A look at SMRs for Australia

October 11, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) last week released Small Modular Reactors in the Australian Context, an overview of SMRs, their potential role in Australia, and their likely operating costs.

The 36-page report, written by Australian nuclear energy advocate Ben Heard, takes a look at three of the most advanced SMR designs currently undergoing regulatory approval: NuScale’s Power Module, GE-Hitachi’s BWRX 300, and Terrestrial Energy’s Integral Molten Salt Reactor.

What they’re saying: “The MCA has long advocated that Australia needs to consider zero-emission nuclear energy, along with carbon capture use and storage and renewable energy, as the country moves to decarbonize the economy,” stated Tania Constable, MCA’s chief executive officer, in an October 6 media release. “Changes in the economic, trade, security, policy, and technology environments in which Australia operates means that all options for low-carbon energy sources must be considered. SMRs offer part of the solution to addressing this necessary requirement.”

Constable additionally noted that Australia’s uranium mining sector supplies approximately 10 per cent of global demand. “That is enough uranium to power almost the entire output of the national electricity market with low-cost zero-emission power,” she said. “Despite this, outdated federal and state bans on nuclear power have seen Australia fall behind as the only G-20 country without access to nuclear energy or plans to develop it.”

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