SMALL MODULAR REACTORS
The Science and Technology Minister recently said that India is working on new technologies such as the small modular reactors.
WHAT ARE SMRs?
- SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors. SMRs, which can produce a large amount of low-carbon electricity, are:
- Small – physically a fraction of the size of a conventional nuclear power reactor.
- Modular – making it possible for systems and components to be factory-assembled and transported as a unit to a location for installation.
- Reactors – harnessing nuclear fission to generate heat to produce energy.
ADVANTAGES OF SMRs:
- SMR, with up to 300 MW capacity by nature, is flexible in design and requires a smaller footprint. Given their smaller footprint, SMRs can be sited on locations not suitable for larger nuclear power plants.
- Being mobile and agile technology, SMR can be factory-built unlike the conventional nuclear reactors that are built on–site. Thus, SMRs offers significant savings in cost and construction time.
- SMR is a promising technology in industrial de-carbonization especially where there is a requirement of reliable and continuous supply of power. It is said that SMR is simpler and safer as compared to large nuclear plants.
- Lack of development: They do not currently exist as reactors for power generation.
- Cost-effectiveness depends on production: Large-scale production of SMRs is required to achieve its economic benefits.
- Licensing issues: Historically, the licensing process was developed for large commercial reactors and the licensing process for new reactor designs is a lengthy and costly process.