Small Modular Reactors

From ScienceForSustainability
Jump to: navigation, search

Small Modular Reactors are reactors which are small enough to be built in a factory and shipped to where they are to be installed rather than largely constructed on site, as nuclear reactors have been done in the past. There are proposed designs using various technologies including pressurised light water and molten salts.

Capital cost of SMRs for a given power output is likely to be higher than for conventional big reactors, at least for current SMR designs closest to realisation. However the lower cost of a single SMR would make financing easier for the private sector - a problem for nuclear plant building in liberalised economies. Also the smaller output and lower requirement for skilled operators of many SMRs should make them suitable for installation in smaller, more remote communities unsuited to conventional large plants.


Aristos website

Aristos Power's revolutionary modular nuclear reactor design will provide a clean, cheap, safe and highly scalable energy source.
Modular design
Going from ultra compact cores of 20 MWe capable of powering isolated strategic locations, to compact 200 MWe utility scale reactors and up to 2000 MWe reactors designed to power major industrial hubs, our reactors can cover a wide range of energy needs.
The simple, easy to manufacture, modular design presents significant economic advantages. The overnight price tag per unit varies depending on the capacity of the unit going from 4.5$/W for the 20 MW unit down to 3$/W for the 200 MW unit and further down to 2$/W for the 2000 MW version. The price of electricity calculated over a service period of 40 years at a capacity factor of 95% is set to be around 1 cent / kWh.
Walk Away Safe
Our core design represents a revolution in reactor safety, in addition to the already established robust passive safety features of molten salt reactors, our team developed an additional passive safety system which ensures that in the unlikely event of a core breach there is no possibility of a recriticality accident.
UPDATE 20/10/2017
Today a milestone has been reached, the completion of the conceptual design phase.

We proudly present you the Hard Spectrum Reactor 50 Mk.9, v.25

facebook post & discussion

Lead cooled
Ike Bottema Yes apparently. It's 50MWth
no clue is offered as to where this crew is from. Could be a guy in a basement somewhere hoping to drum up some interest in his idea for all I know.
Ed Pheil First question, if it is Pb or PbBi, is what temperature, and what material? Pb can get to extremely high power densities, like 400-1000MWth/liter, but that is not passive cooling.
I'm guessing much lower power density, and Fe-Cr-Mo (corrosion limited) or Fe-Cr-Al (creep limited), likely 450-500C max temperature, so cooler than sodium, and m7ch cooler than molten salts, so maybe 35-40% efficiency. Is that two loops in the vessel, or one loop with iron/Pb reflector with Hx outside of that. Looks like little to no natural circulation, but might just use conduction. Not sure the latter works without refractory metal core because long distance conduction takes a good bit of delta T.
Andrei D. Andrei Pb only, 700-750 C, yes, much lower power densities, cant discuss material here, yes, 2 loops, there is a reflector but not iron , and circulation is forced during normal operation and natural circulation after scram.


SMALL MODULAR REACTORS (SMRS) (US) office of Nuclear Energy (

Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) are nuclear power plants that are smaller in size (300 MWe or less) than current generation base load plants (1,000 MWe or higher). These smaller, compact designs are factory-fabricated reactors that can be transported by truck or rail to a nuclear power site. SMRs will play an important role in addressing the energy security, economic and climate goals of the U.S. if they can be commercially deployed within the next decade.

