Monday, 16 April 2012

Developing Small Modular Reactors in the U.S

A good read on developing Small Modular Reactors in the U.S: "The development of small modular reactors in the U.S. continues to gain support as the country searches for clean energy options. Although concepts are still being designed, the U.S. Department of Energy gave the sector a boost in March when it released a Funding Opportunity Announcement to establish cost-shared agreements to support the design and licensing of SMRs. A total of $450 million will be made available to support two SMRs over five years.
"America's choice is clear," said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "We can either develop the next generation of clean energy technologies, which will help create thousands of jobs and export opportunities here in America, or we can wait for other countries to take the lead."
The Energy Department said SMRs are about one-third the size of current nuclear power plants and are designed to offer a host of safety, siting, construction and economic benefits. The size, according to DOE, makes SMRs ideal for small electric grids and locations that cannot support large reactors. Also, the reduced cost due to factory production may make the SMR more attractive to utilities seeking to add a smaller amount of power.
"We really see a market right now that includes utilities that don't have a large financial base and that are interested in clean, sustainable power. They are looking at the SMR as an investment of a billion dollars versus several billion dollars for large nuclear," said John Goossen, vice president of Innovation and SMR Development at Westinghouse. "These utilities, in most cases, do not need large chunks of power and are looking to add power incrementally as part of their plans for growth.""

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