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US Small-Scale Nuclear Reactor Industry Gains Traction In Missouri

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the grabbing-market-share-from-mr-fusion dept.

Power 200

trichard writes with this quote from an AP report: "Ameren Missouri is vying to be the first utility in the country to seek a construction and operating license for a small-scale nuclear reactor, a technology that's appealing to utilities because of the smaller upfront costs and shorter development lead times. The small reactors, about a fourth or less the capacity of full-size nuclear units, are appealing to the nuclear industry because they could be manufactured at a central plant and shipped around the world. By contrast, building nuclear reactors today is a more cumbersome process that must be done largely on site and takes years."

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How does the MTBF scale? (4, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748519)

Do lots of smaller reactors fail at a rate statistically below or at least equal to a single larger reactor that generates the same amount of power?

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748575)

Do lots of smaller reactors fail at a rate statistically below or at least equal to a single larger reactor that generates the same amount of power?

From TFS:

"Ameren Missouri is vying to be the first utility in the country to seek a construction and operating license for a small-scale nuclear reactor,

Guessing this means it's probably far to early to tell...

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748627)

Guessing this means it's probably far to early to tell..

Should be calculated by the engineers in the design phase of the project.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0, Offtopic)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748653)

I just love it that Alaska [wikipedia.org] isn't considered 'part of the country'. Maybe we should just go back to being in Russia, although I would prefer Canada myself.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748685)

Then if we could only get Mexico to take back Texas, the country would be perfect!

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (-1, Offtopic)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748757)

Then if we could only get Mexico to take back The Communist Republic of Kalifornia, the country would be perfect!

FTFY.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748799)

California is the 8th largest economy in the world, or so. It is in no way Communist, perhaps it has some social programs but that is not communism. Communism is a real thing, not just some slur you use against people wealthier than you.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748937)

A lot of people in the US have no idea how much poorer they would be without California and New Jersey.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749043)

A lot of people in the US have no idea how much poorer they would be without California and New Jersey.

[Citation needed]

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749019)

California is the 8th largest economy in the world, or so. It is in no way Communist, perhaps it has some social programs but that is not communism. Communism is a real thing, not just some slur you use against people wealthier than you.

Oh, grow a sense of humor.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (-1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749083)

I have a sense of humor, but using communist as a slur is not funny. Nations claiming to be communist have killed millions and are still killing more in places like North Korea. Trivializing that is not funny.

Nor is it constructive to attack the very parts of our nation that make us one of the wealthiest nations in history.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39749159)

Nations claiming to be capitalist have murdered millions. I don't get your point.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749239)

My point is Capitalist nations are generally not what one thinks of as police states. You knew that though. Instead you wanted to distract from the point, I am glad that you live in a country were people have enough free time to do that. I bet it is a capitalist nation or blended economy nation.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (-1, Flamebait)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749483)

No, Capitalists are responsible for the largest terrorist attack in the history of man kinds. You know, a couple hundred thousand people wiped out by two bombs in Japan?

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749551)

That was not a terrorist attack. It was a legitimate action in a war. Nice try though. Funny how you bring that up but fail to mention that fire bombing killed a lot more people in Japan.

Capitalists are guilty of many things, but so far they have tended to use religion as a reason for those things instead of their own economic ideology.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749333)

I have a sense of humor, but using communist as a slur is not funny.

You're right; how insensitive of me to potentially offend communist nations by comparing them to a place like Kalifornia.

My bad.

Nor is it constructive to attack the very parts of our nation that make us one of the wealthiest nations in history.

Citation needed.

Considering that Kalifornia is constantly on the verge of fiscal default, [bloomberg.com] thanks in large part to mostly unfunded social welfare (not that I have a problem with social welfare in principle, only in how it's distributed in places like Kalifornia), I would refrain from touting the states fiscal success if I were you.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749469)

You are not offending communists, your are trivializing what they are. You are no different than those that trivialize what the Nazis did by using that term as a generic slur for anyone they disagree with.

California is our nations largest economy. Wikipedia has a nice article about that. California could probably fund that stuff if they did not give more money in federal income tax than they receive.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1, Funny)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749247)

You're absolutely correct, they're not communists (well, very few are).

He should have said the "Social Democrat Republic of California".

They're not socialists either, but they do lean that direction, as long as it doesn't hurt the revenues of Hollywood or Silicon Valley.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749515)

Like you said they are not socialists so that does not fit either. Nor are they a republic, they are a state in our union. They lack national sovereignty.

