Challenges of Small Modular Reactors

Energy Studies Institute Singapore 27 October 2017. ... M. Hadid. “Small Modular Reactors: Update on International Technology Development Activities.”...

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Challenges of Small Modular Reactors M. V. Ramana Liu Institute for Global Issues School of Public Policy and Global Affairs University of British Columbia

Energy Studies Institute Singapore 27 October 2017 1

Nuclear Share About 40 percent below historical maximum of 17.5 percent in 1996 20.0% 18.0% 16.0% 14.0% 12.0% 10.0% 8.0% 1980

1985

1990

1995

2000

2005

2010

2015

Source: Calculations using Data from BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2017

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2020

Future Projections 1600

1400

Installed nuclear capacity (GW )

1200

1000

2030-low 800

2030-high 2050-low 2050-high

600

400

200

0 2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Year in which projection was published

Source: IAEA (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015,2016) Energy, Electricity and Nuclear Power Estimates for the Period up to 2050. Vienna, International Atomic Energy Agency.

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MIT Study - 2003 “The limited prospects for nuclear power today are attributable, ultimately, to four unresolved problems”: Costs Safety Proliferation Waste 4

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What are Small Modular Reactors?

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Categories Capacity Small

< 300 MWe

Medium

300 - 700 MWe

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Modularity Assembled from factoryfabricated modules Each module represents a portion of finished plant Current large nuclear plants require substantial amount of field work 8

Subki, M. Hadid. “Small Modular Reactors: Update on International Technology Development Activities.” presented at the The 13th INPRO Dialogue Forum on Legal and Institutional Issues in the Global Deployment of SMRs, Vienna, Austria, October 18, 2016. https://www.iaea.org/INPRO/13th_Dialogue_Forum/007_Advances_in_Small_Modular_Reactor_Technology_developments.pdf. 9

Prognosis in 2008 by NRC Official

Source: Edward Baker, “NRC’s Advanced Reactor Program,” 16 October 2008, http://web.m it.edu/ans/w ww/docume nts/seminar/ F08/baker.pd f, accessed 19 May 2015

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The Importance of Licensing Ensuring safety in design and operations Facilitating Exports “Choosing a nuclear reactor design that is finalized and frozen, particularly one that has undergone licensing review in other countries, can minimize project uncertainties. While some modifications may be needed due to local regulatory requirements or due to the special characteristics of a site, a complete design helps to ensure that the project will be within budget and schedule” Technology Options for a Country’s First Nuclear Power Plant International Atomic Energy Agency; 2012 11

IAEA Workshop on Technology Assessment of Small and Medium-sized Reactors (SMRs) for Near Term Deployment, December 2011

Domestic deployment in technology-developers’ countries is very important to encourage newcomer countries to adopt SMR (i.e. operability/safety record, provenness) M. Hadid Subki, “Global Development Trends,12Prospects and Issues for SMRs Deployment”, 23rd TWG - GCR Meeting, IAEA Headquarters, Vienna, 5 - 7 March 2013

Licensing rules currently applied for certifying reactors have almost all been developed for relatively large reactors SMR designs are novel with features not deployed in currently prevalent reactors Integral designs with steam generators within reactor core, steam generator(s), and pressurizer into a single common pressure vessel Use of passive recirculation modes with low coolant flows under operational and accident situations

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Source: http://ansnuclearcafe.org/wpcontent/uploads/2013/03/hauling-NuScale-502x200.png

What is the market outlook for SMRs?

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Economical challenge for SMRs: Lower up-front cost, higher per kW/kWh cost

Diseconomies of scale vs accelerated learning

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Not much evidence of “Learning”

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Experts Expect Higher Costs

Text Text

Source:Abdulla, Ahmed, Inês Lima Azevedo, and M. Granger Morgan. 2013. “Expert Assessments of the Cost of Light Water Small Modular Reactors.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (24): 9686–91. 17

Licensing might pose safety requirements that could drive up operating costs Several unresolved issues: Use of Probabilistic Risk Assessment in the Licensing Process for SMRs; Appropriate Source Term, Dose Calculations, and Siting for SMRs; Offsite Emergency Planning (EP) Requirements for SMRs;…

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Need a “full order book” before setting up manufacturing plant Demand for these reactors is uncertain—potential customer countries not buying

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Two US SMR Vendors

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2014: B&W slashed funding on SMR R&D (over $80 mn/y to below $15 mn/y) No investors or customers willing to contract “At this time, the latest extension to the Cooperative Agreement [Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support Program] has expired and the DOE funding has been suspended”

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Westinghouse also pursued SMRs for over 1.5 decades (IRIS, Westinghouse SMR) 2014: “reprioritised staff devoted to SMR development” and focus its efforts on the AP1000 reactor and “gaining new decommissioning contracts” “The problem I have with SMRs is not the technology, it’s not the deployment -- it’s that there’s no customers” - Danny Roderick 23

The Problem with Multiple Objectives

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All desirable properties will likely not be realizable in a single design

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Conclusion SMRs still unproven technology

New and untested designs: not deployed in home countries Not enough market potential to justify building factories to make SMRs 26