Advancing Small Modular Reactors: How We're Supporting Next-Gen Nuclear Energy Technology US Department of Energy infographic on SMR (showing pressurised water reactor type)

California entrepreneurs push to reinvent the nuclear industry UPower , Transatomic


The U.S. Military Wants Tiny Road Mobile Nuclear Reactors That Can Fit In A C-17 JOSEPH TREVITHICK; The Drive; 24 Jan 2019

The U.S. military’s secretive Strategic Capabilities Office, or SCO, is asking for potential vendors to submit proposals for small mobile nuclear reactors to help meet ever-growing demands for power during operations in remote and austere locations. This request for information comes as the U.S. Army, in particular, is looking to extend the amount of time its units can operate independent of established supply chains, but portable nuclear power could introduce new risks to the battlefield.
The U.S. Department of Energy’s own Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in cooperation with the Westinghouse power company, has been working on one design called MegaPower for some time now. Westinghouse is separately working on its own eVinci micro reactor design.
Another option in development is Filippone and Associates LLC’s Holos, a unique gas-cooled modular reactor.
There are other small nuclear reactors either available or in development, such as the URENCO U-Battery and StarCore’s micro reactor, but these are not necessarily intended to be rapidly repositioned from one place to another.


Build Small Nuclear Reactors for Battlefield Power ANDY ERICKSON, Defense One; LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY; 20 Sep 2018

... micro-nuclear reactor being developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Westinghouse power company. Built around heat-pipe technology, this inherently safe microreactor has no cooling water or pumps that can fail, uses passive regulation systems so that it cannot melt down, and can generate at least 1 megawatt of safe, reliable power for 10 years or more.
The reactor core itself is about the size of the garbage can that you roll down to your curb each week. The entire microreactor system will fit on the back of a semi-truck or on a small ship.
This new microreactor sprang from Los Alamos’ work to develop a small nuclear reactor for NASA that might someday power a colony on Mars or the Moon. Called Kilopower, the Mars reactor is about the size of a roll-aboard suitcase and provides 1 to 10 kilowatts of electric power. A key feature is self-regulation: the Kilopower reactor relies on inherent physics phenomena to naturally regulate its power output to meet power needs. Passive heat pipes drive multiple engines to generate electricity. Testing at the National Criticality Experiments Research Center at the Nevada National Security Site demonstrated a smaller version of the entire system.
In our microreactor, the nuclear fuel is low-enriched, non-weapons-grade uranium. The fuel is encapsulated in a solid steel monolith to form a sub-critical nuclear core, which is surrounded by a neutron reflector and contains a simple shut-down rod that allows the core to go critical on demand. The thermal energy created by the fission reactions is efficiently removed from the metal core by high-temperature, alkali-metal heat pipes, a technology in wide use both on earth and in space since the 1970s. Thermal energy is converted into electrical energy—and power is delivered.


EVINCI™ MICRO REACTOR Westinghouse flysheet

uses heat pipes to extract heat energy from core

Bagging DOE Support, Westinghouse Eyes Demonstration for Nuclear Micro-reactor by 2022 Sonal Patel; Power magazine; 28 Mar 2019

The Department of Energy (DOE) is funding a project that would prepare Westinghouse’s 25-MWe eVinci micro-reactor for nuclear demonstration readiness by 2022.
The agency on March 27 said it will provide $12.9 million of the estimated $28.6 million Westinghouse needs for a project to prepare the micro-reactor for a demonstration, including for design, analysis, licensing to manufacture, siting, and testing. eVinci is one of three small modular reactors (SMRs) and the first micro-reactor whose first-of-a-kind development the DOE is subsidizing under a December 2017–issued “U.S. Industry Opportunities for Advanced Nuclear Technology Development” funding opportunity announcement (FOA).
According to Westinghouse, the eVinci reactor is an innovative combination of nuclear fission and space reactor technologies that integrates the company’s long-standing experience in commercial nuclear systems design, engineering, and innovation. The small size of the generator allows for easier transportation and rapid, on-site installation in contrast to large, centralized stations, the company says. And because the reactor core is designed to run for more than 10 years, eliminating the need for frequent refueling, Westinghouse is marketing it as an off-grid or microgrid solution.
But according to some experts, eVinci’s technological simplicity is what makes it unique. The reactor is envisioned to operate autonomously. Its reactor core is a solid-steel monolith that features channels for fuel pellets, the moderator (metal hydride), and heat pipes, which are arranged in a hexagonal pattern. The monolith will serve as the second fission product barrier (the fuel pellet is the first barrier) as well as the thermal medium between the fuel channels and heat pipes. The heat pipes will extract heat from the core using a technology based on thermal conductivity and fluid phase transition.


