Observations from the US Nuclear Industry Council's 10th annual Advanced Reactor Summit 1

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  1. Thanks Rod for this excellent review of recent developments in the nuclear renaissance. There are many things herein to be excited about. In particular, I am encouraged by Nucor, Dow and MIcrosoft. And thanks also, for your perspective on the uneven progression of The Renaissance in history.

  2. You wowed me again. So there seems to be plenty of suppliers of new / updated nuclear capacity and there now seem to be plenty of willing customers. If the growth at TVA of 1,000 MW / year is typical of the US with the additional need due to retirement of coal plants, it appears that a boom in orders for power generation is coming. When I was a kid, the rule of thumb for electrical demand doubling every 10 years was still a reality.

    Building small reliable nuclear reactors near an industrial facility seems like an advantage for the corporation. Siting a factory requires reliable electricity. An onsite reactor that can provide both electrical power and process heat should multiply the number of available sites for such facilities.

    With the shortage in labor in so many areas now due to retirements and fewer people to replace them, I wonder if these companies will be able to satisfy this anticipated need. This really may be an example of another Capitalism boom and bust cycle which seem so typical in so many industries.

    I don’t think the boom is quite here yet, but it does seem imminent.

    Good Report.

  3. Hi Rod,
    In “Observations from the US Nuclear Industry Council’s 10th annual Advanced Reactor Summit July 10, 2023” you wrote this aside:

    “Aside: Current and former Navy Nukes might recall the unique, creative systems attached at the back end of the shafts where the screw would be when the plant is on a ship. Reactor power has to go somewhere. End Aside.”

    Apropos of this summer’s news about the submersible “Titan” disaster, I was reminded of the US Navy submarine “Thresher” disaster about 60 years ago. There is still some controversy about how the “Thresher” disaster came about. The main theory is that a plumbing failure inside the sub flooded it and brought it down, but another theory is that an electrical failure caused the sub’s power reactor to automatically shut itself down, causing the sub to stall out while attempting to surface.

    I don’t know whether you are allowed to divulge any information about US Navy submarine safety improvements since 1963, but if so, inquiring minds would like to know, especially as regards nuclear power train reliability. 😉

    In any case, here are 2 interesting post-1963 stories:

    PBS NOVA Documentary “Submarines, Secrets, and Spies”; URL: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/2602subsecrets.html

    CBS News Documentary “Navy documents reveal officer flagged ‘dangerous condition’ before deadliest submarine disaster in U.S. history”; URL: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/uss-thresher-submarine-disaster-navy-documents-released/

  4. Hi Rod,

    In “Observations from the US Nuclear Industry Council’s 10th annual Advanced Reactor Summit July 10, 2023” you wrote:

    “Oklo had a painful learning experience but is steadily progressing towards a new license submission for a 15 MWe reactor that uses the same core as its early 1.5 MWe design. The key enabler for increasing power without changing fuel quantity is using pumped liquid metal (sodium) to transfer heat instead of passive heat pipes. The new design is essentially a modern, refined version of the EBR-II.”

    I have a question about Oklo’s updated design switch to pumped liquid metal coolant. Does the pumped coolant design support passive shutdown and safety? My understanding is that other liquid sodium cooled designs such as ARC-100 and EBR-II have claimed passive shutdown/safety because their pool-based design enables coolant circulation by convection. Also, my understanding is that EBR-II demonstrated passive safety back in 1986. Has Oklo released any more details of their updated design?

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