ASP Policy Analyst Nick Cunningham was quoted today in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch discussing the prospects for small modular reactors (SMRs). The article outlines the hopes of several utilities in obtaining a grant from the Department of Energy to help them through the design certification process. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) needs to certify an SMR design before utilities can build them – a process that can take many years at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. However, the Department of Energy announced earlier this year that it would provide partial funding to help get a design certified and up and running by 2022. From the article:
Nick Cunningham, a policy analyst for the American Security Project, a nonprofit research group, believes the upcoming election may have temporarily derailed an announcement, but he believes it will come eventually since both candidates are on record as supporting advances of nuclear power.
“I think it will move forward next year,” he said.
Westinghouse officials say they’re ready to submit design certification for the small reactor to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year. And while Ameren’s timing is less certain, the utility could apply for a construction and operating license as early as 2014.
Cunningham, meanwhile, says small reactors offer many potential advantages. Whether those translate into a new generation of tiny modular reactors remains to be seen.
“It’s up to the industry to prove that these new designs are worthwhile and have all the benefits they claim,” he said.
To read the full article, click here.