Tom Sanders is an advocate of building right sized reactor power systems to meet human needs. He is a leader of a team working on that technology at Sandia National Laboratory. He is also the President of the American Nuclear Society. He has been doing a lot of traveling lately, answering questions about his vision and sharing his knowledge of nuclear power.
I caught up with him this morning while he was waiting to be able to check into his hotel in Rome.
As described in the lab’s press release and during our conversation, Sandia’s definition of “right sized” reactors fall into the thermal power output range of 100 to 300 MW, which would produce an electrical power output of about 30-150 MW depending on system thermal efficiency. The cores would be long lived breeders that create a sustaining quantity of new fuel as they operate.
The coolant would be sodium, the primary coolant configuration would be a pool, and the secondary heat engine would be a supercritical CO2 closed Brayton cycle gas turbine.
Tom believes that these systems can be made simple enough to operate in remote areas; they would have no need for refueling equipment, and no need to have any access to the fissile core materials. By making these systems appropriate for export markets, Tom realized that they will also be appropriate for a number of domestic customers, particularly those who have filled out weak spots in their grid configuration through the addition of moderate sized gas turbines.
Comments are welcome.
If you like having access to thoughtful shows like The Atomic Show, and wonder how it is possible to sustain such a service, please visit and learn about the network’s patrons. You might even decide to become one yourself.
Additional reading about Sandia’s right sized reactors
- re505.com – Sandia To Work On “Right Sized” Reactors
- Next Big Future – Sandia Designing Factory Mass Producible Right Sized Reactor
- Ceramic Tech Today – Sandia Announces New Small Fission Reactor Design
- Nuclear Green – The Right Size Reactor and the Human Future