The US Energy Department Supports the Development of Small Nuclear Reactors
The Energy Department, seeking to promote the development of a small modular reactor that could be factory-built and cheaply installed, on Tuesday chose a consortium consisting of Babcock & Wilcox, the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel International to receive a dollar-for-dollar cost match in the creation of a prototype.
The department said the amount of money involved had yet to be negotiated. But the Obama administration has been seeking $500 million to spend over five years on two projects.
The idea behind small reactors is that they could be built in a factory that would allow for lower costs through serial production, if not actual mass production. Factory fabrication would also make quality control easier. The reactor would be shipped by barge or rail car, and modules could be added as demand grew.
Small reactors could be easier to cool if an accident occurred. And some analysts say that they could make good export products for use in countries with weak grids that would be destabilized by huge reactors.
What power capacity do these SMR's have?
Is the idea to have thousands, or perhaps millions of them in operation spread around the country?
What will happen to the increased volume of spent, radioactive, nuclear fuel that the modules will produce?
If the plan is to have these SMRs in more locations around the country, supplying local neighbourhoods with power, etc. then they would need to be 100% safe. any form of nuclear meltdown would effect more people, as I assume the SMRs would be deployed closer to populous areas than giant NPPs.
This picture suggests that the SMRs are not actually that small at all, standing at 35 metres tall.
Also the fear of nuclear radiation can be reduced as the whole module is planned to be buried underground in concrete shell.
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