Socialism is another thing all together. That again ignorant Americans seem to enjoy using as some sort of catchall slur at their opponents. I say Americans because I know of no other nation that has so many people that like to use labels for political ideologies as generic slurs. It is quite possible this happens in other nations I have not visited.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749627)

They are a republic [reference.com] . They're not an independent nation, but they are a sovereign state organized as a republic.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749721)

My mistake I thought republics had to be sovereign in the actual sense.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748897)

I'd rather keep both states and send off NYC (just the city), New Jersey, and California.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748963)

The USA would only have one real economy left, Texas.

Why do you want our country to be poor?
Why do you hate America and those Americans that make our country so rich and powerful?

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748771)

Bzzt wrong. The plant was never installed, Toshiba never got NRC approval.

They are part of the USA and they do not have one of these small reactors installed.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (2)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748795)

Have they applied for a license yet? According to the Wikipedia page on the reactor itself [wikipedia.org] , no.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1, Offtopic)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748837)

Who isn't considering Alaska part of the country? That plant is only proposed. From Wikipedia:

Toshiba never began the expensive process for approval that is required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

In other words, no one has yet sought a construction and operating license for a small-scale nuclear reactor yet. TFA is about a company that is, if not at that stage, is certainly under way toward it. Galena's plan is currently stalled.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748863)

Uh, Galena doesn't have a plant yet. Their plan is to use the same model nuclear reactor (Toshiba 4S), which has not been approved by the NRC yet. Ameren, Missouri can absolutely vie to be the first utility in the country to apply for a license.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748913)

Don't blame me, I didn't write the summary.

So, this means Ameren MO's small reactor will be the nations second, then?

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748949)

I just love it that Alaska [wikipedia.org] isn't considered 'part of the country'. Maybe we should just go back to being in Russia, although I would prefer Canada myself.

its probably just wishful thinking ... if only Palin wasn't American

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39749233)

Good point; you can see Russia from your house, after all.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749505)

Toshiba's suggesting that they could build a reactor there, is not the same thing as having an energy company apply for licenses to use a reactor.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748577)

Do lots of smaller reactors fail at a rate statistically below or at least equal to a single larger reactor that generates the same amount of power?

www.yorumlasak.com look

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748747)

Well, being newer designs than most large reactors, so that helps vs. existing installations, not vs. hypothetical new large reactor installations.

It should be easier (i.e. less incentive to break rules) to get small reactors removed from service when needed, since it won't be taking such a huge chunk of generation capacity offline, which is good.

Mass-produced at the factory vs. onsite building may mean a more skilled/careful workforce, reducing construction defects.

But there's no good reason I know of they should be inherently safer against abuse, accident, or neglect than larger reactors.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

gregulator (756993) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748779)

Mass-produced at the factory vs. onsite building may mean a more skilled/careful workforce, reducing construction defects.

I guess you've never worked in a factory. ;-)

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748815)

I guess you've never worked construction. :)

We're setting the bar pretty low here.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (2)

wintercolby (1117427) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749337)

Putty and paint make it what it ain't.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (3, Funny)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749113)

It's OK, they'll make them at Foxconn.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (5, Insightful)

honestmonkey (819408) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748855)

I suppose it depends on the design, but a smaller reactor can be built so that if it loses cooling it just shuts down (i.e. the reaction stops), not melts down. I remember reading about this a long time ago, about how we could have reactors in neighborhoods with no problems. Oh wait, here we go:

"Most [small reactors] are also designed for a high level of passive or inherent safety in the event of malfunction. A 2010 report by a special committee convened by the American Nuclear Society showed that many safety provisions necessary, or at least prudent, in large reactors are not necessary in the small designs forthcoming."

From http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf33.html [world-nuclear.org] .

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749071)

Does it matter? The econutters will do their damnedest to make sure none of these puppies go online. They've got a track record of going apeshit as soon as they hear the word 'nuclear'. And considering the units will be manufactured 'elsewhere' and shipped to the site, they'll scream that the terrorrorrorrorists will be able to shortstop one of them and make a WMD or something. This tells me that this idea, great in concept, just ain't gonna fly.

Pity. Thorium reactors are much safer all the way around and don't contain plutonium.

Re:How does the MTBF scale? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749207)

"econutters" have never stopped any plants before. They make a great strawman though, don't they?

The reality is plants tend to not get built due to them not being a very high return on investment.

