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Rolls-Royce on track for 2030 delivery of UK SMR

April 27, 2021
tags:

By Paul Homewood

 

h/t Ray Sanders

 

 

This news came out in February, but I don’t recall it being widely reported:

 

 

 

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Speaking to delegates at the Westminster Energy Forum webinar Materiality of Nuclear for Global Net Zero, Stein highlighted the consortium Rolls-Royce is leading for the UK SMR project. This includes Assystem, Atkins, BAM Nuttall, Jacobs, Laing O’Rourke, National Nuclear Laboratory, Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre and TWI.

Schedule

Stein said: "This is real. Phase 1 is now coming to an end. That was the ‘feasibility and investability’ phase where we worked with the UK government to bring this thing to light; to turn it from a paper idea to an investable design. We’re now moving into Phase 2, which is a joint investment by the UK government, by the consortium members, and now, very importantly, third-party equity is coming in, believing in the approach, believing in the design. Phase 2 will be under way in about May of this year, with a view to completing GDA in about 2024, and power on grid in about 2030 for the first SMR."

This is "a realistic and low-risk programme", he said, thanks to the construction method and the use of a "standardised" pressurised water reactor. As UK intellectual property, it is a great export opportunity and not merely a way for the country to meet its own net-zero by 2050 target, he added. By that year, production of the UK SMR could reach "the high 100s to low 1000s" of units, but these will not necessarily all be made by the UK consortium.

"One of the key scaling factors in this design is the use of digital twinning," Stein said. "So, right from the start, we’ve looked at a hybrid licensing model where initially the UK consortium makes all the power stations but as we get foreign interest – and already, foreign interest is building with quite a momentum, actually – parts can be exported and other parts can be made by those countries that subscribe to the right licensing authority. So the scaling has already been considered as part of the initial design, but the sky’s the limit. The world currently uses USD4 trillion of fossil fuels every year – coal, gas and oil. All of that has to be repurposed into renewable technology, and we in the nuclear industry have got a chance to repurpose that energy through SMR technology."

Applications

One UK SMR will be able to power a city the size of Leeds, while global grid capacity demand for SMRs is set to exceed 79 GWe by 2040, Stein said. He also described how the UK SMR can be used not only for grid-based electricity, but in a variety of applications to decarbonise the energy system, including aviation fuel.

"One of the beauties of the SMR approach, is it becomes quite a low-cost source of energy for other parts of the decarbonisation scene, such as hydrogen and synthetic fuel," he said. One UK SMR and plant will be able to produce 170 tonnes of H2 or 280 tonnes of net-zero synthetic fuel per day, he added.

Rolls-Royce believes it will also be able to produce synthetic kerosene as a substitute to Jet A fuel "at around about twice the price" of fossil fuel-based kerosene.

"That isn’t really that bad and gets us into the territory of being a believable option," he said. "Aviation globally needs 500 million tonnes of Jet A by 2050, so there’s a massive industry building up in its own right alongside hydrogen and alongside grid power. The global market by 2040 is more than 500 million tonnes of synth fuel per year."

One UK SMR and associated infrastructure can heat or cool a city the size of Sheffield, with the annual global requirement for district heating/cooling forecast to be more than 10,000 TWh by 2040.

For water desalination, one UK SMR and an associated desalination plant will be able to produce 500 million cubic metres of potable water per year, he said, adding that global demand for potable water is expected to rise beyond 1 trillion cubic metres per year by 2040.

Stressing that the UK SMR is "a power station design and not a nuclear reactor", he said it has an availability factor greater than 90% and enhanced Gen III+ levels of safety and security.

Asked about the projected scale of production by 2050, Stein said: "For just replacing electricity on the grid, it’s somewhere between 10 and 16 units by 2050. Then, for hydrogen, which is going to build up, particularly for transport, buses and home heating. Then, we’ve got the big aviation fuel initiative in the UK, which itself could create a market for a few 10s of units. The other markets are speculation, but I suspect they’ll be greater than the grid market."

