It is a bit sad to have a regulatory body like the NRC having to tell applicants like Toshiba and Hyperion that they are simply too busy to give proper attention to the process of licensing small "grid appropriate" reactors. I fully understand that there is a need to prioritize the expenditure of government funds, and the size of the market for large power reactors is currently far larger than for small ones like the 4S and the Hyperion Power Generator.
However, the individual needs of the people in places like Galena are just as important as the individual needs of the people in large market territories where 1000 MW plus reactors are appropriate. In Galena, electrical power supplies are dependent on burning hard to deliver diesel fuel in balky old generators. It costs about 45 cents per kilowatt hour.
In the places that will host the 29 big reactors, the customers already have several far less costly and difficult electricity supply options.
Galena is not unique - there are billions of humans living in places where access to reliable, clean, affordable electricity does not exist. Those people could really benefit if the US government could figure out a way to devote sufficient NRC resources to get the small power plants licensed in a reasonably timely manner so that suppliers like Toshiba and Hyperion can make some sales before they run out of capital.
posted by Rod Adams
April 29, 2009
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