Details (1)

RogueLeaderX (845092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748527)

Anyone have technical details for the reactors?

Re:Details (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748585)

Look up Toshiba 4S. Then give a big 'hello' to Galena, Alaska [wikipedia.org] (who has been trying to do this for a decade or so).

Re:Details (1)

RogueLeaderX (845092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748873)

So we're potentially looking at a couple of reactors we could ship "spent" fuel to burn it further?

Re:Details (2)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749139)

Sounds like old fashion Steam producing technology with the same safety issues of larger reactors: 300ÂC high-pressure steam that is begging to break stuff.

We should be going LFTR all the way.

Re:Details (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748727)

check out

  gen4energy.com used to be Hyperion Power Gereration

Re:Details (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748733)

Anyone have technical details for the reactors?

Of course! Just let us know your location and we'll send a team to deliver them.


Sincerely,
The FBI

Re:Details (1)

RogueLeaderX (845092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748927)

Anyone have technical details for the reactors?

Of course! Just let us know your location and we'll send a team to deliver them. Sincerely, The FBI

I wish I had mod points. Well played, sir, well played.

Re:Details (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748967)

Anyone have technical details for the reactors?

Hey, is that you Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Figures (-1, Flamebait)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748565)

Leave it to those of us in "flyover country" to actively move society forward, whilst the coastal elites bicker among themselves.

Re:Figures (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748641)

Soon you'll finally have electricity!

Running water won't be far behind!

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748769)

So finally they'll stop shitting in their sheds?

Re:Figures (3, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749031)

Running water won't be far behind!

Just don't run a Gieger counter over it.

Re:Figures (-1, Offtopic)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748741)

Using your welfare checks from us on the coasts. Check out a federal income tax map one day, it will take that bootstrappy feeling right out of you.

Re:Figures (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748839)

Check out a federal income tax map one day,

I did, and I was smart enough to find a "per-capita" listing/map:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_tax_revenue_by_state

-- SmartAss Midwesterner pwning a East/West-Coaster

Re:Figures (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748947)

Percapita my state still beats yours, so you just found another way to lose. Of the top 10 more than half are coastal and only 3 are in the midwest.
So you are poor and have a low population density, not anything to be proud of.
You should also look into federal spending in each state vs income taxes paid. Due to farm subsidies and unneeded military bases, also known as more red state subsidies, that also does not go well for you.

1. Delaware $19,493.95
2. Connecticut $15,485.74
3. Minnesota $15,141.03
4. New Jersey $14,008.70
5. New York $12,678.84
6. Massachusetts $11,594.60
7. Rhode Island $11,312.59
8. Nebraska $10,731.19
9. Illinois $10,539.40
10. Arkansas $9,644.48

Re:Figures (1)

RogueLeaderX (845092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749073)

Also a midwestern smartass; however, it appears the east coast still bests the midwest:

Rank State Revenue per capita

District of Columbia $34,665.63

35 Delaware $19,493.95

16 Connecticut $15,485.74

9 Minnesota $15,141.03

6 New Jersey $14,008.70

2 New York $12,678.84

12 Massachusetts$11,594.60

37 Rhode Island $11,312.59

33 Nebraska $10,731.19

5 Illinois $10,539.40

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39749231)

actually, you need to look at revenue - spending by state, you jackaninnie

Re:Figures (1, Offtopic)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748869)

Hmmm, trying to find Missouri on the per capita spending on welfare list [ppinys.org] . Oh, there it is at #37. No surprise the New England dominates the top of the list considering their political drift.

Re:Figures (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749601)

So in places where it is more expensive to live welfare pays more for people to live?
This also ignores federal spending.

You had better alert the press.

Odd Bit of State-ism Ya Got Yerself Der (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748911)

Leave it to those of us in "flyover country" to actively move society forward, whilst the coastal elites bicker among themselves.

Just thought you might like to know that the company that is building it for Ameren Missouri is Westinghouse, headquartered in Pennsylvania. As in George Westinghouse's corporation from New York. And they are looking for $452 million of investment funds from the U.S. Department of Energy in order to start this project ... does your state solely fund the DoE?

Also, I might point out to you that recent data shows that in 2005 for every dollar Missouri paid to the federal government you got back $1.32 [taxfoundation.org] .

whilst the coastal elites bicker among themselves

Could you describe what bickering is happening on the coasts that isn't happening in your own state?

