Using a large fleet of small modular reactors (SMR) to secure climate neutral electricity supply in the future – as proposed by billionaire and philanthropist Bill Gates – poses many unsolved problems and security risks, two researcher assessments commissioned by the Federal Office for the Safety of Nuclear Waste Management (BASE) have found according to a report by Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). SMR proponents claim that, once produced in bulk, these small plants are cheaper and safer thanks to advanced reactor designs and can be operated with converted short-lived radioactive materials, solving the waste problem. But the two reports, seen by SZ, conclude that SMR “carry enormous risks with regard to the proliferation of weapons-grade materials and will probably never be as cheap as their advocates claim”, Michael Bauchmüller writes. The paper by the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) found that in order to replace the 400 or so large reactors today, “many thousands to tens of thousands of SMR plants” would have to be built. But this raises questions for proliferation, the spread of dangerous nuclear material.
Renew Economy 12th March 2021 read more »