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There's a reason we don’t use SMRs—reject their authors

Szondy, ‘12

[David, Gizmag, 2-16, “Feature: Small modular nuclear reactors - the future of energy?” http://www.gizmag.com/small-modular-nuclear-reactors/20860/]

As impressive as many of these reactors sound, most of them are still in one stage or another of development or approval. It is a long way from there to flipping a switch and watching the lights go on. Most of these designs have roots that go back over half a century.¶ In the 1950s, Admiral Hyman Rickover, the architect of the US nuclear fleet, pointed out that the small research reactors, the precursors of SMRs, had a lot of advantages. They were simple, small, cheap, lightweight, easy to build, very flexible in design and needed very little development. On the other hand, practical reactors must be built on schedule, need a huge amount of development spent on "apparently trivial matters", are expensive, large, heavy and complicated. In other words, there's a large gap between what is promised by a technology in the design phase and what it ends up as once it's built.So it is with the current stable of SMRs. Many hold great promise, but they have yet to prove themselves. Also, they raise many questions. Will an SMR need fewer people to run it? What are its safety parameters? Will they fulfill current regulations? Will the regulations need to be changed to suit the nature of SMRs? Will evacuation zones, insurance coverage or security standards need to be altered? What about regulations regarding earthquakes?

NRC is assessing SMRS with industry and public participation, but letting their demanding review process finish first is key to solvency

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