Wednesday, 21 November 2012

US to fund small, modular nuclear reactors

The US government to fund up to half the cost of a five-year project to design and commercialize small modular nuclear power reactors: "o develop a new generation of nuclear power, the Obama administration announced Tuesday that it will fund up to half the cost of a five-year project to design and commercialize small, modular reactors for the United States.
The Department of Energy said it aims to have these reactors, which have attracted private funding from investors including Bill Gates, in operation by 2022. It said it will negotiate the project's total cost with Babcock & Wilcox, an energy technology company based in Charlotte, that will lead the project in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Bechtel International.
"Low-carbon nuclear energy has an important role to play in America's energy future," Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in announcing the award, citing President Obama's push for an all-of-the-above energy strategy that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. He said DOE will accept funding requests from other companies developing such technology.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are typically about one-third the size of current nuclear power plants. Although some of the technology has been used in naval propulsion plants, DOE says it's not been commercialized yet in the United States but could offer lower upfront costs, improved safety and greater flexibility. It says SMRs could be made in U.S. factories and moved to sites, including remote or small areas that cannot support large reactors, where they would be ready to "plug and play" upon arrival."

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