Holos generators


Canada signs flurry of SMR contracts as innovation support widens Nuclear Energy Insider] 1 Nov 2017

After a surge of SMR proposals, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories has started research work to support four different design technologies and is working with public and industry partners to support deployment in remote locations and mining applications.
Canada's SMR development program is advancing at a rapid rate, as developers respond to ambitious research initiatives, supportive regulatory regimes and a wide variety of deployment opportunities.
CNL has designated SMR technology as a research priority and aims to build a demonstration SMR plant on site by 2026. A recent Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEOI) by CNL yielded responses from 80 SMR vendors, suppliers, academics and potential end-users.
CNL received 19 expressions of interest for a prototype or demonstration reactor at a CNL site and a further three developers propose to move straight to commercial deployment in Canada, CNL said in a report published October 17.
CNL has so far signed MOU's with seven companies to develop and site an SMR at a CNL facility and projects are already underway to support four different reactor types, CNL sources have told Nuclear Energy Insider.


Bechtel And BWXT Quietly Terminate mPower Reactor Project Rod Adams; Forbes; 13 Mar 2017

Generation mPower, one of the early leaders in the development of small modular reactors (SMR), has decided to fully terminate its partnership and put the design material that was developed onto a corporate shelf.
Generation mPower was a partnership between BWXT – which was a part of The Babcock & Wilcox Company when the partnership was first formed – and Bechtel. BWXT owned 90% of the equity in the partnership and was responsible for designing the nuclear steam supply system, which is the nuclear fuel core, the piping and heat exchangers and the operating machinery inside the containment building. Bechtel owned 10% and was responsible for designing the structural parts of the containment building, all of the buildings and internal systems for the steam system, and the site support systems. Bechtel also provided its project management expertise, including occupying what is often the most powerful position in any partnership, that of the comptroller with the final say in any major expenditure decision. The companies worked closely together to design the site layout with an eye towards meeting stringent security and aircraft impact requirements in a cost and manpower effective way.


Small Modular Reactors Competition Phase One Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; 2016

A competition to identify the best value Small Modular Reactor design for the UK

The UK’s Small Modular Reactor Competition Andy Dawson; Energy Matters; 15 Jun 2016

The UK government has launched a competition to select a design of a small modular reactor (SMR) for future deployment in the UK. In this post, nuclear engineer Andy Dawson provides an overview of SMR technology together with descriptions of the leading contenders.

Bus-sized nuclear reactors could replace large-scale plants Tereza Pultarova; Engineering & Technology; 23 Aug 2016

Instead of building the £18bn Hinkley Point power plant, the UK should consider investing into the development of small nuclear reactors that could be deployed across the country to balance out intermittent renewable energy generation, energy experts have suggested.

UK sets up £250 million research for small modular nuclear reactors and will likely partner with China NextBigFuture

Small Modular Reactors feasability study National Nuclear Lab; Dec 2014

Mini nuclear power stations in UK towns move one step closer Kate McCann; Daily Telegraph; 2 Apr 2016

The Telegraph understands that a team of experts working for Ministers is looking at possible locations for small modular reactors, which could be built by 2025.

Nuclear developers have big plans for pint-sized power plants in UK Susanna Twidale; Reuters; 22 Aug 2016

A range of mini-nuclear power plants could help solve Britain's looming power crunch, rather than the $24 billion Hinkley project snarled up in delays, companies developing the technology say. So-called small modular reactors (SMRs) use existing or new nuclear technology scaled down to a fraction of the size of larger plants and would be able to produce around a tenth of the electricity created by large-scale projects, such as Hinkley. The mini plants, still under development, would be made in factories, with parts small enough to be transported on trucks and barges to sites where they could be assembled in around six to 12 months, up to a tenth of the time it takes to build some larger plants.