Cost

Each UK SMR will cost GBP1.8 billion (capex) and GBP40-60/MWh over 60 years.

"By getting the price down to GBP1.8 billion, it’s very much in the territory now of being able to access private equity to buy and run a reactor, which means we believe that nuclear power can really mushroom in a way that hasn’t been the case for when it’s been a state-funded enterprise," Stein said.

"The UK SMR heralds a new approach to the cost of nuclear power by broadly rethinking the manufacturing and construction methods and by the extensive use of digital twinning whilst keeping the physics package exactly the same. This is a pressurised water reactor of a type we know and love."

He continued: "All of the design philosophy is designed to minimise the cost of energy coming out, so for grid-based energy at a reasonable price for cost of capital we believe we can deliver electricity at GBP40/MWh, which is about USD56/MWh, over the 60-year life of the reactor, with a capital cost of nth-of-a-kind, with n being about 5, of GBP1.8 billion for what was a 440-megawatt power station, but we’ve now found a way of getting 470 MW of electric out of the core. Everything in this power station is about reducing cost, so it’s about ‘freezing the physics’ of the reactor and then looking at every aspect of the design, working out how the cost can be driven down, the cost being the historical challenge of nuclear power."

About 90% of the value of the nuclear power station is delivered in a factory environment. That means, the nuclear island, the main concrete assembly and the other "major elements" are pre-fabricated and put together on-site.

"The power station operators have got a far lower cost of capital to raise. We’re talking a GBP1.8 billion power station, with something like four years from placement of the order to selling electricity on the grid. Shortening that cycle changes the paradigm of nuclear power and actually makes the whole fleet approach to SMRs really quite attractive."

https://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Rolls-Royce-on-track-for-2030-delivery-of-UK-SMR

 

  There has never been any doubt about the technical feasibility of SMRs, it has rather been a  question of cost and safety. It now appears that Phase 1 has shown that SMRs can compete economically, if costs of £40 to £60/MWh are right.

The next stage is the detailed design assessment.

 

What seems to be absolutely clear now is:

  1. All further CfD auctions for wind power should be suspended immediately. Even the most recent batch of offshore wind projects are priced at over £47/MWh, and will costs much higher when intermittency is costed in.
  2. The proposed roll out of heat pumps should also be abandoned, until the viability of hydrogen is assessed.
65 Comments
  1. Colin R Brooks permalink
    April 27, 2021 5:30 pm

    Considering that Tokamak Will have a small scale spherical Fusion reactor commercially available also before the end of the decade, this seems a little late?

    • April 27, 2021 6:43 pm

      I’ll believe that when I see it. For all of my 60 years on the planet, Fusion power has always been just a decade away.

      • Colin R Brooks permalink
        April 27, 2021 7:24 pm

        During my 73 years one the planet I have seen exactly the same as you but I also learned to examine the facts before I agree or disagree with any opinions.

    • Chilli permalink
      April 27, 2021 9:17 pm

      I remember my 1992 university prospectus had a picture of a Tokamak on the cover. 20 years later and it still can’t lift the skin off a rice pudding,

    • Colin R Brooks permalink
      April 28, 2021 3:18 pm

      I honestly think there is some confusion here, Tokamak has been the name of a type of fusion reactor but I was talking about Tokamak Energy based in Milton, Oxfordshire. The original target for Tokamak was 2030 but they recently announced that development was speeding up (announced this month).

  2. April 27, 2021 5:31 pm

    Exciting prospect. Out of interest, do you have anything on Infinite Power?

  3. devonblueboy permalink
    April 27, 2021 5:33 pm

    It hasn’t been reported as it doesn’t fit the Chicken Licken doom & gloom strategy promulgated by the greenies and their political placemen

  4. Broadlands permalink
    April 27, 2021 5:36 pm

    None of that can help the Paris Accord’s Net-zero requirement of lowering the CO2 in the atmosphere to keep the global temperature from rising. Nor will it help the transportation industry move goods and services very far for very long during the long period of emission reductions to reach zero emissions.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      April 27, 2021 6:06 pm

      That maybe so but it does point a way of reducing the very costly and unreliable renewables. It even shows a way of generating hydrogen for our heating and transport. Regardless of what we think of CC and the World’s luny direction to combat it, this is a technology which is fit for purpose and it might actually allow us a lifestyle to which we have become accustomed. It might also keep us warm as well.

