Adding the small nuclear reactor to the energy mix
J. Winston Porter:
...Assuming the cost is competitive, the suggestion makes sense. The anti-energy left has driven up the cost of constructing large nuclear plants to the point where they are not cost competitive in many cases. The same groups are trying to do that with fossil fuels by opposing oil and gas production and transportation projects. They do this in an attempt to try to make "alternative energy" look more cost competitive.
So let me suggest an important addition to Texas fuel mix considerations, namely a new nuclear technology called small modular reactors (SMRs). These units are a fraction of the size of existing nuclear power plants.
Compared with the large plants, SMRs can be installed much faster, better matched to electricity demands, and are expected to be less expensive and safer.
Now consider an SMR being developed by NuScale, an Oregon-based nuclear company, which recently submitted the first application for certification of an SMR to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The NuScale design is for a reactor that would generate 50 megawatts of electricity – smaller than one that powers a nuclear submarine. The SMR is designed so that it can be built in a factory, and shipped by truck, barge or railroad to a nuclear site for final assembly.
As demand arises for more power, the owner could simply order additional modules. Up to 12 modules could be located alongside one another, producing 600 megawatts of electricity.
What’s more, each module would operate individually, so that when one is taken offline for refueling or maintenance, the others would continue generating power.