Critics of small modular reactors forecast financial risk [View all]
Source: Augusta Chronicle
A nonprofit nuclear group released a report Thursday saying that efforts to develop small modular reactors at Savannah River Site and other venues will require “tens of billions of dollars” in federal subsidies.
“SMRs are being promoted vigorously in the wake of the failure of the much-vaunted nuclear renaissance,” Arjun Makhijani, the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, said in a statement. “But SMRs don’t actually reduce financial risk; they increase it, transferring it from the reactor purchaser to the manufacturing supply chain.”
Makhijani’s report, “Light Water Designs of Small Modular Reactors: Facts and Analysis,” estimates that $90 billion in orders would be needed for mass production of the small units.
“A hundred reactors, each costing about $900 million, including construction costs – would amount to an order book of $90 billion, leaving aside the industry’s record of huge cost escalations,” he said. “Shifting from the present behemoths to smaller unit sizes is a financial risk shell game, not a reduction in risk.”