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Power The Almighty Buck

NuScale Power Awarded $226 Million To Deploy Small Nuclear Reactor Design 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the melts-down-in-your-mouth,-not-in-your-hand dept.
New submitter ghack writes "NuScale power, a small nuclear power company in Corvallis Oregon, has won a Department of Energy grant of up to $226 million dollars to enable deployment of their small modular reactor. The units would be factory built in the United States, and their small size enables a number of potential niche applications. NuScale argues that their design includes a number of unique passive safety features: 'NuScale's 45-megawatt reactor, which can be grouped with others to form a utility-scale plant, would sit in a 5 million-gallon pool of water underground. That means it needs no pumps to inject water to cool it in an emergency - an issue ... highlighted by Japan's crippled Fukushima plant.' This was the second of two DOE small modular reactor grants; the first was awarded to Babcock and Wilcox, a stalwart in the nuclear industry."
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NuScale Power Awarded $226 Million To Deploy Small Nuclear Reactor Design

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  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:10PM (#45682943) Journal

    Any kind of leak and you've suddenly got 5 million gallons of contaminated water.
    Of course, this assumes that your containment pool doesn't leak (yea right).

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:36PM (#45683253) Homepage

    This company can produce power now. Focus Fusion might be able to produce significant amounts of excess power in a 10-25 year time frame. Or maybe never.

  • Re:Thorium (Score:4, Insightful)

    by weilawei (897823) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:44PM (#45683351) Homepage
    Indeed. I don't see why we're pushing a technology that we know to have serious issues with stability, even on a smaller scale. The MSRE showed that we can build a safe nuclear reactor. In over 15,000 hours of critical operation, not once did the system exceed its safety margins. There were 0 instances of control rod scrams. No matter which mistakes you point at (metal embrittlement, evolution of uranium and plutonium)--we learned from them and figured out how to overcome them. This is how science and engineering works, and at the end of the day, we have a far superior design--but no funding.
  • by weilawei (897823) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:47PM (#45683389) Homepage
    Then we'd better start funding it now, rather than later. What happens when something goes wrong with these "conservative" designs that are known to have many many issues, like melting down? Can you say NIMBY all over again, just when people are starting to reconsider the promise of nuclear power?
  • by slew (2918) on Friday December 13, 2013 @03:59PM (#45683533)

    You missed a few other open issues related to decommisioning (e.g., mostly what to do with the salt).

    In any case, the only efforts I know of are:
    FUJI which I think died in the fund-raising stage back in 2011.
    TTS [ttsinc.jp] an attempt to resurrect this.
    Thor Energy [thorenergy.no]

    MSRE showed that the physics worked, however, as with many things, the engineering problems remain. AFAIK, most people are attempting to figure out the salt problem. The metal problem is currently unsolved (and a much more important problem since you need the reactor to have a reasonable operating life to make the whole thing economical in the first place).

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