      • Broadlands permalink
        April 27, 2021 7:49 pm

        Agree Mike. Now if we can get the politicians and other policymakers to stop trying to save the planet with CO2 mitigation plans that are destructive to economies and will do nothing to the climate in the end, we might have those better lifestyles. If not, we will be likely be relegated to live a third-world lifestyle. Back to hunters and gatherers?

      • Harry Passfield permalink
        April 27, 2021 9:09 pm

        Why use a perfectly effective and available gas to create another gas to replace the progenitor? I’m sorry, if hydrogen is the answer to our power requirements question (NOT CC!) then is must have been a stupid question.
        (And I don’t see thousand s of wind turbines creating expensive hydrogen as being a answer to anything).

  5. ianprsy permalink
    April 27, 2021 5:52 pm

    Saw this in comments and it looks very promising. How soon before UK Gov finds a way of giving it away? Isn’t the answer to hit this hard plus gas and by the time 2050’s in sight, we should know whether CO2’s really a problem? Hydrogen just seems wrong as a realistic, working solution. Costs too much and too difficult to handle.

  6. April 27, 2021 5:54 pm

    Nice article Paul, thanks for posting. Perhaps I’m being thick (quite possible), but there is one astonishing piece of bollox, “synthetic kerosene as a substitute to Jet A fuel”. Surely, that’s a complete oxymoron. How will the CO2 emissions differ, if at all, between the two?

    • Colin MacDonald permalink
      April 27, 2021 6:40 pm

      Perhaps they combine Hydrogen from electrolysis and Carbon from CO2? Not sure how you take carbon out of the atmosphere on an industrial scale. Most likely it would use coal.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 27, 2021 6:42 pm

      Synthetic fuels are made by hydrogenation of environmental ‘carbon’ (CO2 from the air etc.), so provided you have a ‘carbon’ free source of energy……… it’s neutral.

    • Mike Stoddart permalink
      April 27, 2021 7:15 pm

      It’s going to be made out of used chip fat.
      So if you want to fly you will have to produce a sufficient number of receipts from your local chippy.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      April 27, 2021 7:43 pm

      The fuel will be much the same as other synthesised fuels from e.g. SASOL (starts from coal), or Chevron and Shell (starts from methane). The difference is that CO2 is the starting feedstock.

      Here’s one research project on using a catalyst

      https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-020-20214-z

      Of course, it is costly to do – double the fuel cost quoted may assume “free CO2” as an input, rather than including the cost of CO2 capture. So air fares would have to go up.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 27, 2021 9:57 pm

      Okay allow me to explain. CO2 can be directly removed from the atmosphere by an Amine Adsorption process. Basically air is passed over a filter and the CO2 (and also water vapour) stick onto the surface. This does not require much energy at all as it is only a harvesting process. To desorb the CO2 requires energy in the form of low grade heat at about 90°C which “dries” it out for collection of the C02.
      A nuclear plant operates just like any other heat engine and has to throw away heat energy to work known as “Reject Heat” To enumerate that Sizewell B is rated as 3600MW thermal energy to produce 1200MW Electrical hence it literally throws away (into the North Sea) 2/3rds of its product. This reject heat (slightly enhanced from the primary circuit) could and does have many uses such as District Heating https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beznau_Nuclear_Power_Plant#Refuna_nuclear_district_heating
      Or in this case to desorb the CO2 from the filters. Using this almost free waste energy makes the process known as Direct Air Capture (DAC) of CO2 much more of an economic proposition.
      Secondly production of hydrogen requires energy input (about 50KWh per kg of hydrogen compressed and stored) BUT not all this energy input is required as electricity, it can also be partly (or even totally) in the form of heat (see High Temperature Electrolysis). Again this helps make the economics of hydrogen production from water much more effective from nuclear than the crazy idea of using renewables and it also benefits from continuous availability 24/7/365.
      So you have CO2 and H2 (plus O2) which is where the Fischer Tropsch process comes in
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischer%E2%80%93Tropsch_process
      To make synthetic hydrocarbons.
      As RR claim the process is likely to be about double the price of regular fossil fuel sources but it does have advantages of being almost 100% pure so no nasty SOx and easier to regulate NOx production. This type of fuel would only be viable for aviation due to likely scale limitations but remember there is no change whatsoever to the aircraft – not reinventing the wheel..
      does that make it clearer?

