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Would you like to host a nuclear reactor in your backyard?

picture (c) gizmodo.com

NOT many people want a nuclear power station in their backyard, but that’s the prospect facing communities on both sides of the Atlantic as governments weigh up where to build a new wave of reactors.

In the US, where more than 30 reactors are up for approval, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has already given the green light to sites in Clinton, Illinois, and GrandGulf, Mississippi.

Now a UK government report released on Wednesday alongside an energy policy paper is offering the first clues to where some of the 10 planned plants might be built.

Existing sites at Hinkley Point in Somerset and Sizewell in Suffolk are best suited for the £1.2 billion reactors because of their good connections to the electricity grid, the report says.

Bradwell in Essex and Dungeness in Kent are also possibilities.

These coastal sites, which are all in southern England, may require flood defences because of the threat of rising sea levels due to climate change, says the report’s author Ian Jackson, an independent nuclear consultant.

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  1. “NRC has already given the green light to sites in Clinton, Illinois, and GrandGulf, Mississippi.”

    No, actually the only COL (Construction/Operation Combined License) the NRC has issued besides the Summer 2&3 and the Vogtle 3&4 plants (which are all AP1000s already under construction) is for an ESBWR at Fermi-3:

    Grand Gulf was withdrawn a long time ago, and Clinton never asked for one.

    It really doesn’t take a lot of time to verify this – I hope the rest of the author’s information is more accurate.

  2. Playing around and wasting time on experimental, iffy, reactor designs is just that – a waste of time. We don’t have time anymore. We should have super funded Alvin Weinberg at Oak Ridge when he successfully ran a Thorium molten salt reactor for five years. It was deemed a big success by all, including Washington who then said to close it down because it would not contribute to building Cold War A-bombs. This is probably the greatest mistake ever committed by mankind – because now we have lethal global warming that may bring down the human performance on earth in the near term.

    Weinberg foresaw just this ending for mankind and that’s why after he left the elite Manhattan Project team he got into building the Thorium reactor. The DOE should step up now with the kind of funding that is needed to push the current molten salt reactor into complete success and production.

    DOE – please start an emergency search for another of the greatest “doers” of all time – Admiral Rickover. We need a Rickover now!

    • “Washington who then said to close it down because it would not contribute to building Cold War A-bombs”
      I agree with most everything you write, but must take exception to that statement. By 1973, when Alvin Weinberg was let go and the MSRE effectively terminated in favor of research on sodium-cooled fast breeders, the US had ample supplies of weapons grade plutonium, and was cutting back on production from their purpose-built graphite reactors at Hanford and their heavy water ones at Savannah River.
      The overall policy did include a fleet of LMFBRs like Clinch River to produce power and simultaneously breed reactor-grade plutonium for substitution of uranium, which was thought to be in limited supply. For much more see Kirk Sorenson’s excellent thesis on the history of thorium-based nuclear power: trace(dot)tennessee(dot)edu/utk…


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