Saturday, 7 December 2019

Small Modular Reactors. OK, Roller!

Rolls Royce SMR. Now, doesn’t that look cool!
Here’s something I’ve often wondered about: there are heaps of nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines around the world.  As far as I know they haven’t had a single accident since they were introduced just after WW2. 
So, I’ve wondered, why can’t we have those smaller reactors dotted around the place? Why do we have to have monster plants, over 1 GW capacity, that take ages to build and cost a bomb (as it were....).
Answer is, there’s no reason why not, and it’s starting to happen: now they’re called SMRs, Small Modular Reactors. They’re good for generating electricity in out of the way places -- eg outback Australia -- and for the power to make eco-fuels that the aviation industry needs.
Here is Rolls Royce pushing the concept. OK, Roller!
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is pitching nuclear reactors as the most effective way of powering the production of carbon-neutral synthetic aviation fuel without draining global electricity grids.
Drawing on technology developed for nuclear-powered submarines, the small modular reactors or SMRs could be located at individual plants to generate the large amounts of electricity needed to secure the hydrogen used in the process, according to Chief Executive Officer Warren East.  Read on...
Thing is, the world focusses on electricity generation: which is all about renewables. But electricity generation is responsible for only 25% of total carbon emissions. The rest comes from things like farting cows and flying planes. So we need some focus on those emissions too...
From the IPCC 2014