Nuclear Energy, Reactors and Thorium

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Nuclear technology has advanced with new technology being developed, but also due to a strong emphasis on policy playing a role in a more efficient and safer way to utilize this energy source. After the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, the United States is being urged to make a push for a smaller scaled down nuclear reactor referred to as small modular reactor, or a SMR. Small modular reactors offer a number of advantages to a traditional nuclear reactor in being economically cheaper and safer. Being a smaller nuclear reactor, this may come as a shock due to more reactors needing to be built in order for the same amount of energy to be produced as the current nuclear reactors. “The average U.S. nuclear reactor has an operating capacity of 1,000 megawatts or more; SMRs, by contrast, have a generating capacity of less than 300 megawatts” (Foran, 2013). Theoretically, it would take over three small modular reactors in order to replace one of the current nuclear reactors already in place. The economic impact these reactors bring is substantial however. Due to the smaller size, small modular reactors have the ability to be constructed in factories where the parts and construction can be produced at a more efficient and quicker scale. Utility companies who are also interested in reaping the benefits of nuclear technology would be able to invest, because of the fact less capital would need to be raised. The factories that would be building these parts too would provide new jobs, as more countries want to adapt to small modular reactors without building the infrastructure. At the factory parts would be “cookie-cut” meaning they could be produced in an assembly line fashion and have the full reactor be completed by the end, ready to ship. Safe...

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... it also saving costs of trying to locate some.

Works Cited

Energy for the World - Why Uranium?. (2012, December 1). world-nuclear.org. Retrieved May 7, 2014, from http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Nuclear- Fuel-Cycle/Introduction/Energy-for-the-World---Why-Uranium-/

Foran, Clare. "Small Reactors May Be Nuclear Power's Future." Nationaljournal.com. National Journal Group Inc, 01 Oct. 2013. Web. 17 Mar. 2014.

"Is Thorium the Future of Nuclear?" Discovery News. Discovery Communications, 07 Oct. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.

Small Reactor Designs. (n.d.). Nuclear Energy Institute. Retrieved May 5, 2014, from http://www.nei.org/Issues-Policy/New-Nuclear-Energy-Facilities/Small- Reactor-Designs

Uranium. (2014, January 21). Uranium Investing News. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from http://uraniuminvestingnews.com/17236/thorium-an-alternative-for- Unuclear-energy.html

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