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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 10:54 PM

Obama Administration Announces $450 Million to Design and Commercialize U.S. SMRs

Today, as President Obama went to Ohio State University to discuss the all-out, all-of-the-above strategy for American energy, the White House announced new funding to advance the development of American-made small modular reactors (SMRs), an important element of the President’s energy strategy. A total of $450 million will be made available to support first-of-its-kind engineering, design certification and licensing for up to two SMR designs over five years, subject to congressional appropriations. Manufacturing these reactors domestically will offer the United States important export opportunities and will advance our competitive edge in the global clean energy race. Small modular reactors, which are approximately one-third the size of current nuclear plants, have compact, scalable designs that are expected to offer a host of safety, construction and economic benefits.

“The Obama Administration and the Energy Department are committed to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that develops every source of American energy, including nuclear power, and strengthens our competitive edge in the global clean energy race,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Through the funding for small modular nuclear reactors announced today, the Energy Department and private industry are working to position America as the leader in advanced nuclear energy technology and manufacturing.”

Through cost-share agreements with private industry, the Department will solicit proposals for promising SMR projects that have the potential to be licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and achieve commercial operation by 2022. These cost-share agreements will span a five-year period and, subject to congressional appropriations, will provide a total investment of approximately $900 million, with at least 50 percent provided by private industry.

http://energy.gov/articles/obama-administration-announces-450-million-design-and-commercialize-us-small-modular

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Reply Obama Administration Announces $450 Million to Design and Commercialize U.S. SMRs (Original post)
FBaggins Mar 2012 OP
peacebird Mar 2012 #1
PoliticAverse Mar 2012 #2
FBaggins Mar 2012 #3
kristopher Mar 2012 #4
FBaggins Mar 2012 #5
kristopher Mar 2012 #6
Global Teach-In Mar 2012 #7

Response to FBaggins (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 11:12 PM

1. Frick that. JeebusHChrist. Nukes? Freaking unbelievable.

Alternative is the future. Nukes are chernoble and Fukishima.
Fracking is household taps with water that burns like the mighty Cuyuhoga. Great for a prty trick, not so great for drinking.

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Response to FBaggins (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 12:41 AM

2. More corporate welfare. n/t

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 01:38 PM

3. Yep... I'd say that's right.

But there isn't a whole lot of choice. If you leave it up to the power companies they're going to give you a mix of coal-fired and gas-fired generation. So if you want a better mixture of generation, you have three choices:

* Provide incentives for them to do what you want
* Create penalties for companies that don't do what you want
* Pass laws that require them to do what you want

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 02:20 PM

4. There is also simple pork barrel political spending

It is reasonable to expect the goals of subsidies to be achievable. We've been building small reactors for decades for our Naval vessels. The idea that these "modular" reactors are going to fit into a different economic model is pretty far fetched.

How do you establish a civilian supply chain that ensures the required quality while operating in an open market?

How do you establish a competitive design market for product improvement over time?

The answer is that you don't. It is going to require extremely close oversight of a very small number of vendors with consequent high cost ala military procurement or it is going to be a product that suffers from quality issues.

The $450 billion is just the tip of the iceberg that covers only design and permitting. Where are the orders for the first 100 units at the prototype price going to come from? How many units have to be produced to capture the economy of mass production?

I don't think you have any idea of the hurdles that present themselves to this idea. IF it could have been done for less money than large plants, it would have already been developed by private companies with expertise in the military market. Why hasn't Korea, Japan, Canada, or Russia promoted this approach? Do you really think this is such an innovative idea?

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Response to kristopher (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 02:44 PM

5. Hardly

It doesn't become "pork barrel" just because you don't want nuclear power to exist at all.

We've been building small reactors for decades for our Naval vessels. The idea that these "modular" reactors are going to fit into a different economic model is pretty far fetched.

You put those two sentences right next to each other, but there's no logical connection between the two at all. We've built hundreds of widgets for one purpose, therefore they can't serve any other purpose?

The answer is that you don't.

There are about a dozen companies out there that apparently disagree with you (and are putting tons of dollars to work trying to be part of that market).

The reason behind the expenditure is simple (and clearly stated). The expectation is that the world will see many such units in the future, probably dominated by a handful of companies that produce the best product quickly... and we would like as many of those companies as possible to be here in the US.

I don't think you have any idea of the hurdles that present themselves to this idea. IF it could have been done for less money than large plants, it would have already been developed by private companies with expertise in the military market.

You mean private companies like Westinghouse and GE (who created most of our naval reactors)?

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 03:24 PM

6. You completely ignored every point I made

It is reasonable to expect the goals of subsidies to be achievable. We've been building small reactors for decades for our Naval vessels. The idea that these "modular" reactors are going to fit into a different economic model is pretty far fetched.


To support that I asked:
How do you establish a civilian supply chain that ensures the required quality while operating in an open market?
How do you establish a competitive design market for product improvement over time?


The answer is that you don't. It is going to require extremely close oversight of a very small number of vendors with consequent high cost ala military procurement or it is going to be a product that suffers from quality issues.


While you ignored the points themselves you obviously agree because you describe the existing military procurement and supplier system:
Baggins: The expectation is that the world will see many such units in the future, probably dominated by a handful of companies that produce the best product quickly... and we would like as many of those companies as possible to be here in the US.


You also avoided these critical questions:
The $450 billion is just the tip of the iceberg that covers only design and permitting. Where are the orders for the first 100 units at the prototype price going to come from? How many units have to be produced to capture the economy of mass production?


Prices are set (even in mass production) by the cost of producing the next unit. So let's say we build these two reactors. They certainly are not going to be "mass produced" in any recognizable sense of the word. The third one is going to at least as much as the first two if we assume there is no negative learning curve - not a very safe assumption. But let's say the price is the same as the first two custom made units. Where are the orders that create the incentive for the various suppliers in the supply chain to invest in "mass production" of the various components? Do you think they are going to build and tool up factories for 10 orders? 50? 100?

How do you get to that point in the face of the extremely high rate of deployment and high level of public support that renewables enjoy?

Pork.

I still think this is accurate:
I don't think you have any idea of the hurdles that present themselves to this idea. IF it could have been done for less money than large plants, it would have already been developed by private companies with expertise in the military market. Why hasn't Korea, Japan, Canada, or Russia promoted this approach? Do you really think this is such an innovative idea?


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Response to FBaggins (Original post)

Sat Mar 24, 2012, 06:22 AM

7. Spam deleted by Ian David (MIR Team)

 

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