modular.reactorsx299Small nuclear reactors could lower carbon dioxide emissions in the US, as they  are much cheaper, safer and easier to build and operate than their regular-sized ancestors.

These small reactors have gained quite a support from the government and the corporate sector, as  the US Department of Energy (DoE) launched their program to provide $452 million in grants to companies that can match the funds.

The first winner of the US DoE grant was announced in November last year. The company, Babcock & Wilcox, has already been investing in the development of a 180-megawatt reactor and its operational system.

The fear of shutting down coal power plants in the US due to new carbon emission regulations, was the main driving force behind the urge for companies to invest in alternative energy sources. Small nuclear reactors were considered the most suitable replacement, since wind and solar require fossil-fuel backup.

In addition, small nuclear reactors are much more affordable than larger ones, which minimizes the risk for the companies.

Another main advantage of the small nuclear reactors, is the fact that they do not require extensive planning zones, which already makes  handling logistics and construction much easier. Moreover, these reactors can be built much faster.

It is still debatable, however, whether the lower cost in the beginning will not result in higher energy prices. John Kelly, a deputy assistant secretary for nuclear reactor technologies at the Department of Energy is convinced that these will bring down the cost, because of the anticipated mass production in factories.

However, in the US, natural gas power plants are the major competitor of nuclear. The success of the project will strongly depend on the prices of natural gas and the belief that emissions should be reduced.

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7 COMMENTS

    • KurtHansen we covered a couple of catalytic conversions too. are any carbon emissions related to the production of the catalyst?

      • bnjroo KurtHansen  i would imagine some carbon emissions are produced by the mining and production of the catalysts. after all, we don’t have a hydrogen infrastructure in place yet for transport, milling, smelting, producing electricity in general…
        i actually first learned about Daniel Nyocera on your pages!
        thanks for all you do, kurt

  1. yuk! what about the nuclear waste proliferation in handling, transport, storage for 300,000+ years? these are anything but clean! the money would be better spent on splitting hydrogen on demand from water. no pollution or waste storage issues, scaleable and if it breaks down, NO DISASTER!
    lest we think fast neutron is the answer as suggested in the article at: https://www.greenoptimistic.com/2013/03/14/fast-neutron-reactors-may-be-the-key-to-quickly-ridding-the-world-of-nuclear-waste/
    “Fast-neutron reactors are a viable option for breaking down nuclear waste because they need only 2% of the space typically required by a conventional reactor. So, instead of nuclear waste remaining in storage for 300,000 years under conventional methods, fast reactors would decrease the time to 300 years. This will ultimately reduce some of the need for geological repositories.”
    who among us can predict society’s continuity over 300 years? why create the problem in the first place? aren’t we any smarter than that?

    • KurtHansen personally, i’d be happy with NO nuclear power, but there is no perfect solution. windmills, hydroelectric dams, and solar panels have never covered the countryside with radioactive fallout, but they also kill birds, disrupt fish migration, and do other things to the environment.
      to answer your final question though, the problem isn’t intelligence, but being able to see the outcome of all our actions, which is impossible. we can make fairly good guesses, but we’ll never know for certain.

      • bnjroo KurtHansen yes, attempting to live with zero impact is difficult in modern society and impossible with the numbers of humans on the planet. i’d say the damage to the countryside of wind and solar is a lot less severe and potentially long lasting than chernobyl or fukushima or perhaps the next big one, san onofre, when they recomission that monster! and what would the damage be from a power source like water based HOD? nothing intrinsic, no worse than any other vehicle or building footprint and a lot better than most! ;^)

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