      • April 27, 2021 10:28 pm

        Ray:

        Much clearer, thank you for taking the time to explain. Worth having as a post in its own right rather than being hidden away in the comments.

        To summarise: the aviation fuel is obtained by recycling CO2 already in the atmosphere using nuclear generated electricity and the waste heat from the nuclear process using already well proven chemical engineering processes.

        It would be nice to hope that Avgas could be generated in the same way to ensure we can keep all our historic / vintage aircraft flying as well.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        April 27, 2021 11:19 pm

        To answer Johnthorogood. Using variants of the fischer tropsch process you can make any hydrocarbon you want so no problem with Avgas.
        Regarding waste heat from nuclear reactors there is another very interesting form of transportable energy carrier for home heating that I will detail later on.

  7. Peter Yarnall permalink
    April 27, 2021 5:57 pm

    Having spent my student and working life giggling at the ignorance proliferating the “Nuclear Power? No Thanks” posters, I’m not sure.
    Once the naive and brainwashed greenies have finished running to their mummies in terror, they will probably try to find a way to ban the process.

    • Mad Mike permalink
      April 27, 2021 6:11 pm

      It must be ever more abundantly clear to even our politicians that the costs of their agendas are out of control and unaffordable. This might well be a big part of the way to get themselves out of a tight spot so the Greenies might have a problem.

      • April 28, 2021 8:50 am

        Virtue signalling is all that interests politicians. They know they’ll be out of office when the bills come in for all their crazy decisions; working as highly paid consultants for NGOs

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 27, 2021 10:29 pm

      Actually this may surprise you but in many places there have been petitions in favour of new nuclear plants. I am down in Kent (and yes I might just have an association with the industry!)
      and this was what happened here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-12277874
      You will find that whilst there will be the inevitable rent-a-mob protestors, there would be strong support for new nuclear in Wales (Wylffa and Trawsfynned which is being touted as the first Rolls Royce site), Hartlepool for certain and probably even in Scotland. The GMB union loves nuclear.
      It often makes me smile that people think nuclear plants are in the middle of nowhere, I usually tell people to look at postcode TS25 2BZ on google maps. I once had to walk there from Seaton Carew station, it didn’t take long.

  8. markl permalink
    April 27, 2021 6:49 pm

    Can’t hurt and in fact may be a savior from the demonizing of fossil fuels. Look to see the SMR attacked as well since it doesn’t meet the goal of crashing economies.

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 27, 2021 6:50 pm

    We should have gone all out for fracking for gas as a bridge to more practical and cost effective energy solutions instead of brain-dead politicians forcing expensive rubbish technologies like wind on us. And I’m not saying that with the benefit of hindsight.

    • April 27, 2021 9:15 pm

      Nor did Prof Sir David MacKay, who told our politicos not to touch wind turbines because of the storage problem.
      As usual, they did not listen.

  10. Jack Broughton permalink
    April 27, 2021 7:37 pm

    About time too, wonder why the mighty meja have been so quiet about it. At an installed cost of about £ 4m / MWe this should easily make £40 / MWh generation. However, this depends on the load factor (LF), if the LF is forced down by the guaranteed prices for unreliables it will become expensive power. Attaching District Heating or hydrogen to the projects will require massive subsidies. District heating needs the reactor to be near a city – not likely to go down well unless President Xi makes a take-over bid.

