Australian news, and some related international items

The nuclear lobby’s false story on small nuclear reactors

Too expensive, too slow: Even the baseload argument doesn’t work for nuclear. ReNeweconomy, Mark Diesendorf 29 October 2021

”………………………Small Modular Reactors

The nuclear industry is nowadays creating the false impression that new reactors exist that could solve the above major problems of existing reactors while contributing to climate mitigation.

The main hypotheticals are the so-called “small modular reactors” (SMRs), small enough to be distributed around a country and modular in the sense that they could be mass-produced by the thousand in factories and erected rapidly.

However, the actual situation is that SMRs don’t exist — they are paper reactors fuelled on hot air. They could not be installed in Australia for at least 15 years, if ever. By that time, given the political will, we could have an electricity system that’s entirely powered by renewable energymainly solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind, supplemented by hydro.

The reason why past and current generations of commercial nuclear power reactors are very big is to obtain economies of scale. Nuclear costs have been increasing while wind and especially solar costs continue to fall.

SMRs would have to be mass-produced in hundreds, possibly thousands, to overcome the loss of economy of scale and, even then, their electricity would at best cost much the same as from existing big nuclear power reactors.

There are no orders for multiple SMRs and that’s fortunate because the risk of proliferation would be greatly increased by distributing SMRs around the countryside. Reducing proliferation risk or increasing safety or improving waste management would all increase cost……………

SMRs that simultaneously solve proliferation, safety and waste management, while reducing costs, are a dangerous fantasy.

October 30, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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