PowerGenWorldWide.com has published a fascinating interview with Chris Mowry, President and CEO, Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) Modular Nuclear Energy titled The mPowerTM Modular Reactor. The conversation goes into significant detail about B&W’s design decisions, target market, engineering constraints, and desire to make use of its vertically integrated North American manufacturing base. Here is a sample quote:
We are trying to pick and choose in terms of good concepts that have already been out there and have been proven to work well. Because, as I tell everyone, ultimately this is not meant to be a science project, it’s really an engineering/packaging problem. How do you repackage the technology that’s out there in a way that makes it more flexible, more affordable and more practical?
If you look at the nuclear industry and what has kept this nuclear renaissance from getting out of first gear, it’s not a technology thing. The technology is not broken, the issue is more on the financial side and risk side. It’s tough to finance a $10 billion or $15 billion project.
What you need to do is make this more in bite-sized chunks while not introducing new risks.
I hope that whets your appetite. Go and read the article and tell me what you think. My guess is that the research oriented readers are going to say “how boring” while the business oriented readers are going to have a more positive reaction.
Disclosure: I have been accumulating stock in McDermott, B&W’s parent company. I tend towards the business oriented view of the world. I have learned through painful and costly experience just how difficult and expensive it can be to introduce revolutionary technology into the energy business; evolutionary technology, on the other hand, can be enormously profitable.