SMRs are hitting strong headwinds

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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
104,658
South Puget Sound, WA
As promising as Small Modular Reactors sound there are some big issues to solve. One is waste. They may create a lot more radioactive waste than conventional reactors and the US still does not have a good, long-term storage plan for this waste.
The other elephant in the room is cost, which is growing quickly. The promise of low cost due to factory production is having trouble penciling out.
 
;hm <--- this is my surprised face.
 
Cost over runs and waste storage for nuclear reactors…where have we heard this before??
 
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As promising as Small Modular Reactors sound there are some big issues to solve. One is waste. They may create a lot more radioactive waste than conventional reactors and the US still does not have a good, long-term storage plan for this waste.
The other elephant in the room is cost, which is growing quickly. The promise of low cost due to factory production is having trouble penciling out.
And exactly what is the issue with Yucca Mountain?
 
And exactly what is the issue with Yucca Mountain?
lol, it's in my backyard (say very few people, but enough to get it killed, in particular when you have the majority leader in the senate).

I thought that technically it was the best solution we would have (at least now and in the next few decades).
 
Lovely...
 
Cool short video of a SMR power module being forged.
 
Jeez, that's one big bicycle chain
 
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I wonder what the material is that the pressure vessels are made from from?

A 10ft diameter vessel 8in thick is child's play for a standard vessel shop if its made out of common materials.
some heterostructure of ferritic and austenitic steel. (Surprisingly conventional.)
 
no, two separate layers, rather than a microstructure alloy.
(Cladding rather than a mix)

As far as I remember from my (old fashioned) mat sci undergrad that included a lot of steel and a little nuclear applications.

(And I assume here that the field has not significantly changed from back then - consistent with the slow pace of change in this field...)
 
As noted in the initial posting, the cost of slow factory production has been a serious issue so far. If this shaves a year off of production time, that will be a major improvement.
 
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Interesting article on two currently operational SMRs

 
Interesting article on two currently operational SMRs

It was neat that the Chinese pebble bed did not need to shut down for refueling. Both seem to be operating with really reduced reliability.

I just don’t see this going anywhere for grid power. We have proven solutions and they will get cheaper in the next decade. While costs of SMRs is an unknown at this point. I like the idea of nuclear but it really requires government backing and commitment at a large scale.
 
Interesting article on two currently operational SMRs


If I did the math right, the Russian reactor, running 8000 hrs per year for 40 years would produce $560M worth of electricity if that was priced at 5 cents/kWh. Or equivalently, about $1M/month of operation.

I'm very curious what the construction cost alone (ignoring the operating and fuel costs) is for that unit, and whether $12M/yr would even pay the interest on the construction cost.

Ofc I get that it supplies power to remote arctic towns. But then that is its niche... power where other options are very expensive too.
 
So what I don’t understand is why we don’t leverage the reactor design for the Ford class carriers. 700 Mw fits on a boat (a big one). Design is done, it’s an operating reactor, parts are available and will be for the life of the boats.

I know they aren’t small but overhead has been paid for by the government.

 
Good question, I was wondering the same thing. We have been making them for ships and subs for a long time and they have a good track record.
 
presumably cost? I think they also run on higher enriched fuel?
 
presumably cost? I think they also run on higher enriched fuel?
True and true. But my point is government can contract and have built and maintain 100s of reactors why can’t we the people benefit from this technology. SMRs I don’t think have much future given the dropping price of wind solar and batteries. If I’m the name of grid reliability and security why don’t they offer a proven design to the public. App read that some new French vessels will have reactors that use the same fuel as their power grid reactors. Smart!!!

 
They will remain niche; that was their initial intent given the absence of economics of scale.
They might be useful for places like ornl, with their huge power consumption for the supercomputing and neutron work- provide a base load and modulate on top of that with the grid, without hogging the grid for all of their needs.
 
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