Inspenet, December 8, 2023.
The US and France unite for small modular reactors
The Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) presented its new initiative called “Accelerating SMR for Net Zero” during COP28 . The launch took place at the high-level event “Atoms for Net Zero”, organized by the presidency of the aforementioned event.
David Turk of the US Department of Energy and Sophie Mourlon, Director of Energy of the General Directorate of Energy and Climate of the French Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, joined NEA Director General William D. Magwood IV, as founding members during the presentation of the initiative.
It should be noted that the initiative to promote Small Modular Reactors (SMR) to achieve carbon neutrality will be based on the extensive network made up of industry leaders, governments, researchers and experts linked to the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA). Your approach will be to establish a practical, solutions-focused platform, with a clearly defined work plan to facilitate collaboration and knowledge sharing.
The primary objective will be to help decision-makers maximize the potential of SMRs, emphasizing practical tools, economic analysis and policy recommendations to provide valuable information to guide government and industry policy decisions and investments. and financial.
Small Modular Reactors’ drive to achieve carbon neutrality highlights the comprehensive assessments provided by the NEA SMR Dashboard regarding progress toward commercialization and implementation of SMR and Generation IV technologies.
This approach joins other sources that focus on technical attributes and technology readiness levels (TRL). Together, the assessments cover aspects such as technical readiness and NEA SMR Panel considerations such as licensing, location, financing, supply chain, commitments and fuel. These assessments provide valuable insights into the SMR technologies and projects that are advancing most rapidly, from conceptual to commercialization, in various global markets.
Global reach for small modular reactors
As the push for Small Modular Reactors around the world intensifies, numerous policymakers are looking to stay on par with private sector innovation for the commercialization of SMR designs and deployment opportunities, in line with decarbonization efforts. .
Effectively tracking innovation in SMR for power generation and industrial applications, driven by the private sector, will require strong cooperation between governments, the public-private sector and businesses. Currently, there are 42 SMR projects in development around the world, with a significant focus on the United States (see pages 12 and 13 of the attached document).
To achieve substantial progress, especially in key areas such as licensing readiness, financing, supply chain, workforce development, fuel availability and waste management, significant international collaboration will be needed. Strategic collaboration in these areas can help reduce both costs and barriers to SMR implementation.
What are SMRs?
Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are a proposed category of nuclear fission reactors that are smaller in size compared to conventional nuclear reactors.
These can be manufactured at a certain location, such as a factory, and then transported, installed and operated at a separate location. The SMR designation refers exclusively to size, capacity, and modular construction, without specifying the reactor type or associated nuclear process.
The designs range from scaled-down variants of existing models to proposed Generation IV designs. Both thermal neutron and fast neutron reactors have been contemplated, incorporating models with cooling by gases and molten salts.
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