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Nuclear plant designers, operators form consortium to advance small reactor technology

Leading developers and potential customers of small modular reactors (SMR) have formed a consortium to advance the commercialization of the innovative reactor designs. The memorandum of understanding establishes an organization called SMR Start.

The organization is designed to help accelerate the commercialization of SMRs by creating an industry-driven entity whereby potential reactor owners/operators would be a unified voice in a variety of policy and regulatory issues and in creating cost-share funding structures.

Initial SMR Start members include BWX Technologies Inc.; Duke Energy; Energy Northwest; Holtec; NuScale; PSEG Nuclear; Southern Co.; SCANA; and Tennessee Valley Authority. The organization will represent these companies in interactions with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Congress and the executive branch on small reactor issues.

The Nuclear Energy Institute is assisting in the formation of SMR Start and will work closely with the organization on policies and priorities relating to small reactor technology. SMR Start will focus on light-water reactor based SMR designs and will serve as a demonstration to the public and private sectors of small reactor customers’ commitment to the market.

Nuclear power plants supply around one-fifth of America’s electricity and nearly 63% of its carbon-free electricity. The Energy Information Administration forecasts an 18% growth in electricity demand by 2040. In light of this forecast and nuclear plant retirements, the US market will need more than 100 new nuclear plants by mid-century to maintain the benefits of a diverse electricity portfolio, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).



As many a 400+ of those small NPPs would be required in USA by 2050 to maintain a 20% share of the market.

However, more home/building rooftop solar and on-shore/off-shore ultra large wind turbines + storage could reduce e-energy from other sources, specially from very costly NPPs.

Henry Gibson

Canada should promote its CANDU small reactors because they can be built in a short period of time. They should build rows of them along the US Mexican border and also along the Canadian US border. They don't require large reactor pressure vessels and can use local labor. They can lease the heavy water at low cost because it is just sitting around now now being highly useful. They don't need lots of water if it is not available because Geothermal power plants have developed a way of using only air for cooling. ..HG..

Henry Gibson

Another thing about nuclear reactors is that the Japan reactors and TMI did not have a fuel meltdown; The Zirconium Cladding of the fuel rods decomposed in the water or steam at high temperatures after the nuclear chain reaction stopped. This decomposition alone where the fuel pellets were no longer supported would have stopped the reactor if it had not already been stopped hours before. It is unfortunate that the reactors were not built below sea-level where flooding valves could have kept them full of sea water and radioactive water would not have flown back into the ocean. The Zirconium cladding could have been kept cool enough. The highly radioactive elements that were producing the heat would be sufficiently gone in a few weeks so that little water would be boiled. There is every radioactive and non radioactive element, that was in the reactor, already in the worlds oceans before the accident, because there is already much Uranium in the ocean and it is always naturally fissioning and producing every element that reactors produce. There is only a fraction of the U235 remaining from the time that the earth was formed. All radioactivity is dangerous, but humans have built in radioactivity in the potassium of our bodies and we survive it just like we survive the toxic poison oxygen because the body repairs itself constantly. Humans expose themselves to far more dangers than nuclear radiation and reactors. Getting into an automobile is one of them. People in India and other places in the world have been living constantly in higher radioactive areas than Fukushima for centuries without high levels of radioactivity related deaths or indeed any that can be related directly to nuclear radiation.

"40K occurs in natural potassium (and thus in some commercial salt substitutes) in sufficient quantity that large bags of those substitutes can be used as a radioactive source for classroom demonstrations.

40K is the radioisotope with the largest abundance in the body. In healthy animals and people, 40K represents the largest source of radioactivity, greater even than 14C. In a human body of 70 kg mass, about 4,400 nuclei of 40K decay per second. The activity of natural potassium is 31 Bq/g." (From Wikipedia) The Gamma and Beta rays from this decomposition are both more powerful than most X-Rays and they are directly in every cell. Yes the body is good at repairs. The polonium-210 used to kill a Russian defector is half gone after four months as it is replaced by lead.

Nuclear energy source do not have to be reactors. The large Mars rover is powered by plutonium-238. The heat source will be at half power in 80 years. The US is starting to make more of it. Perhaps from nuclear wastes. An additional one quarter of the amount sent should have been sent also in a highly optimized free piston Stirling generator as a test for double the power. Strontium-90 can be extracted from nuclear wastes directly and easily, but it is at half power in 30 years. It has been used by Russians for remote power.


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