Prospects for Small Modular Reactors in the UK & Worldwide
|Auteur||S.Thomas, P.Dorfman, S.Morris, Ramana|
|Classificatie||6.01.3.60/08 (NUCLEAR SAFETY - REACTORS - OTHER TYPES, SMALL MODULAR REACTORS)|
Uit de publicatie:
Prospects for Small Modular Reactors in the UK & Worldwide STEVE THOMAS, PAUL DORFMAN, SEAN MORRIS & M.V. RAMANA JULY 2019 Executive Summary Over the past few years in the UK, and in a number of other countries with nuclear power programmes, there has been a growing clamour of support within government and from the nuclear industry to develop a programme of ‘Small’ Modular Reactors’ (SMRs). This has been part of a wider attempt to make nuclear power part of the ‘low carbon’ energy solution and stabilise the nuclear sector from an apparently terminal decline. Much of this focus arises from the failings of the large reactor sector. In the UK alone, in 2018 both the Sellafield Moorside and the Wylfa B projects were effectively abandoned as Japanese reactor vendors pulled out because they were unable to attract the scale of finance required. Globally, even the home markets of China and Russia for large reactors have stalled and, there is little appetite for them, due to such projects being prohibitively expensive to develop and deliver. The nuclear industry has put forward SMRs as a panacea to these problems of high cost and the difficulty of financing; a ready-made alternative that can fill the gap. However, as this report outlines in detail, there are huge obstacles to overcome. Some of these are technical issues, others are around building up an effective supply chain, while the financing of such schemes will only be possible with significant subsidy from the public purse. Report after report, usually from the nuclear industry or its supporters, has made grandiose claims for SMRs and their importance in delivering a low carbon future. In the UK, the site of Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, Wales, which hosts a former Magnox plant, is being heavily trailed by the industry and the UK and Welsh Governments as being ideal for SMRs. In Canada and the United States, sites have also been put forward. But is this confidence brittle-deep, style over substance, words rather than action? This report has been initiated and developed by the Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG) to provide a rational, technical and independent analysis of the prospects for SMRs being developed in the UK and around the world. Whilst the original ‘small’ nuclear reactors had a military application in nuclear powered submarines, this report focuses on, and takes in turn, each of the different SMR proposals that have been put forward by the nuclear industry – Light Water Reactors, Rolls Royce’s SMR designs and Non-Light Water Reactors (such as sodium fast reactors and high temperature reactors). In each case the authors conclude that it remains likely that no substantive deployment of the technology will be realised, with just a very few reactors built, at most.