Tuesday, January 05, 2010

World Nuclear News on SVBR

World Nuclear News has a new piece about the SVBR, which I blogged about awhile ago: "Initiative for Small Fast Reactors."

The takeaway:
The companies' statement said their initial estimates show that large-scale production of SVBR-100s could bring down costs to the same level as for coal-fired generation. En+ Group CEO Vladislav Soloviev said "We believe that the development of the nuclear power industry is one of the most promising ways to meet the rising demand for energy with the lowest environmental impact."

Deputy director of Rosatom Petr Schedrovitsky said, "We expect the government to provide strong support... It will be put on the list of projects under the aegis of the President's Commission for Long-Term Development."

I.E., the SVBR is now the small modular reactor with the best chance of making it to market... because the Russian government is making it a priority project and funding its development. Compared to similar US projects from NuScale and B&W, which are hobbled by the uncertainty of whether the NRC will change its regulatory framework to enable these small reactor projects, Rosatom is full speed ahead.

If the SVBR turns out as advertised it may end up dominating the world reactor market once it's available for export. Do we really want to let the Russians have this field to themselves?


Pedro said...

What are the main differences between the SVBR and the BREST?

Sovietologist said...

BREST is lead-cooled, while SVBR is lead-bismuth; BREST is also supposed to breed, while the SVBR is not. Lead is a relatively challenging coolant to work with due to its relatively high melting point (compared to sodium and lead-bismuth) and corrosion issues. As a result, I think BREST is further from commercialization than the SVBR, but the Russians are still working on it.

Pedro said...


DV8 2XL said...

Unfortunately, the West may be yielding the field to the Russians, among others.

We can thank the fact that we have allowed the process of launching a new design to become such a complex and byzantine undertaking that it makes the elevation of a saint in the Catholic Church look like an offhanded whim.

Until some commonsense is applied to this issue, others will pass us by like we were standing still.

Pedro said...

Russians seem to be at full speed, the first unit is expected to be started next year and commissioned at 2015. But I'm worried about the costs, the budget is 16 billion rubles (about 450M$) for 100 MWe. Considering overbudget it's hard for me to believe that it's going to be competitive against the VVERs.