    If we need some heat-only nuclear reactors in or near cities: Westminster would be an ideal starting point.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      April 27, 2021 9:08 pm

      Load factor is certainly important. Current grid demand runs with an average that is about 60% of the peak, while base load is probably around 30% of peak. Heating demand currently met by gas is very highly seasonal, with the peak about 5-6 times the summer demand for heating (mainly water) and cooking.

      If you award base load to nuclear, then the remaining generation has to cover 70% of the peak (perhaps more if you electrify gas heating) while providing 50% of the demand, for a 35% average utilisation. How much flexibility the SMR has to flex is also important. of course, you might be able to maintain output by “dumping” into hydrogen. But hydrogen from electrolysis is very expensive, even with market price electricity at £40/MWh, and only intermittent availability of surplus power is not going to help.

      I did a quick spreadsheet on the capital charge element of cost under different financing cost and utilisation assumptions:

      https://image.vuukle.com/9ffc6604-feed-474e-a82d-c2de2f561502-5659ac76-d627-479f-8103-2ee5b624bad9

      Fuel and O&M costs are usually very small for nuclear.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        April 27, 2021 11:27 pm

        Hi IDAU Moltex are adding a molten salt heat storage system to their designs to make the plants operate as “peakers” as well as base load in order to overcome some of the problems you highlight.
        https://www.moltexenergy.com/
        It is becoming quite noticeable how the nuclear options are looking to steal the renewables gimmicks!

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 28, 2021 12:38 pm

        Storage is all about the economics. Dinorwig was built to complement Wylfa nuclear power station, storing overnight for release primarily in peak demand hours. It has relatively good round trip efficiency of about 75%, and relatively low construction cost of £425m in the 1980s for 9.1 GWh and 5-6 hour duration. If we allow for the black start reserve which is paid for separately, it probably gets to turn over daily at least, giving opportunity to earn a margin.

        The problems for our future grid look rather different. Instability and lack of inertia are being tackled mainly by fast acting batteries – a big additional cost over traditional inertia from large generators to be sure, but clearly essential at higher levels of renewables. For now, wind intermittency is being handled mainly through the flexibility of CCGT generation, with limited additional help from interconnectors (they provide real help to Ireland). Surpluses are simply curtailed. Storage may be possible in theory, but it is uneconomic: round trips are too few when you are waiting for bad weather, or covering massive seasonal deficits.

        The only reasons hydrogen is being considered are that it is not a carbon based store, and it has some potential for storage in gas salt caverns in bulk. But it is quite evident that the sums on cost and scale have not been done. See for example this crtique

        https://mobile.twitter.com/bgprior/status/1386458247427727362

        Or the many different approaches Roger Andrews made to looking at storage at Euan Mearns’ site.

        So the Moltex store may have some use in a non renewables grid, like the French one has been, but it doesn’t offer real solutions given our current plans.

      • Sobaken permalink
        April 29, 2021 2:20 pm

        From gridwatch data for 2019, peak load was 50442 MW, average load was 31457 MW (62.3% of peak), and base load was 18789 MW (37.2% of peak).
        Equipping 470 MW plant with an equivalent power of electrolysers should cost around 280 million pounds in capital plus 32 million in fixed operations and maintenance costs (at least from the costs for electrolysers I’ve been able to find), so that’s like 60 million a year over the device’s 10 year lifetime.
        If the reactor was available 90% of the time, 38% of the its energy was directed towards hydrogen production (the rest supplying the grid), and process efficiency was at 65%, one reactor would produce 1.1 TWh of hydrogen annually, using 1.7 TWh of electricity.
        With electricity priced at £40/MWh, the hydrogen would cost around £116/MWh, quite expensive indeed.
        Providing all 50 GW of peak grid demand with such reactors (assuming this grid/hydrogen switching is flexible enough to balance the grid) would produce 118 TWh of hydrogen, equal to roughly 1/5 of the present gas demand listed by BEIS.
        Electrifying heat and transport would push peak load way upwards of 100 GW though.