I'm not saying anything bad about Missouri, I applaud this movement as I don't think Wind or Natural Gas or any single solution is going to save us moving forward so I'm happy to watch this piece of the puzzle be experimented with. Just don't go patting yourself on the back too hard or you'll get me started about the massive wind farms in my home state of Minnesota (that were set up by a largely Californian company selling it to almost anyone within cable laying distance).

Energy-wise, none of us are alone and we all share very similar problems.

Re:Odd Bit of State-ism Ya Got Yerself Der (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749115)

This would be one of those exceedingly rare situation in which I am intentionally trolling.

Judging from the responses thus far, I would consider it a successful outing...

That's what you fuckers get for not keeping me busy! XD

Re:Figures (0)

CompMD (522020) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749269)

I always like to remind the "coastal elites" that when they fly over us in the midwest, its in an airplane that was engineered and manufactured in Kansas. That usually shuts them up.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39749599)

That's funny because the Boeing 747, 767, 777, and 787s are built in Washington state. You know, just the major planes that make up the bulk of most airlines' fleets. With the 747-400 being the most common plane in service, your claim seems a bit weak.

Re:Figures (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749673)

When did they start designing Airbuses in the USA?

When did Boeing leave Washington?

Re:Figures (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749701)

You mean the same Cessna that has laid off half of its workforce since 2009 and continues to push more manufacturing to China? Wow, what an impressive story.

Missouri? (0)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748647)

Should be interesting. That place floods over and busts levees every year.

Re:Missouri? (1)

skine (1524819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748997)

While the Mississippi and Missouri rivers often flood, that doesn't meant that the entire state is prone to flooding.

And really, river floods are one of the easier natural disasters to account for.

Re:Missouri? (1)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749563)

While the Mississippi and Missouri rivers often flood, that doesn't meant that the entire state is prone to flooding.

And really, river floods are one of the easier natural disasters to account for.

Yeah, just ask the hard drive manufacturers.

Re:Missouri? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749693)

They knew the risks.

NIMBY (1)

chocapix (1595613) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748651)

At "about a fourth or less the capacity of full-size nuclear units", I'm sorry but it's still too large.

It just won't fit in my backyard, even if I try.

Re:NIMBY (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748755)

This is kind of my view of the future. Have very small nuclear reactors, the kind you find on Navy Submarines that can be used to power a very small area, maybe just a single subdivision. Mass producing small, self contained reactors would probably bring the costs and complexity down quite a bit. Plus distribution would be much cheaper, because you wouldn't have to have super high capacity lines going all over the place. Nuclear power isn't that scary. I see no reason that we allow people to have gas furnaces and water heaters in their houses, but do not allow them to have a small scale nuclear reactor.

Re:NIMBY (2, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748977)

Because a gas furnace that blows up might leave the house uninhabitable for a few days. A nuclear reactor that melts down might leave a few square miles uninhabitable for a century. I love nuclear power, but unless we can produce some sort of pebble-bed like system where the probability of radioactive contamination is nearly zero, putting them under the control of the average citizen is a terrible idea.

Plus, nuclear proliferation is still a very real problem.

Re:NIMBY (1)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749051)

How do you secure a reactor like this though?

If I have a gun can I shoot at it and it goes BOOM?
What if I have a grenade?
Rocket?
Large home-made bomb?
Stolen Bunker buster missile?

If you were able to get it to go BOOM or melt down, what are we talking about for containment? If it powers a suburban area 20sq miles, will the melt down only cause health issues for that 20sq miles or larger? If it impacts areas around it, do they get a say on how you deploy it and regulations you need to follow to secure it?

Re:NIMBY (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749697)

Only the last of those would do any damage, this will be buried. It will not go boom, nor meltdown, just spread waste around.

Re:NIMBY (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39749393)

Have very small nuclear reactors, the kind you find on Navy Submarines that can be used to power a very small area,

The problem is naval reactors are designed for a specific application and are not suitable for commercial applications for a number of reasons. They use highly enriched uranium as fuel for example.

But of course the idea of a system of distributed, inherently fail-safe small reactors is a good idea and this proof of concept is the first step.

Re:NIMBY (2)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749425)

Have very small nuclear reactors, the kind you find on Navy Submarines that can be used to power a very small area,

Small reactors like those on submarines tend to require weapons-grade fuel.

I see no reason that we allow people to have gas furnaces and water heaters in their houses, but do not allow them to have a small scale nuclear reactor.

See above.

Re:NIMBY (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748883)

It just won't fit in my backyard, even if I try.

