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Sudbury (Greater Sudbury, ON, Canada) letter: Small nuclear reactors not the answer

Sudbury letter: Small nuclear reactors not the answer, Published on: December 12, 2019

This last week, three premiers met to promote small modular nuclear reactors. They were Scott Moe of Saskatchewan, the home of uranium mining; Doug Ford, the home of nuclear power with the world’s largest nuclear reactor collection at Bruce Power and where Ontario gets about 60 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power; and Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick, which has one nuclear reactor.

All of these premiers are against the carbon tax, which is the most efficient way to decrease CO2 emissions. They have proposed putting our taxpayers’ money into the unproven technology of small modular nuclear reactors to address climate change.

We need to be instituting solutions now using renewable energy, not something that has not been built. There were more than a hundred designs for small modular nuclear reactors and that has been narrowed down to about a dozen, but none have even been built yet.

It has taken at least 10 years for a nuclear power reactor to be built in the world, but usually, it takes much longer and usually with cost overruns.

We also need an inexpensive solution. Small modular nuclear reactors will be extremely expensive, as has all nuclear power. This is why our electricity rates are so expensive here in Ontario compared to Quebec, which uses hydroelectricity and has closed Gentilly, its nuclear power plant.


I take special pleasure reading nonsense as above.  I have read a lot about small nuclear reactors development, but never understood how those miniature nuclear reactors were connected to power, aka electrical energy, generation…


Abraham Lincoln or Mark Twain: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 23, 2019 2:39 pm GMT

I have read a lot about small nuclear reactors development, but never understood how those miniature nuclear reactors were connected to power, aka electrical energy, generation

What do you think is holding them back? That the economics won't work or the tech itself?

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 23, 2019 5:15 pm GMT

They aren't being "held back" at all, Matt. Full speed ahead.

UAMPS members execute power sales contracts for SMR project

How NuScale's power modules generate electricity here.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Dec 23, 2019 11:34 pm GMT

I agree that full speed ahead is how I've long read about these, which is why I'm curious to hear more about why Noam thought they couldn't be a viable solution in connection to the power grid

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 23, 2019 5:08 pm GMT

Noam, what about this letter to the editor, obviously written by someone who has no idea what he's writing about, makes you feel it's worth sharing with the EC community?

Noam Mayraz's picture
Noam Mayraz on Dec 24, 2019 3:26 am GMT

Matt and Bob, it is very simple; I am an engineer and required details of the whole enchilada.  Stating that 'miniature nuclear reactors are the solution' is a meaningless statement.

Nuclear reactors do not convert atomic energy to electrical power.  That is fake media at its best, boosted by leftists’ professors and corrupt politicians.

The public is intimidated by such publication because they do not want to glow in the dark.

We use nuclear reactors to generate steam.  The current nuclear reactors are steam power plants no different than coal-fired, gas-fired and/or combined cycle.

With steam we need (i) a steam turbine to spin the generator.  We need (ii) a condenser to convert the steam to condensate water.  We need (iii) a cooling system to recycle the water.

Miniature nuclear reactors therefore will be too expensive to operate as "Miniature" power plants.  We currently are using 1250 MW units (Read: Steam-generators sets, usually two (2) or three (3) per site (2.5 GW or 3.75 GW each site).

Miniature nuclear reactors working as a distributed power is a sad joke, an exercise in futility.  Just another hoax...

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Dec 24, 2019 8:21 am GMT

"Miniature nuclear reactors working as a distributed power is a sad joke, an exercise in futility.  Just another hoax..."

Noam, as an engineer I'm sure you've heard of Fluor Corporation, one of the world's largest publicly-traded engineering, procurement, construction, and maintenance companies (Below: the Al-Zour Oil Refinery they recently built for Kuwait Integrated Petroleum Industries).

You should let them know NuScale Corporation, currently hard at work on one of the most promising Small Modular Reactor (SMR) designs, is a hoax. Fluor invested $30 million in NuScale back in 2011, and they're quite bullish on the company's prospects:

"In April 2018, NuScale's SMR design certification application became the first ever to complete U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Phase 1 review. In July 2019, the NRC completed Phases 2 and 3 of the design certification process. In December 2019, the NRC completed Phase 4 and it remains on track to finish the review by September 2020.

Utilizing NuScale Power's technology, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) is planning to construct the first commercial small modular reactor (SMR) power plant. The SMR power plant will be located on the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) 890-square-mile Idaho site that could generate 720 MW of emissions-free power in a relatively small footprint."

Funny, renewables advocates say nuclear plants are too big and costly. When engineers design a smaller and more affordable version, oil professionals pile on, claiming they're not big enough.

A sure indicator both view robust, clean nuclear energy as a threat. And they should, because it's going to put them both out of business - the sooner, the better.

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