea, India, Japan, South Africa, and Pakistan.
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