Saturday, October 01, 2011

US DOE Not Giving Up on Nuclear -- Blames US NRC for Obstructing Technology

The US Department of Energy is promoting the development of new nuclear technology, including small modular reactors, molten salt reactors, and other advanced reactors. In a recent energy technology review (PDF), the DOE points to the licensing policies of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission as being a primary obstacle to the timely production of cleaner, safer advanced nuclear reactors.

The DOE is financing research and development of advanced reactor technology both in the US and overseas:

MIT wins DOE grant to study and develop next generation advanced nuclear reactors

US and Czech Republic join to research advanced molten salt reactors and other nuclear reactor technology

China is certainly eager to develop advanced reactor technologies, and will not be held back by the US NRC's obstructionism. One area of advanced reactor research in China is the development of the thorium molten salt reactor. Thorium is cheaper, more abundant, and will burn more completely than uranium fission cycle fuels.

Babcock and Wilcox (B&W) has completed its integrated system test facility (IST) for the purpose of extensive testing of its small modular reactor, mPower. B&W is an established nuclear developer and manufacturer, and intends to do what it takes to outlast the sluggish and demanding NRC licensing obstacle course.

Governments of Jordan, South Africa, Vietnam, and perhaps Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt, are still planning to develop new nuclear power in their countries.

Video: Westinghouse's Michael Anness says that small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) are the future of nuclear power



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