      • Sobaken permalink
        April 29, 2021 3:16 pm

        Correction: as 37% of reactor output will always be going to grid as base load, electrolyser capacity would be proportionately smaller (296 MW instead of 470), meaning that fixed costs would actually be 37.8 million not 60, and hydrogen would cost £96/MWh.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 27, 2021 10:37 pm

      It may surprise you but nuclear reactors do run district heating systems. This one was retrofitted to the world’s oldest still operational plant/
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beznau_Nuclear_Power_Plant#Refuna_nuclear_district_heating
      And no they are not necessarily that remote – go to google maps and input postcode TS25 2BZ. It certainly is not remote at all.
      Furthermore there used to be reactors in London and nobody got too worried about it.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JASON_reactor and there was one at St Mary’s hospital.
      Despite claims they were not secret.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        April 28, 2021 11:10 am

        It certainly surprised me to learn about the Swiss power station used for district heating: as Boris would say “Ars longa vita brevis”.

        The Jason reactor, in Greenwich, was only rated at 10 kW so would be ideal for most homes, but I still think that the first one should be in Westminster, it would focus the minds of our arty parliament a bit.

        Could be a use for low grade nuclear waste.

      • MarkR permalink
        April 28, 2021 1:56 pm

        @Ray Sanders
        > and there was one at St Mary’s hospital
        St. Mary’s in Paddington? Wow, that is surprising.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        April 28, 2021 9:30 pm

        Sorry me being an idiot – not St Mary’s it was in Queen Mary’s hospital
        and ended up under the Olympic park.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Queen_Mary_University_of_London#Nuclear_reactor

  11. Jackington permalink
    April 27, 2021 8:24 pm

    Net Zero emissions ain’t ever gonna happen for reasons which are now well documented. We should stop Boris immediately doing any more damage and take this UK SMR project on board as a possible way forward. Can somebody please tell the Climate Change Committee?

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 27, 2021 10:48 pm

      “Can somebody please tell the Climate Change Committee?”
      Believe me I have – multiple times. Not only regarding this one but the UK (along with Canada) is big time into new nuclear. The Rolls Royce option is good to go and rapidly scale. But if you want the all singing all dancing truly amazing design here is another Can/UK one in advanced stages that can do just about everything imaginable; It is well worth a study of a unit that offers to use up all the existing waste leaving storage of a miniscule amount for less than 300 years (its effectively safe after 80 years) It can act as a peaking plant and is completely walk away passive safe.
      https://www.moltexenergy.com/

      • AC Osborn permalink
        April 28, 2021 9:34 am

        Updated abandoned technology.
        What a waste of all those years ignoring it. in favour of Atomic Weapons grade nuclear.

  12. April 27, 2021 9:18 pm

    That corrupt Ctee wil not listen

    Should’ve been abandoned and disbandend long ago.

  13. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 27, 2021 9:31 pm

    For comparison the Hinkley Point CFD is currently worth £106.12/MWh, and the projected cost of about £3.8m/MW is slightly above the cost for the Barakah complex in the UAE, which is about £3.3m/MW.

    Talk of 10-16 reactors for the UK grid suggests no expectation of more than about 8GW, which is not really all that much, even if it does save against the cost of EPRs like Hinkley Point – no new Sizewell for example. There is no synergy with wind production for producing synfuels and hydrogen (an electricity surplus is an electricity surplus however it is generated), although it might undercut wind (especially offshore floating wind – the National Grid crazy idea) quite handsomely.

  14. Paul Kolk permalink
    April 27, 2021 9:44 pm

    Sounds like a very good idea….but I’m not sure that Mr Stein should have quite used the phrase that he did: ” can really mushroom in a way that hasn’t been the case ……” Some might get the wrong idea (as usual).

  15. April 27, 2021 9:54 pm

    Why have we not done any work on Thorium molten salt reactors? The research was all done in the US in the 70’s. There are umpteen videos about it. One thing of course is you cannot make a bomb with the left overs!