Westinghouse expands SMR study team World Nuclear News; 12 Oct 2016

Westinghouse will work with UK shipbuilder Cammell Laird as well as the country’s Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) on a study to explore potential design efficiencies to reduce the lead times of its small modular reactor. The reactor vendor has already worked with NAMRC on a study that concluded the reactor pressure vessels for its SMR design could be made in Britain - a potentially important element in its offer to government in hope of winning a competition towards SMR demonstration. The new study will be a continuation, said Westinghouse. New to the project is Cammell Laird, a shipbuilder based in Liverpool that has been increasing its involvement in the UK's nuclear sector for several years. In 2010 it agreed to work with Nuvia towards manufacture of modules for decommissioning and for new build, and in 2011 the pair were joined by Ansaldo Nucleare of Italy, which is experienced in AP1000 work. This is in addition to Cammell Laird's ongoing work in offshore oil, gas and wind.

NuScale Makes Progress in UK and US Markets / UK Market May Finally Open Up for SMRs Neutron Bytes; 10 Sep 2017

On September 9th the Telegraph reported in its business pages the government ministers are getting ready to approve the development of a fleet of “mini” reactors to prevent electricity shortages as older nuclear power stations are decommissioned.
The newspaper noted that advocates for the new technology expect it to offer energy a third cheaper than giant conventional reactors such as the Hinkley Point project which is composed of two Areva 1650 MW EPRs.
The firms involved in the SMR meeting include Rolls-Royce, NuScale, Hitachi and Westinghouse. They have held meetings in past weeks with civil servants about Britain’s nuclear strategy and development of “small modular reactors” (SMRs).
A report to be published by Rolls-Royce in Westminster this week claims its consortium can generate electricity at a “strike price” – the guaranteed price producers can charge – of £60 per megawatt hour, two thirds that of recent large-scale nuclear plants.
The report to be published by Rolls-Royce, entitled “UK SMR: A National Endeavour”, which has been seen by The Telegraph, claims SMRs will be able to generate electricity significantly cheaper than conventional nuclear plants.

Who Killed the Small Modular Reactor Programme? Euan Mearns/Andy Dawson; Energy Matters; 17 Sep 2018

In his Autumn Statement of 2016, the then Chancellor, George Osborne made an announcement that surprised and enthused many; he announced that the UK was to spend up to £250 million on support to nuclear innovation, including a competition to spur the development of small modular reactors (SMRs), a novel approach to delivering nuclear generating capacity. This post describes how the UK Civil Service has killed this worthy initiative.


Westinghouse expands SMR study team World Nuclear News; 12 Oct 2016 12 October 2016

The Westinghouse SMR is a 225 MWe integral pressurized water reactor design with all primary components located inside the reactor vessel. It uses the passive safety functionality developed for the company's AP1000 reactor, currently being built at sites in China and the USA.


Integral Pressurised Water Reactor with 45MW electrical output, built-in (steam?) generator, to operate underground in a pool of water providing emergency cooling.


Small Modular Reactors - A Small Modular Reactor programme represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for the UK Rolls Royce

Rolls-Royce could power Britain's nuclear future with mini reactors Alan Tovey, industry editor; Daily Telegraph; 19 MAR 2016

Rolls-Royce is positioning itself as a “white knight” that could rescue Britain’s faltering nuclear power strategy and stop the UK’s lights going out. The company best known for its jet engines has met with Government to put forward plans for a fleet of small reactors built around Rolls’s expertise gained producing powerplants for the Royal Navy's submarines.

The role for nuclear within a low carbon energy system Mike Middleton; Energy Technologies Institute

SMRs could fulfil an additional role in a UK low carbon energy system by delivering combined heat and power (CHP) – a major contribution to the decarbonisation of energy use in buildings – but deployment depends on availability of district heating infrastructure.

