Monday, June 19, 2017

Would you buy a Nimble Dragon?

There seems to be some renewed effort from the nuclear power industry generally to push small, modular nuclear reactors.   I say this based on an interview I heard on Radio National one recent morning with what sounded like a PR person for the industry out to sell the idea.   Actual product ready to sell, though, is still not around, despite years of talking about this potential industry.

But I see in the Japan Times that the Chinese may now be trying to develop this as a market:
China is betting on new, small-scale nuclear reactor designs that could be used in isolated regions, on ships and even aircraft as part of an ambitious plan to wrest control of the global nuclear market.

Within weeks, state-owned China National Nuclear Corp. (CNNC) is set to launch a small modular reactor (SMR) dubbed the “Nimble Dragon” with a pilot plant on the island province of Hainan, according to company officials.

Unlike new large scale reactors that cost upward of $10 billion per unit and need large safety zones, SMRs create less toxic waste and can be built in a single factory.

A little bigger than a bus and able to be transported by truck, SMRs could eventually cost less than one-tenth the price of conventional reactors, developers predict.
Sure they make great mobile phones, but not entirely sure (to put it mildly) that they have the runs on the board re environmental responsibility to trust a nuclear reactor shipped out from there.

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