RTE News out of Ireland published a story on 4 April 2006 titled Ireland may need nuclear power.
Forfas, which is an agency that advises the Irish government on industry and trade matters, has recently produced a report warning that Ireland is particularly vulnerable to increasing oil prices. Its oil consumption is 50% above the average in the European Union.
The report included a number of recommendations, but the one I like the most is one to investigate the development of smaller nuclear power plants that could fit into the electric power grid for the island nation. A number of years ago, there were some efforts to investigate the nuclear option for Ireland, but one of the issues that halted the project was the fact that a 1000 MWe reactor plant, which is the “standard” size, would have produced about 25% of the nation’s power needs.
That is not a recipe for a stable grid; anything that would shut down the plant would could cause power interruptions and stresses on the delivery system.
In a video that accompanies the linked story, Martin Cronin, the Chief Executive of Forfas, stated “It would be very silly not to rationally assess nuclear energy. It is unlikely to be a solution for Ireland because our electricity grid is too small to absorb a nuclear plant. If we start preparing sooner rather than later, we will never be forced (emphasis added) to have nuclear energy and that is probably another reason for preparing now.”
Perhaps Mr. Cronin’s reluctance to be a nuclear advocate for Ireland would change if there were smaller plants available for purchase. As a designer of atomic power plants as small as 10 MWe (see Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.) it warms my heart to think of helping a vibrant nation like Ireland solve a pressing issue.