Rolls-Royce all set to unveil British SMR consortium World Nuclear News; 3 Oct 2016

Rolls-Royce will in the "coming weeks" announce the consortium it has formed to launch a small modular reactor in the UK, a spokesman for the British company told World Nuclear News today.


One UK SMR power station will produce 440MWe

Designs for 'mini' nuclear power plants proposed by Rolls-Royce led group set to be given go-ahead Alan Tovey; The Telegraph; 22 Oct 2017

n important report assessing the viability of new “mini” nuclear power plants for the UK to be published this week is expected to give the green light to develop designs proposed by a British consortium led by Rolls-Royce. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is set to issue a study which formally ends a competition between different types of low-carbon power generation to assess which should be supported. Industry sources say a concurrent Techno-Economic Assessment for the government by EY concludes that designs for small nuclear reactors (SMRs) from the Rolls consortium are the more likely to succeed. It is understood that rival proposals using US designs for “integral reactors” have been assessed as being harder to manufacture and maintain and not commercially viable.

GE-Hitachi BWRX-300

GE Hitachi chases gas plant displacement with new 300 MW reactor Nuclear Energy Insider; 18 Apr 2018

The capital cost of GE Hitachi’s BWRX-300 boiling water reactor is estimated to be up to 50% lower than other light water reactor SMRs while operations and maintenance (O&M) costs are predicted at $16/MWh, Eric Loewen, Chief Consulting Engineer at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, told the 2018 International SMR and Advanced Reactor conference.
Nuclear power plant developers are increasingly turning to small modular reactors (SMRs) to minimize capital costs and gain access to new markets. Smaller capacities and modular construction allow for incremental capacity increases, reducing capital cost requirements compared with larger plants. SMR developers expect passive safety systems to support off-grid supply applications while smaller emergency planning zones would allow SMRs to replace fossil fuel power plants.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy has now developed a 300 MW boiling water reactor SMR design, an evolution of the company’s 1.5 GW ESBWR model which was licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 2014.
The new compact BWRX-300 design has an estimated online capital cost of $2,250/kW for an nth of a kind plant, which is between 40% and 50% lower than PWR-based SMRs, Loewen told the conference in Atlanta on March 27.
Design efficiencies in the BWRX-300 produce a total building volume that is between 50% and 90% lower than PWR-based designs, Loewen said.

GEH receives federal funds for BWRX-300 development World Nuclear News; 17 Jul 2018

GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is to receive USD1.9 million in funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to lead research into ways to efficiently building a power plant based on GE Hitachi's BWRX-300 small modular reactor. The research team includes Bechtel, Exelon, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy (HGNE) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Korean SMART

Bizline-Korean style small and medium scale nuclear reactor "SMART"

Korean style small and medium scale nuclear reactor "SMART"
South Korea has opened the way to export small and medium scale nuclear reactors developed with homegrown technology. Dubbed "SMART," for System-integrated Modular Advanced ReacTor, the world′s first small and medium scale reactor prevents radioactive substances from leaking out during accidents such as earthquakes as it is an integral structure that has enclosed the major components in the pressure vessel. "SMART" has been highlighted as a next-generation reactor for its safety, performance and construction costs which is one fifth that of large scale reactors. We′ll take a look at the technology behind the reactor and its prospects.
(Cost shown as c.1bn for c.100MW)

Korean supercritical CO2 cooled

Supercritical CO2-cooled micro modular reactor; 9 Mar 2016

A research team at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) (Prof. Jeong Ik Lee, Prof. Yonghee Kim, and Prof. Yong Hoon Jeong) has suggested an innovative concept of a reactor cooled by supercritical state carbon dioxide (S-CO2). The core has long life (20 years) without refuelling as well as inherent safety features. The S-CO2 Brayton cycle was proposed as a power conversion system to achieve a compact and lightweight module. Due to the compact core and power conversion system, the entire system can be contained in a single module and be transported via ground or maritime transportation.

