Tour of NuScale control room and test facility

Tour of NuScale control room and test facility

Disclosure: I have a small contract to provide NuScale with advice and energy market information. That work represents less than 5% of my income for 2014. On October 20, 2014, I had the opportunity to visit NuScale’s facilities in Corvallis, OR. Though the company now has offices in three cities, Corvallis, the home of Oregon…

UAMPS stepping forward to serve customers

The established nuclear energy industry has taken a wait-and-see approach to the idea of developing and deploying smaller, simpler fission power stations that can take advantage of the economy of series production. The industry’s trade organization, the Nuclear Energy Institute, has expressed cautious optimism and has engaged in a moderate effort to identify regulatory obstacles…

Prospective customers lining up at NuScale

Prospective customers lining up at NuScale

A few days ago, Dan Yurman at Neutron Bytes published a blog post that is now titled Flash: NuScale executive says firm may build SMRs at Idaho lab. It was a follow-up to an earlier post in which Dan speculated about the Idaho National Lab’s potential as a good site for a new nuclear power…

The Canadians are coming

Hugh MacDiarmid, the Chairman of the Board for Terrestrial Energy, Inc., gave a talk to the Economic Club of Canada on September 24, 2014. That talk included a brief description of TEI’s integral molten salt reactor technology, but most of the talk was visionary in nature and aimed at exciting his Canadian audience about the…

Terrestrial Energy – Molten Salt Reactor Designed to Be Commercial Success

There is a growing roster of innovative organizations populated by people who recognize that nuclear technology is still in its infancy. Terrestrial Energy is one of the most promising of those organization because of its combination of problem solving technology, visionary leadership, and strong focus on meeting commercial needs. Nearly all of the commercial nuclear…

HTR-PM – Nuclear-heated gas producing superheated steam

The first HTR-PM (High Temperature Reactor – Pebble Module), one of the more intriguing nuclear plant designs, is currently under construction on the coast of the Shidao Bay near Weihai, China. This system uses evolutionary engineering design principles that give it a high probability of success, assuming that the developers and financial supporters maintain their…

Fission is an elegant way to heat a gas

What if it was possible to combine the low capital cost, reliability, and responsive operations of simple cycle combustion gas turbines with the low fuel cost and zero-emission capability of an actinide (uranium, thorium, or plutonium) fuel source? Machines like that could disrupt a few business models while giving the world’s economy a powerful new…

NuScale and DOE finalize the agreement announced six months ago

On December 12, 2013, the US Department of Energy announced that it had selected NuScale as the winner of a cost share program to develop small modular reactors. This morning, NuScale distributed the following press release announcing that the agreement with the DOE had been finalized for up to $217M over the next five years….

SMRs – Why Not Now? Then When?

I have shamelessly borrowed the title of one of the talks given during the first day of the Nuclear Energy Insider 4th Annual Small Modular Reactor (SMR) Conference as being representative of both the rest of the agenda and the conversations that I had in the hallways during the breaks. For the past five years,…

SUNY Maritime Student Advocates Commercial Nuclear Ship Propulsion

Stimulated by early atomic optimism, naval successes and Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace initiative, four nations built ocean going ships with nuclear propulsion plants. The US built the NS Savannah, Germany built the Otto Hahn, Japan built the Mutsu, and Russia built a series of nuclear powered icebreakers. For reasons that are beyond the scope of…

NEI Small Reactor Forum Report – Part 2

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) hosted its biannual Small Reactor Forum on February 25, 2014. The agenda for the one day event included six well-organized sessions with presentations from three small reactor vendors, the industry trade group, the regulatory agency, and several outside observers with a significant interest in the technology from a variety of…