    • Gamecock permalink
      April 27, 2021 10:32 pm

      The research determined that they were a waste of time, money and resources. That’s why.

      • Ray Sanders permalink
        April 27, 2021 11:32 pm

        Erm no it didn’t. Moltex are in the process of a fast spectrum stable salt breeder right now
        https://www.moltexenergy.com/our-first-reactor/

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 28, 2021 3:02 am

        Why?

        And let us know when that actually produce something on a commercial basis.

        “Moltex are in the process of a fast spectrum stable salt breeder right now”

        Your link: ‘Moltex is on its way to having an operational reactor by 2030.’

        Ha ha ha ha ha! So 2030 is “right now?”

        BWTM. I downloaded their brochure:

        Click to access Moltex-Brochure-8.25-x-5.83-Sep-14-2020-Digital.pdf

        It doesn’t mention THORIUM. AT ALL.

        You changed subjects, Mr Sanders. Pardonme mentions “Thorium molten salt reactors.”

        You trot out Moltex as an example. Moltex is NOT working on Thorium molten salt reactors.

      • AC Osborn permalink
        April 28, 2021 9:42 am

        You are only partially correct.
        They were of no use to Governments around the world because they DID NOT produce Weapons Grade Uranium for making Atom and Hydrogen bombs and it didn’t produce more fuel for other reactors.
        There was nothing wrong with the design and it operated successfully for 4 years.

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 28, 2021 6:33 pm

        Oh, boy. Welcome to the clown show, Mr Osborn.

        The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment at Oak Ridge National Laboratories was ALWAYS about designing and testing commercial electricity generation reactors. It was a follow-on to their original attempts to create a nuclear reactor for aircraft propulsion.

        That “They were of no use to Governments around the world because they DID NOT produce Weapons Grade Uranium for making Atom and Hydrogen bombs” is goofball ignorant.

        The AEC selected a different design for nuclear power plants. Which also do not produce blah blah blah.

  16. Ray Sanders permalink
    April 27, 2021 10:09 pm

    Can I add a further relevant point. Most climate scientists (whilst somewhat deluded about many things in my opinion) are actually strongly in favour of Nuclear power as they recognise its values. Indeed even the High Priest of Climate Prof James Hansen is strongly in favour of it. It is actually Green Party watermelon nut jobs who oppose it not because they do not think it will work BUT because they know damn well it will!
    To quote Hansen’s personal view
    “‘After I joined other scientists in requesting the leaders of Big Green to reconsider their adamant opposition to nuclear power, and was rebuffed, I learned from discussions with them the major reason: They feared losing donor support. Money, it seems, is the language they understand. Thus my suggestion: The next time you receive a donation request, doubtless accompanied with a photo of a cuddly bear or the like, toss it in the waste bin and return a note saying that you will consider a donation in the future, if they objectively evaluate the best interests of young people and nature.’
    Also along with some others of the brotherhood Hansen had the following open letter published (almost unbelievably) by the Guardian.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/03/nuclear-power-paves-the-only-viable-path-forward-on-climate-change
    The problem is not really the Climate Scientists as they are just hapless fools used by politically motivated nasty pieces of work i.e. the Greens.

  17. Mack permalink
    April 27, 2021 10:28 pm

    I admire Mr Stein’s enthusiasm and optimism.

    If only western governments, worried about Co2 induced global warming, had invested the trillions wasted on subsidising immature and inefficient sunshine and breezes technology, in SMR Co2 neutral technology instead, who knows where we would be now? But, of course, the communal wailing and gnashing of teeth from alarmists about Co2 emissions has got bugger all to do with Co2, otherwise we would have gone majority nuclear years ago. The fact that we haven’t, demonstrates the dishonesty in the entire alarmist playbook.

