Small Modular Reactors

Small Modular Reactors

News: We discuss about India’s shift towards Small Modular Reactors (SMR) as a part of its move towards nuclear energy.

What are SMRs?
• Small modular reactors (SMRs) are a proposed class of nuclear fission reactors that are smaller than conventional nuclear reactors, which can be built in one location (such as a factory), then shipped, commissioned, and operated at a separate site
• They have a power capacity of up to 300 MW per unit, which is about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors.
• India’s strategy for nuclear energy transition involves transitioning from larger nuclear power plants to smaller ones, specifically Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).
• India aims to raise nuclear power to 10% of its energy mix by 2035.

What is Niti Aayog’s strategy?
• Increased private sector participation through public-private partnerships.
• Implementing comprehensive regulatory changes to ensure safety standards and monitoring.
• Modifying foreign investment policies to attract domestic and foreign companies for SMR development in India.

What is the status of SMR’s globally?
• Worldwide over 70 SMR designs are under development in 17 countries
• Russia’s 77 MW SMR, Akademik Lomonosov, was operational as early as 2019.
• In the U.K., Rolls-Royce is setting up a manufacturing facility for SMRs.

What are advantages of SMRs?
• They can be sited on locations not suitable for larger nuclear power plants.
• They can be manufactured and installed more quickly and affordably than large power reactors.
• They can be deployed incrementally to match increasing energy demand.
• They can provide low-carbon power for industrial applications or remote areas with limited grid capacity.
• They can rely more on passive systems and inherent safety characteristics of the reactor.

What are disadvantages of SMRs?
• They have higher costs per unit of electricity than conventional reactors.
• They have higher security and liability risks than conventional reactors, due to the possibility of sabotage, theft, or accidents during transportation and operation.
• They have more radioactive waste generation and disposal problems than conventional reactors, due to the lack of standardized and centralized waste management facilities.

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