Mini Nukes

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Very cool -- these have been in development for a while and just got the green light to actually build them for public use. From the Chattanooga Free Press:
TVA could take lead for 'mini nuke' plants
The Tennessee Valley Authority is first in line to test a new type of modular nuclear plant that designers boast will be smaller, cheaper and safer than existing reactors.

TVA officials said Wednesday they have taken the first step toward gaining regulatory approval to build up to six new mini-nuclear reactors on the site of the abandoned Clinch River Breeder Reactor in Oak Ridge. In a four-page letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, TVA Vice President Jack Bailey said the federal utility "is evaluating the feasibility" of erecting two of the new Babcock & Wilcox-designed "mPower reactors" by 2020.

Each of the new reactors would produce 125 megawatts of electricity -- about 10 percent as much as conventional reactors at TVA's other plants -- and could be built in controlled factory conditions to cut production costs and ensure construction quality.

"The mPower design makes substantial use of modular construction technology which enables major portions of the plant to be fabricated in controlled manufacturing environments and shipped to the site via rail and trucks," Bailey said.

If approved by the TVA board and regulators, TVA would be the first utility to build the new reactor design.
Very nice -- modular construction means cheaper to build. The 125 megawatt capacity is about the same as your average coal plant so these would be perfect replacements. They are loaded at the factory and the spent fuel stays inside through the 60-year life cycle. Still uses the Uranium cycle instead of Thorium but we can't have everything...

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on November 13, 2010 4:19 PM.

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