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Setback For Small Nuclear Reactors: B&W Cuts mPower Funding 165

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the invest-in-canned-air dept.
mdsolar (1045926) writes with news that funding for the mPower, a Small Modular [Nuclear] Reactor, has been cut due to the inability to find investors interested in building a prototype. From the article: "The pullback represents a major blow to the development of SMRs, which have been hailed as the next step forward for the nuclear power industry. ... All told, B&W, the DOE, and partners have spent around $400 million on the mPower program. Another $600 million was needed just to get the technology ready for application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for licensing. ... B&W plans to continue low-level R&D on the mPower technology with a view to commercial deployment in the mid-2020s, said CEO James Ferland. But without a major shift in the business environment and in investor perceptions of the risks and rewards associated with nuclear power, that seems fanciful."
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Setback For Small Nuclear Reactors: B&W Cuts mPower Funding

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  • Re:I have a project (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:37AM (#46865369)

    That rant was all emotion-fuelled fallacies.
    1) No-one was suggesting making "suitcase nukes" and sending them around, because nuclear bombs and reactors necessarily work differently. That's why the worst case scenario in a nuclear power plant is a meltdown, not a nuclear explosion.
    2) Fukishima was not a nuclear disaster, it was a huge tsunami damaging a nuclear facility, complicating the existing natural disaster due to risks of radiation exposure. The technology being researched was not featured. There were also no terrorists (or unicorns or fairies) involved.
    3) Nuclear fusion is promising and exciting but has net negative power production at the moment, as opposed to fission which has had massive net positive power production for a long time.
    4) People researching small nuclear reactions want to merge Yahoo and Myspace to make megawatt xrays for bird watching? You'll have to ask your unicorns and fairies about this one because it doesn't sound like anything on this planet.
    5) Spouting insults at people doesn't make them wrong nor you right.
    There are real risks to using nuclear power, but if you are to ever understand them you need to calm down and accept their actual nature, scale and likelihood instead of conflating everything with the word "nuclear" in it with the explosion of nuclear weapons. As an advanced course you can compare individual approaches fairly to their practical alternatives (which all have their own issues) before making a judgement.

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:50AM (#46865415) Journal

    Given the work China and India are doing on molten-salt Thorium cycle reactors, I can't see why anyone would spend another dime on a pressurized water reactor again.

    -jcr

  • by macpacheco (1764378) on Tuesday April 29, 2014 @12:59AM (#46865449)

    India is decades away. Perhaps China might make it happen before 2030. A big part of China and India's effort is an academic / jobs program. I'm not saying they are incompetent, but they are not results focused. I'm hoping to seeing the first molten salt reactor circa 2025, in commercial operation. For now I'm going out on a limb, but a few years we'll know the credibility of that project with more certainty.
    I'm talking about Terrestrial Energy Inc of Canada, Dr. David LeBlanc brainchild. His molten salt presentations are the most end goal oriented ones, focusing very clearly on getting to the market instead of selling an optimal idea. Giving up many optional features for minimizing certification issues to the greatest extent possible. Focusing on the minimum design that will be usable with an order of magnitude better fuel burnup, safety, simplicity and cost than typical large water cooled reactors. The full LFTR design is a great idea, filled with design challenges and regulatory issues along the way. Dr LeBlanc design is derived from the ORNL DMSR. LFTR design as advocated by FLiBe energy is on the other end of the spectrum.

APL is a write-only language. I can write programs in APL, but I can't read any of them. -- Roy Keir

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