[ExI] Are mini nuclear power stations the way forward?

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Wed Mar 16 12:03:41 UTC 2011

The Economist did a review of mini-nukes.

Mini nuclear reactors
Nuclear power: Combining several small reactors based on simple,
proven designs could be a better approach than building big ones
Dec 9th 2010

The idea is that they need little maintenance. Just bury them in the
ground for 20 years, then send them back to the factory. If they fail,
they just sit there with no dangerous leaks.

Another new article:
Japan needs increased generating capacity fast. They would like to
replace nuclear with nuclear. But the new plants also have to show
they can survive an 8.9 earthquake and reduce the number of critical
failure points. Toshiba’s 4S reactors, which have been around for
several years now, though not yet commercially successful, do all that
quite easily.

4S reactor cores are like nuclear building blocks, built on a factory
production line and transported by truck to be installed 30 meters
under the ground. Each 4S puts out 10 megawatts of electricity or
enough for 2000 Japanese homes. Following this path means the lost
1000 megawatt reactors will need 100 4S’s each to replace them or a
total of 1200 4S reactors. 4S’s are fueled at the factory, put in
place to run for 20 years then returned to the factory for refueling.
They are sodium-cooled and pretty darned impossible to melt down. If
the cooling system is compromised they automatically shut down and
just sit there in a block of sodium.

<http://nextbigfuture.com/> also has articles on mini nuclear power stations.


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