    Cheap, reliable energy is the bedrock on which modern civilisation and democracy rests. Remove that and one creates the environment in which the West is fatally hobbled. Tu bene? How the Chinese must be laughing at us. Talking of which, if Rolls Royce are as far advanced in the SMR roll out as they claim to be, I sincerely hope that they are keeping a very keen eye on their internet security and the loyalty of their technicians. Would anyone be shocked to find RR designed SMRs rolling out of factories in the Orient years before the pen pushers in the UK had signed them off as being safe?

  18. Gamecock permalink
    April 27, 2021 10:37 pm

    RR SMR 10 years out. It was 10 years out in 2016. This is so funny.

    • Harry Davidson permalink
      April 27, 2021 11:27 pm

      That’s not what this 2016 press release says,
      https://www.reutersevents.com/nuclear/rolls-royce-plans-uk-funding-surge-upon-smr-design-approval
      That gives the earliest operational date as 2028, and that is with a fast approval process, and ‘fast’ was never going to happen. Anything better than ‘glacial’ in the UK nuclear industry is very fast.

    • AC Osborn permalink
      April 28, 2021 9:47 am

      You seem bent on knocking anything new nuclear, the SMR is merely updated Nuclear Submarine Reactor designs which have been operating for years.
      Give it a rest, the problems are not the designs the problems are the hoops needed to jump through and fences needed to jump over to get certification.

      • Gamecock permalink
        April 28, 2021 6:35 pm

        There you go again.

        Submarine reactors and commercial power reactors are radically different.

  19. Max Stravros permalink
    April 28, 2021 7:07 am

    We tried a “hydrogen economy” 60 years ago as town gas, was 50 % hydrogen/35 % methane. It was ditched in favour of natural gas (85 % methane) which has 2 – 3 times the energy content. A no brainer really. What next ? Revert to Windmills maybe ?

  20. April 28, 2021 9:25 am

    Gibberish allied with lots of jargon style initials, indicates very expensive and POINTLESS nonsense about to be foisted onto we long-suffering taxpayers. GO HOME, get a life, FIRSTLY try PROVING there’s ANY global warming!

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      April 28, 2021 1:25 pm

      Did you actually fully read the article? the whole point here is that when scaled this type of unit does not require tax payer or bill payer support. Whatever your thoughts on climate change are, you cannot deny fossil fuels are finite and becoming rapidly much more difficult to exploit. Nuclear fuels are not in short supply. There are claims that we would run out of sea water extracted uranium some time after the Sun itself “ran out”
      This lengthy but detailed film highlights the issues and numbers.

  21. Ray Sanders permalink
    April 28, 2021 2:02 pm

    Meanwhile over in the land of endless bullsh1t (The Guardian) we have today’s slice of anti nuclear drivel.
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/28/sizewell-c-nuclear-plant-could-kill-500m-fish-campaigners-claim
    Just off the coast at Dungeness B the seawater cooling water intake is locally known as “The Boil” – the excellent fish caught there are a local speciality. The area of the station is an SSSI and a top level RSPB site especially for migrating birds. The RSPB regularly commend EDF for their stewardship of the site whilst just down the road this was bitterly opposed
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Cheyne_Court_Wind_Farm
    Just look how the Guardian manages to infest everything, even the wikipedia article tries to claim the opposition was orchestrated by the “nuclear community” simply because that old hag of a witch Polly Toynbee needs to write another crap article that she knows nothing about.

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      April 28, 2021 3:35 pm

      I haven’t been here for a couple of days but have to echo an earlier comment that your contributions to this discussion are worthy of a guest post or even two.

      Thank you very much for all your comments which I found very informative.

  22. April 28, 2021 3:38 pm

    I’m all for it but – ‘Stressing that the UK SMR is “a power station design and not a nuclear reactor”‘.
    What is the difference?

  23. Ian Harris permalink
    April 28, 2021 4:33 pm

    As SNRs have been in use in the stringent environments of nuclear submarines for many years why is coming ashore such a problem?

  24. Ian Harris permalink
    April 28, 2021 4:34 pm

    As SNRs have been in use in the stringent environments of nuclear submarines for many years why is coming ashore such a problem?

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