Keywords: small and medium-sized reactors, SMRs, design strategies, deployment strategies, nuclear safety, energy economics, proliferation resistance, nuclear security, investment profiles, competitiveness options, nuclear power plants, nuclear energy
Opportunities, challenges and strategies for innovative SMRs
The designers of innovative Small- and Medium-sized Reactors (SMRs) are pursuing new design and deployment strategies, making use of certain advantages provided by a smaller reactor size and capacity to achieve reduced design complexity and simplified operation and maintenance requirements and to explore the advantages of an incremental capacity increase through plant clustering or a multimodule approach to plant design. The competitiveness of SMRs depends on the incorporated strategies to overcome the loss of economies of scale, but equally it depends on finding the appropriate market niches for such reactors. For many less developed countries, these are the features of enhanced proliferation resistance and the increased robustness of the barriers for sabotage protection that may ensure the progress of nuclear power. Based on the outputs of the ongoing International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) activities for innovative SMRs, the paper provides a summary of the state-of-the-art approaches to improve SMR competitiveness and incorporate enhanced proliferation resistance and energy security.