Big Vs. Small Scale Nuclear

  • The concept is that you can’t take a large reactor with all of its pumps and valves and piping and just shrink it down and expect to see an economic advantage
  • In a standard reactor, there are pipes running everywhere, and pumps and valves to circulate water to the reactor core.
  • The hot fuel creates steam that is piped out of the reactor vessel to run a turbine.
  • In the NuScale reactor, there are no pumps. Water circulates naturally as it gets heated and then cools off. The whole reactor sits underground in a tank of water that will flood everything in case of an accident.
  • A large traditional plant also takes a decade to build. During that time, a builder pays interest on borrowed money and jumps through numerous regulatory hoops.

References:

Joyce, Christopher. “Is The Future Of Nuclear Power In Minireactors?” NPR, NPR, 6 June 2011, www.npr.org/2011/06/06/137004383/is-the-future-of-nuclear-power-in-mini-reactors.

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