Friday, December 18, 2009

How Long Does it Take to Build a Nuclear Reactor?

According a spokesman at the Nuclear Energy Institute, it takes ten years to build a new nuclear reactor in the US.
A single nuclear power plant takes at least 10 years to build in the U.S., says Paul Genoa, director of policy development for the Nuclear Energy Institute. _SciAm
But Mr. Genoa is referring to a standard double reactor design of about 1 GW each, constructed on site. What about small modular reactors that can be constructed in a factory, and shipped to your site -- whether on land, underground, on a floating platform or ship, or in a remote polar or mountain location?

The Hyperion nuclear reactor is one example of such small reactors which can be factory-built.
“We have customer commitments for over a hundred units already. We’re going to be very busy! In fact, we’re now scheduling deliveries out to 2018-2020 even though we expect to go to market in the 2013-2014 timeframe.”

Hyperion plans to build three manufacturing facilities: one in the USA to support the North and Latin America markets, and a third in Asia, probably Japan. Although the firm hasn’t made a decision on where its UK plant will be located, it’s likely to be near existing nuclear facilities, which are clustered around the Sellafield site in Cumbria, northeast England.
It would take a matter of months to build such a reactor in-factory, and a matter of weeks to construct the rudimentary infrastructure required at the final plant site. Once government regulators get up to speed on the new, small factory-built reactors, approval should be speeded up appreciably.

Brian Wang's NextBigFuture is one of the best places to stay informed on issues of nuclear energy -- both fission and fusion.



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