1. Rod,

    I always wondered when discussing SMRs how “small” are we talking. I understand the idea is that they can be factory built, and delivered to a site. But, what size site are we talking about that it can power? Shopping Mall size, Neighborhood size, Small town size?

    Also, how self contained are they. Are they sort of like a battery, put it on site, plug it in, come back in 10 years and replace it. Or, is this something that needs 24/7 monitoring. I assume it won’t need on-site monitoring with the advent of Internet of Things I expect each SMR would be internet connected so it could be monitored/controlled from anywere in the world… which may cause more security concerns.

    1. But, what size site are we talking about that it can power?

      The municipal utility of the city closest to me only publishes dollar sales figures (not MWh), but guesstimating based on their rates their average load is about 30 MW.  A NuScale is 47.5 MW(e) net, so one would do for the city and a fair fraction of the environs.  The city is about 15k.

      how self contained are they.

      The NuScale steam supply is more or less self-contained, but the balance of plant requires operators for feedwater pumps, steam turbines, cooling water systems, electrical switchgear and everything else.

      Basically, it’s a steam plant with a zero-emission boiler.

    2. Note that no nuclear plant can go without monitoring, the regulators won’t allow that. As much as possible, the unit will be detached from the Internet. Connection to the Internet would present a huge security risk. With connections to power grids and communications grids in todays environments, people are worried that even these avenues can be sources of security breaches that can be used to harm the plant.

  2. Rod – It’s great that you’re going and I know you’ll help keep things stirred up.

    I’ll be there to continue reminding SMR proponents that their primary competitors sell equipment that burns coal, oil and natural gas, which means they are backed by the interests that have a financial stake in selling or moving those fuels.

    I’d like to see you promoting an additional strategy. Take a leaf from Terrestrial Energy’s book and encourage selling SMRs as energy sources to the oil and gas industry for fossil fuel manufacture. I see all of our fuels as manufactured products; raw coal doesn’t get tossed into those expensive B&W boilers; we don’t pump crude into our vehicles’ fuel tanks. Help the fossil interests realize that the less of their product they use to manufacture their product, the more they have to sell. Sharpen the point by showing that the first fossil companies to start delivering nuclear energy packaged as hydrocarbon fuels will gain a major advantage over their competitors. And nations that facilitate this change will gain major economic and trade advantages over other nations. IMO.

    Presenting SMRs only as competitors to existing businesses will make them see SMRs as problems, not opportunities. I think the message should change to one of opportunity. And if you want the regulatory path to be smoother, you need the big money to see that it need to be smoother, in their own interests.

    Have a great conference!

  3. Hi Rod. Since you have a background in submarine reactor technology maybe you can answer this. How practical would it be to create a set of nuclear sub reactors into a single building or better still on a barge and create a commercial plant for such purposes as providing electricity to a reverse osmosis desalination plant? What kind of regulatory issues would it face?

  4. I’m not real crazy about using SMR’s to manufacture more of the fossil fuels that are causing so many problems.

    Of more general interest I believe is info about designs, the security q’s noted above, and info about the possibility of technology transfer to places where they are despirately needed. I am thinking especially about China and India with their horrific fossil fuel pollution problems.

    1. Nor am I enthusiastic about it, but if there’s a choice between nuclear heat for liquefying bitumen and gasifying coal, I’ll go with bitumen.  There’s less of it, and the bitumen industry isn’t inherently competing with nuclear electricity; coal is.

      1. I think another important aspect is, revenue is revenue. Any small, growing industry needs revenue, and SMRs to extract bitumen might be the shortest path to high profit margins for a startup nuclear reactor company; which profits might be used to grow and more quickly penetrate the market. As market share grows, there will be net environmental benefits.

        Cozying up to the fossil fuel industry, if they allow it, might be the fast was for nuclear to grow and ultimately displace fossil fuels. Which is also why the fossil fuel industry might prefer to burn their own product, so as not to give a hand up to a potential competitor.

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