Monday, 10 December 2012

UK to dramatically increase nuclear power generation through use of mini-reactors

UK to dramatically increase nuclear power generation through use of mini-reactors: "The plants – the height of a three-storey building – would create enough power to light a small town and would be six times cheaper to build than the huge new power stations being planned.
Next month, the Department of Energy and Climate Change will publish a long-term strategy for nuclear power. The Government is keen for Britain to become a world leader in constructing such plants.
But as we lack the research required, finance ministers are encouraging scientists at the National Nuclear Laboratory, headquartered in Sellafield, Cumbria, to collaborate on international projects into small modular reactors (SMRs).
Along with mPower from Virginia, Britain’s Rolls-Royce is a global leader in the field as it has experience in building small nuclear reactors for submarines.
Demand for SMRs is likely to be strong, as they can be built in areas where large nuclear plants, which require huge water resources for cooling, cannot be constructed.
And mini-nuclear reactors are far more flexible than current power stations, as their output can be increased or they can be turned off altogether. The department has also identified valuable exports to underdeveloped countries with inadequate grid systems.
Most important is that SMRs cost £200million to £300million to build compared with £2billion for the typical large nuclear plants now being planned for the UK.
They can be built in factories and then transported to a site, rather than be part of a huge earth-moving project."

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