Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, Middletown, Pennsylvania.circa 1976.

This week I had an equivalent question from someone engaged by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The individual isn’t an industry insider and didn’t have a particular iron in the fire, but had been engaged to write a Bulletin piece on the perplexing enthusiasm small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) are seeing from an overlapping circle of advocates and firms.

This was, of course, in the week when NuScale inevitably imploded, a story I’ll return to as I unpack some of the motivations behind those thinking a bunch of lab technologies that have been around for decades that depend on uranium from Russia, that don’t have the physical characteristics for cheap nuclear generation and don’t have the conditions for success for nuclear generation will be the saviours of the nuclear industry and a key wedge in fighting climate change.

Brigmanminuclear 1200x600xmed

Small modular nuclear reactor and hydrogen for energy proposals and trials are all zombie proposals sucking time, effort, and willpower away from the necessary decarbonization of our economy. This little roundup is just an appetizer course for the absurd feast of riches to come with canceled projects and crashing dreams.