posted on October 24, 2012 at 10:26 am
ASP Policy Analyst, Nick Cunningham, wrote an OpEd for The Hill’s Congress Blog on small modular reactors (SMRs). The article summarizes some of the findings in ASP’s recently released report, “Small Modular Reactors: A Possible Path Forward for Nuclear Power.” The article discusses some of the benefits that SMRs may hold over conventional large reactors, including advantages in cost, flexibility and safety. From the article:
First, SMRs offer flexibility. Since they are small, they can be added to the electric grid incrementally. Slow incremental additions better match the slow energy demand growth in the United States, which is projected to be less than 1% per year. Utilities have little interest in building a huge nuclear reactor when demand is not rising quickly enough to justify the investment.
Second, SMRs are designed with several safety features that are an improvement over large reactors. By using simpler designs with fewer coolant pipes and components, the risk of a safety accident declines.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, SMRs have an advantage in cost over large reactors. While a typical large reactor can cost between $6 and $9 billion, an SMR has an estimated price tag of only $250 million for a 100-megawatt reactor. With smaller upfront costs and shorter construction timeframes, utilities can get loans with lower interest rates.
To read the full article, click here.