Thursday, February 18, 2010

Small Modular Nuclear Reactors Make Progress

The Babcock and Wilcox subsidiary, McDermott International Inc., has  entered into agreement with three customers: TVA, First Energy Corp., and Oglethorpe Power Corporation to get B & W's small modular reactor approved with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Small reactors which are smaller than a rail car and cost one tenth the cost of a big plant, could attract more investors as many see the massive investments in a nuclear reactor as a hindrance to enter into the business as the risk is too high if the project fails or gets delayed. Also, the fact that these small reactors have in-house waste storage capability for their lifetime i.e. a period of 60 years, and that they do not need to be near water sources as they could also be air-cooled, make them attractive for customers. Experts also believe that these small reactors should be safer than the larger ones as they are simpler and have fewer moving parts that can fail. _ Source 
While President Obama is making loud noises about government backed loans for building a new nuclear plant, he is -- as usual -- barking up the wrong tree.  If Obama were serious about developing new nuclear energy sources in the US, he would immediately set about to streamline the onerous regulatory process which makes it almost impossible to license newer, safer, more economical nuclear reactor designs.

Small modular reactors would provide for a much more robust and secure US power grid.  Big government solutions to local and regional problems are invariably more costly than beneficial.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out that having the TVA onboard is probably the most significant part of having a reactor approved.

2:29 PM  

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