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This is Not Your Fathers Nuclear Power Plant

On my recent trip to Oregon I met with venture capital investors in NuScale Power, which is trailblazing, the brave new world of “new” nuclear. Their technology has been pioneered by Dr. Jose Reyes, dean of the School of Engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

This is definitely not your father’s nuclear power plant. The company has applied for design certification with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a mini light water reactor with a passive cooling system rated at 45 megawatts. The idea is to site a dozen of these together which in aggregate can generate 540 Megawatts, little more than half the size of the old 1 gigawatt monsters.

Running a dozen small reactors instead of one big one makes for vastly easier operation and maintenance, as individual units can be brought on and offline as needed. Small size also eliminates the need for gargantuan, expensive containment structures. This power source runs at night, when solar and wind plants are offline. Modular design makes mass production of these units economical. Once certification, approval, permitting, and construction are complete, we can expect to see the NuScale plants running by 2018. After all, if something similar works in nuclear powered submarines and aircraft carriers, why not in industrial zones on the outskirts of town? For more on NuScale’s innovative efforts visit their website by clicking here at http://www.nuscalepower.com/

By. Mad Hedge Fund Trader




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  • Anonymous on December 21 2010 said:
    NuScale's is one of a cluster of exciting nuclear power technologies which could revolutionize the future of electrical power in the developed world.The US is currently under an "energy starvation" regulatory regime, and will not enjoy the benefits of this nascent revolution.Other nations such as China, Japan, Korea, and perhaps Australia and Canada, do not suffer under such self-induced handicaps.
  • Anonymous on December 22 2010 said:
    Sorry, but I'm not convinced that a dozen small plants are better than a large plant, at least for big industrial countries. The 12 reactors here in Sweden - together with hydro - may have provided the lowest cost power in the world, at least until the anti-nuclear booster club swung into action.By the way Alfonso, if you are in Australia you do NOT sing the praises of nuclear. Not even Fred Banks would make that mistake.
  • Anonymous on December 26 2010 said:
    It looks as though the purpose of the nuclear plants is to provide power when the solar plants cannot provide power. In what way is that beneficial? The solar plants will just add to the cost although they are not needed since the nuclear plants would provide sufficient power. Also, it would require that the nuclear plants be shut down and restarted regularly, or at least have their output greatly reduced when solar power is available. The ability of nuclear plants to do that would greatly increase their cost and almost certainly reduce their life.The cost of building and operating numerous small reactors is almost certain to be much greater than the cost of one large reactor. Small reactors could be useful in remote places where connecting to the grid is not practical, but this proposal seems to make little sense.
  • Anonymous on December 26 2010 said:
    This business with solar - and wind - reminds me of talk about foreign military installing freedom and democracy in Afghanistan. It's so completely crazy that it makes you wonder what our political masters are tripping on. Yes, some solar, wind, biomass, etc etc is necessary, but reliability and 'extra energy' will have to be provided by nuclear, at least in the long run. Why is that so hard to understand?
  • Anonymous on December 27 2010 said:
    Just a few clarifications to the comments that have been made:First- the nuclear plants would not only be running at night. The article just points out that they would be producing electricity when other carbon-free options cannot. They would operate continuously.Second- the smaller size may be cost effective, but it also provides a means for much more inherent safety measures. The NuScale design capitalizes on the safety opportunities that come with using many smaller units, rather than one large unit.Third- an additional benefit is that the whole plant doesn't need to be taken offline in order to refuel or perform routine maintenance. Only one unit at a time would be removed from the grid, supplying a more continuous output.
  • Anonymous on December 27 2010 said:
    Fourth- conservative cost projections show that nuclear power is competitive with coal power based on cost per installed kilowatt. It is difficult to say because no plants have been built in about 30 years in the US. The competitive cost is shown to improve when using a modular design, rather than one large plant. Also, a utility who chooses to build this plant would not have to financially support the entire project at once. They can bring units online as demand increases, and increase the number of units at their plant as more capital becomes available.The benefits of nuclear power, especially in this type of application, are far beyond this. It is worth digging deeper and really educating yourself on the matter.
  • Anonymous on December 28 2010 said:
    One important thing I don't like with NewScale Power is the management. :sad: To many ex-military in Uranium arms, the last one he was the head in Nuclear section of a submarine.No, I realy don't trust that at all.But I support greatly the Uranium Power for electricity.

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