Put in the front yard. It will keep the kids off your lawn.

Works for me.

These can be boons for small towns... (5, Insightful)

mlts (1038732) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748705)

For a small town, a small (~220 MW) plant will come very handy. It helps ensure they will be up if the grid goes down, that businesses would have a utility power guarantee, and it also gives clean power without having to deal with a coal or other fossil fuel plant.

I keep seeing these pieces of a puzzle popping up on /. that would solve the core problems our culture faces. A wind turbine to pull water from the air here, small reactors there, isobutane from CO2, better batteries from IBM, and self driving cars. Putting these technologies together, and we have done a lot for the transportation infrastructure. The reactors would give reliable power, which can be used to charge batteries on electric vehicles or make usable fuel for IC engines. Road congestion and even the need for a vehicle (as opposed to just renting one for a trip) would be eased by self driving cars.

I just wish some of these cool potential ideas came into practical use. Self driving cars would allow for a lot of flexibility especially.

As energy availability improves, so do economies.

Re:These can be boons for small towns... (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749367)

as i understand, nuclear (and hydro) are "base" supplies. they need to run 24/7. fossil fuel, especially liquid fuel and gas plants, can be turned on and off easily (can't close down a dam, or shutdown a reactor).

So the plant will need to power the town constantly and use the grid as backup.

Re:These can be boons for small towns... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749569)

Hydro can be turned off and on by simply closing the valve. The problem is that when you turn off the valve, the water starts to collect behind the dam, and if you leave it off for too long, it could overflow. However, it would be simple to create an overflow system in a hydro dam. Depending on how much power is needed at any one point, divert the water to the overflow system and just have it drain down the river instead of going through the turbines. You can also turn down nuclear by inserting those rods that slow down the nuclear reaction. There's also plenty of ways to use the excess power to our advantage. Have a smart grid that let people with battery units charge their batteries for super cheap when there is no demand for the excess power. Data centers, electric cars, even laptops could be programmed to draw and store more power when there is excess power on the grid. Maybe even fridges, freezers, and air conditioners could make more intelligent decisions about when to turn the compressor when it is more favorable for it to do so. Most air conditioners only run for part of the day anyways. If you synced up all the air conditioners in the neighbourhood so that they generated a smaller load instead of just when the temperature rose above a certain point (likely the same time for all houses in the same neighbourhood), you could releive quite a bit of stress on the grid.

Micro Nuclear Power Plants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748725)

I have been saying for years they need to build small (Nuclear Carrier) sized power plants and put them inside a huge building and built over a pool with heavily leaded water if there is ever a problem hit the mayday switch and the whole thing drops through the floor into a pool with a cover and the whole thing is contained in a matter of a minute or two at the most. clean efficient and SAFE. And how many time have there been failures of nuclear power plants on ships?

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748759)

And I have been saying for years that they need to invent a tiny little thing like a letter but it looks like a dot and you could put it at the end of a sentence like this.

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748877)

And how many time have there been failures of nuclear power plants on ships?

Statistics: There's not many nuclear ships. Given that nuclear reactors hardly ever fail on land you wouldn't expect a lot of failures on ships.

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749001)

err the point here is that the list of US/USSR reactor accidents is very very short. since most of those are the result of suicide/sabotage/dumb luck it does show that given enough safe guards nuclear power is "safe".

hint if you design things so that critical is rigged to a DEADMANs switch it has near zero chances of making a county "glow in the dark".

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748933)

That's a nice idea on paper, but a bad idea in the real world. One of the reasons those reactors are so small is that they are widely believed to use fuels that (due to proliferation risks) don't belong in places less secure than warships, and which cannot (for security reasons) be talked about in public.

On a political level, the last thing the atomic energy industry needs is confusion between materials that are only useful as fuel for power generation and materials that pose proliferation risks.

As a short-term emergency measure, pulling a submarine or aircraft carrier into a port and hooking up a couple of long power cords to it is a pretty nifty option for disaster relief in coastal areas, but that's as far as your idea is likely to go.

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (2)

Frangible (881728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749189)

"Proliferation risks"... no one makes weapons with uranium, it is a waste of uranium. Weapons are made with plutonium. That's a disingenuous assertion by those opposed to nuclear energy. The fact is, highly-enriched uranium is the only practical way to make most of the world's medical isotopes, amongst other things. I wonder how many arguing against HEU would be willing to give up effective medical imaging and cancer treatment for themselves and their families. Not many, I suspect.

