Before we allow small modular reactors, mini reactors on barges, reactors for making hydrogen, reactors to be set up on the Moon, or just about any nuclear reactors to be built, we should get an explanation from the nuclear industry of why some of its calculations have been so bad. I am talking about numbers that are so bad, off by an order of magnitude, that they are functionally deceptive. And if they are not intentionally deceptive, that is not an excuse. They fool people into thinking things are true when they are not, and they are very much to the advantage of the nuclear industry. One type of number relates to the costs and timelines for construction of new reactors. Calculations in these areas seem to underestimate both by about half. If the figure for a new reactor is $5 billion and its construction is to take 5 years, I would figure on a $10 billion cost and a 10-year timeline. I acknowledge that I have not done a careful study of this, but I have often noted that real world results that were double what was estimated, and I only remember one that was correct. (I am speaking of US and UK reactors here, not those that are built in China, with which I am much less familiar.) It is the third type of number that really bothers me, however, and this is something I have studied since the Fukushima Disaster. For some purposes regarding safety, the industry numbers are off by an order of magnitude, with its calculations appearing to make the reactors ten times as safe as they are.
Clean Technica 31st Dec 2020 read more »