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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 13, 2021

The structural materials that best suit various advanced nuclear reactors may not be readily available or be readily available at a reasonable cost if a steady supply line is not maintained. Like any manufactured asset, losing access to components means losing access to the asset altogether.

This is an interesting point-- are these materials not being used in other applications? Or are the margins on them narrow enough that losing some scale, even for a brief period of time, would sink those who make them? 

Michael Keller's picture
Michael Keller on Sep 20, 2021

The VTR is designed to support fast (highly energetic neutrons) reactor development. Thermal reactor development has no need for the VTR, as existing facilities are quite adequate.

The need for fast reactors remains a much debated topic in terms of economics, technology, operations as well as safety. Should note that fast reactors require the reprocessing of nuclear fuel and that is an expensive and problematic can-of-worms in and of itself.

Conventional nuclear reactors already face formidable economic challenges. The fast reactors are even more expensive. 

Makes more economic sense to concentrate on advanced conventional reactor development as the fast reactors are impractical, just like they have been for the last 50 years. Being the world leader in a wildly uneconomic approach is of no particular value, except perhaps to researchers.

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