- "Hot-tub" sized reactors … and king-sized costs? The vision the industry and DOE seem to be peddling is a chicken in every pot, a car in every garage, and a reactor in every basement. It's hard to see the large-scale viability. Absolutely no one is clamoring to buy an SMR because there is no assurance that the electricity will be remotely competitive with power from other sources. New nuclear power today is uncompetitive by a very wide margin. At today's natural gas prices, SMRs would have to produce electricity at half the projected cost of conventional reactors to compete.
- The case being made for federally subsidized SMRs directly contradicts the case that already has been made by the same industry for federal subsidized large reactors. There are no reliable cost estimates for SMRs. Nuclear vendors are notorious for underestimating costs, and there is no actual experience. Since the 1950s, the nuclear industry worldwide has consistently pushed for larger reactors on the theory that economics would improve if the high fixed costs of building safe plants could be spread over more kilowatt hours. SMRs represent a reversal of this reasoning and call into question the extensive federal support now being offered to promote a "nuclear renaissance" based on standardizing and sticking to a few large reactor designs.
- There is no assurance that SMRs would pass regulatory muster. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has stated it is not fully prepared to license small modular reactors. In 2008, NRC estimated that it would have a regulatory review process in place to license the first small modular reactors within five years. However in May 2012 the NRC said, "If an appreciable fraction of total SMR initiatives materialized, it would create an untenable situation for the NRC."
- SMRs come with several additional question marks. Major issues for taxpayers include the lack of long-term radioactive waste storage, the creation of additional targets for terrorist attacks across suburban America, the cost of added security to protect the new facilities, etc.
White House Budget Proposes Spending More On Small Modular Reactors, Winner Of 2013 "Golden Fleece Award"
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