Nuclear SMR – Small Modular Reactor

02/09/2023 19 Comments

France after years of hesitation; has finally decided to push again nuclear, undoubtfully an excellent news for the planet and for the country.

For decades, the country has been recognized as one of the top leaders. Political hesitations combined with the japanese Fujukima distaster, the difficulties of PWR projects under construction Olkiluoto in Finland and Flamanville in France since early 2000 have put on hold the development of new solutions and the restart of the nuclear industry.

Finally the need for energy, and the social acceptance in France have decided the government of Emmanuel Macron to push again for the redevelopment of this industry rather than opting as Germany for coal, gas, wind and solar.

Within Nuclear field; France is  late on the development of Small Modular Reactor versus USA and Russia, as the country pushed for the very large PWR projects, however SMR is now part of the agenda.

Versus the big reactor above 1000 MW, SMR are built to produce some 10 to 300 MW and are already used in submarine and some military solutions, but not yet for electricity production for cities.

The benefit of the technology, linked to its size are obvious: modularity, flexibiliy; standardized, capability to be moved to isolated area.

The most important aspect is obviously the containment and safety of the nuclear process and materials. Here again the small size should help.

Currently they are an estimated 70 projects, with an estimation of 21 GW installed in 2035, or 3% of the total world nuclear capacity.

USA have announced recently that they will built in Romania 6 small reactor (designed by NuScale Power, an Oregon engineering company).

In France, EDF, TechnicAtome, CEA and Naval Group are developping NUWARD, a SMR of 340M combining 2 reactors 170MW

No doubt that the combination of decades of experience of nuclear projects, and the large engineering firms ability to work on complex projects will help France to come back in the development of SMR. France might be late, but we should never forget that Nuclear is a long-term industry.

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