Small modular reactor

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Small modular reactors (SMR) are nuclear fission reactors of a smaller scale than conventional ones. So far this is only theory; currently the industry is at the prototype stage.

"As costs escalate, several countries with nuclear ambitions have abandoned plans for large reactors. But the industry is adapting, seeking to reinvent itself by mass-producing small off-the-shelf nuclear reactors instead."[1]

SMRs have been propagated as a less expensive alternative to conventional NPPs. The range of designs varies from scaled down versions of existing reactor designs to entirely new generation IV designs.

Disagreement appears among the nuclear lobbyists what plants shall be counted as SMR. Thus, the figures provided on this issue by different sources vary much. According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) article from January 2019 five SMRs are under construction around the world[2]. The IAEA Advanced Reactors Information System (ARIS) counts one Indian reactor as "operational" SMR and a Chinese and a Russian one as SMRs "under construction"[3]. The Russian Floating Nuclear Power Plant "Akademik Lomonossow" is also considered a SMR technology[4][5]. The Wikipedia article on SMR mentions a few sites in the UK and USA where these reactors have been proposed[6], one Russian SMR is listed operational (but marked to be taken out of operation permanently in 2019) and called "under construction" are one facility in Argentinia and two in Russia (one of them is connected to the above mentioned Floating NPP Lomonosow, the other one is also supposed to operate on a ship)[7]. The international pro-nuclear lobby organization World Nuclear Association only projects SMR sites on their website "World Nuclear News" and doesn't mention any operational project[8].

Experimental sites

The listed locations of proposed SMRs are almost everywhere just proposals, but not in a significant progress. However, there is a risk nuclear lobbyists might convince local decision makers to license them. Thus, all cases have to be observed vigilantly.

  • Estonia, Molten Salt reactor SMR design: suggested by Moltex Energy (2019)[9][10][11]