General Atomics

Energy Multiplier Module

Waste burner, Brayton cycle power conversion (claims 50% efficiency) or process heat; 30 year fuel cycle; variety of fuels: enriched U, weapons grade Pu, depleted U, Th, used nuclear fuel, "its own discharge". Tech data


The scientists and engineers at General Atomics think the future of nuclear energy is coming on the back of a flatbed truck. And the leadership at the San Diego-based company, which has been developing nuclear technologies for more than 60 years, has already spent millions in the expectation that its ambitious plans for the next generation of reactors will actually work.

URENCO U-battery

Miniature nuclear power stations available within decade Tereza Pultarova; E&T Magazine; 7 Oct 2016

uranium enrichment firm URENCO has decided to go even further and develop a miniature nuclear power plant so small and cheap that it could power a single village or a factory
“A single unit would occupy an area the size of two squash courts,” explained Paul Harding of URENCO, overseeing the project called U-Battery. “The footprint of each unit is about the penalty area of a football pitch. Each unit is designed to give 10 megawatts of thermal output of which around 40 per cent can be converted into electricity, so you can get four megawatts of electricity from a single installation.”
Unlike the larger SMRs, U-battery is a high temperature gas cooled reactor akin to currently developed generation IV nuclear reactors. It uses grain-like TRISO fuel that is not designed for reprocessing but spent after one use.
“The U-Battery is designed to operate at about 700℃ and you do not challenge integrity of the fuel to at least 1600℃ so there is a great margin,” Harding said. “TRISO fuel is inherently safe. It consists of grains of uranium oxide that are coated in three layers of ceramic material, which ensures that fission products do not escape from the inner kernel.”
The remotely controlled U-battery was designed with renewable energy generation in mind and the team envisions it could serve as a back-up power generator for solar and wind power plants.
The team is already negotiating with authorities of the Canadian province of Ontario to have U-Batteries tested in some of the remote northern communities that are not connected to the utility grid.

Kilopower (KRUSTY) space reactor

Kilopower Wikipedia

KiloPower is a NASA and Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) project aimed at producing a new design for nuclear reactors for space travel. The project started in October 2015. The Kilopower reactors will come in a variety of sizes able to produce from one to 10 kilowatts of electrical power, continuously for 10 years or more. The fission reactor uses Uranium-235 to generate heat that is carried to the Stirling converters via passive sodium heat pipes.

KRUSTY: First of a New Breed of Reactors, Kilopower Part II Beyond Nerva (blog); 19 Nov 2017

... in-space nuclear reactors have been flown before, mainly by the USSR, and their development in the West has stalled in terms of testing since the 1970s. However, a recent (2012) test at the National Nuclear Security site by scientists and engineers from the Department of Energy (DOE) and NASA, the Desktop Using Flattop Fission test (DUFF), has breathed new life into the program by demonstrating new heat transport and power conversion techniques with a nuclear reactor for the first time.
Now, the results of this experiment are being used to finalize the design and move forward with a new reactor, the Kilowatt Reactor Utilizing Stirling TechnologY, or KRUSTY. This is an incredibly simple small nuclear reactor being developed by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for the DOE, and Glenn Research Center (GRC) and Marshall Spaceflight Center (MSFC) for NASA. KRUSTY: We Have Fission! Kilopower part III] Beyond Nerva (blog); 2 May 2018

KRUSTY is the testbed for the Kilopower reactor, developed by Los Alamos as a small, simple nuclear reactor meant for space missions (although it also has terrestrial uses as well, and two companies have proposed similar, but larger architectures since: Oklo Power and Westinghouse). After an initial proof of concept fission test (DUFF), KRUSTY was designed and built by NASA (at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland), and the Department of Energy (Y12 in Tennessee fabricated the core, and Los Alamos was the lead design site), and just last month completed fission powered testing at the National Nuclear Security Site (NNSS) in Nevada.