There are a number of civilian vessels with naval nuclear propulsion. There was the NS Savannah [nonplused.org] from the US (warning: epic pictures at that link). Security of the reactor did requite additional personnel on the ship, but these are issues that have been solved long ago. And there are a number of Russian nuclear-powered icebreakers today. In fact, you can book a cruise on one, if you're into riding around with a bunch of Russians in the arctic.

And things like the A4W reactor and its fuel are declassified and common knowledge. There is no great secret here.

There have been no failures to date of any reactors aboard US Navy vessels. This is hardly surprisingly given that Admiral Hyman G. Rickover ruled that program with an iron fist and was extremely anal about safety and protocol. Down to hand-picking the crew. There have been a few incidents with Russian naval reactors, but in all fairness Russia also pushed the design envelope more than we did, and there are risks in doing so.

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749535)

Weapons are made with plutonium, it is a waste of uranium.

Except when you either can't get your hands on any plutonium, or you can't figure out the difficult engineering required to implode plutonium.

In those cases, they're made with uranium, wasteful or not. See: Hiroshima.

Re:Micro Nuclear Power Plants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39749263)

Maybe the Navy is less prone to lying on inspections, etc.?

What about inspections? (1)

Sla$hPot (1189603) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748781)

Looks like a new business of nuclear security consultants will boom.
Whats next small private nukes for large land owners?
Hopefully this will be stopped before it becomes a real problem.

Logistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39748915)

So will this be one of those Toshiba reactors made in Japan with Westinghouse IP? If so it would be shipped by sea and probably up the Mississippi River, then out toward Jackson. I hear they can't "melt down".

Alaska was scheduled to get one in/near Fairbanks IIRC and there were "funding issues", as Alaska is well in favor of nuclear, oil, and everything military and commercial.

http://www.toshiba.co.jp/nuclearenergy/english/

JJ

this is absurd. (-1, Offtopic)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748935)

we all know missouri is a failed state full of religious extremists; letting them develop nuclear power is just a first step toward a nuclear weapon. if Missouri continues then the only option the united states is left with is a pre-emptive strike.

Re:this is absurd. (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749527)

silly poster, nuclear bombs are for islam terrists.

Small Scale Nuclear Power Plants... (4, Interesting)

bjwest (14070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39748965)

have been in use by the U.S. Navy for decades. They've plenty of safety and failure rate data on them, they've got a high safety rating, and they're pretty small. Start mass producing them suckers and they'll be cheap as hell. Start peppering the power grid with them here and there, and soon we'll have clean, virtually unlimited power. Most counties in the country can get by with one, and still have plenty of power to spare which can be sold off to the larger cities that need would more than one.

Re:Small Scale Nuclear Power Plants... (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749277)

have been in use by the U.S. Navy for decades. They've plenty of safety and failure rate data on them, they've got a high safety rating, and they're pretty small.

They also require weapons-grade uranium for fuel, which kinda rules out their use in civilian applications.

The Real Travestry (5, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749169)

"Ameren said the application process could cost $80 million to $100 million and take four years."

There is some history behind this (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749273)

As I understand, this comes after russians started to do the same thing making many people realise that this is actually doable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_floating_nuclear_power_station [wikipedia.org]

Basically a small reactor on a floating platform that you pull to the shore, connect to a local prepared transformer station and you have power. It makes a very good alternative to constructing power plants in remote regions for example. I believe the suggestion in OP was mirrored by other nations with capability of building naval nuclear reactors.

Not quite true... (4, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39749291)

The small reactors, about a fourth or less the capacity of full-size nuclear units, are appealing to the nuclear industry because they could be manufactured at a central plant and shipped around the world. By contrast, building nuclear reactors today is a more cumbersome process that must be done largely on site and takes years.

That's an editorial addition by the submitter - and not part of TFA. And it's not quite right either.
 
Regardless of the size of the plant, the major machinery is built off-site and shipped to the construction site for installation. What's time consuming and expensive on site (and it's not clear that small reactors escape this) is the labor intensive work of hooking up all the piping, wiring, and ancillary systems for the plant.
 
What saves time and money in this kind of construction is eliminating building major machinery only on demand, and instead building it at a slow but steady and predictable pace. I.E. if you can negotiate to buy April's production in February of the previous year, you have less capital tied up (and thus pay less interest) than if you had to order your machinery two, three, or four years in advance. Though standardized serial production isn't quite the same as mass production, it has the same benefits to a lesser degree.

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