Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Westinghouse Joins the Small Modular Reactor Chase

Westinghouse is introducing a 200MWe pressurised water reactor based on the AP1000 reactor design. The entry of Westinghouse into the SMR race should spice things up a bit.
The Westinghouse SMR is a 200 MWe class, integral pressurized water reactor with all primary components located inside the reactor vessel. Passive safety systems and proven components – realized in the industry-leading AP1000® reactor design – are incorporated throughout to achieve the highest levels of safety and to reduce the number of components required. The Westinghouse SMR is fueled by an adaptation of our Westinghouse fuel design, the industry’s most proven and widely-used fuel design. It also leverages the latest U.S.
NRC-licensed safety and security features.

Small-scale nuclear reactors offer alternatives for providing affordable, secure sources of emissions-free generation to the world’s rapidly changing and diverse markets. _Westinghouse
It is clever of Westinghouse to utilise components from its larger reactor which is already NRC approved.

It has not escaped notice that Obama's Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is not treating all reactors and companies the same. General Electric, with its close ties to top levels of the Obama administration, is being treated particularly well by Obama's NRC, for example.

As far as SMRs go, the Obama administration is trying to have things both ways. By pretending to support SMRs, but in in his actions (not his words) helping to provide support to enemies of all reliable power sources -- including nuclear power. Obama's NRC is not helping the situation with its foot-dragging.

Meanwhile in Europe, the Dutch have suffered a rare stroke of enhanced awareness of reality, by turning away from the wind/solar rat-hole, toward a more reliable nuclear power future.

Finally, if nuclear fission is to make best use of available fuel, countries will need to develop useful fuel re-processing facilities. Wise fuel design & re-processing, plus rational reactor design, could easily provide many thousands of years of abundant power and heat to the planet.



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