Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) effectively mothballed

Another one (or more) bites the dust …http://johnquiggin.com/2014/04/20/another-one-or-more-bites-the-dust/ April 20th, 2014  Coming back yet again to nuclear power, I’ve been arguing for a while that nuclear power can only work (if at all) on the basis of a single standardised design, and that the only plausible candidate for this is the Westinghouse AP1000. One response from nuclear enthusiasts has been to point to possible future advances beyond the Gen III+ approach embodied by the AP1000 (and less promising competitors like EPR). The two most popular have been Small Modular Reactors and Generation IV (fast) reactors. Recent news suggests that both of these options are now dead.

The news on the Small Modular Reactor is that Babcock and Wilcox, the first firm to be selected by the US Department of Energy to develop a prototype, has effectively mothballed the project, sacking the CEO of its SMR subsidiary and drastically scaling back staffWestinghouse already abandoned its efforts. There is still one firm left pursuing the idea, and trying (so far unsuccessfully) to attract investors, but there’s no reason to expect success any time soon.

reactor-types-spin

As regards Generation IV, the technology road map issued by the Gen IV International Forum in 2002 has just been updated. All the timelines have been pushed out, mostly by 10 years or more. That is, Gen IV is no closer now than it was when the GenIV initiative started. In particular, there’s no chance of work starting on even a prototype before about 2020, which puts commercial availability well past 2035. Allowing for construction time, there’s no prospect of electricity generation on a significant scale before 2050, by which time we will need to have completely decarbonized the economy.

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One Response to “Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) effectively mothballed”

  1. CaptD Says:

    SMR’s and similar forms of new nuclear generation are nowhere near either being developed and/or ready to be commercially deployed in the real world.

    In fact R&D is now being reduced as US Energy companies and others World-wide realize that there are better ways to invest their resources that have none of the drawbacks to using nuclear.
    Babcock & Wilcox scaling back work on small modular nuke program | SNL http://shar.es/TA8JM 
    +
    China has given its scientist until 2024 to prove Thorium will be economically viable, so the future of NEW nuclear is now at 15 years and counting downward…!

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