The REAL case for "BIG nuclear batteries"


As always, it’s not technical, nor environmental.

The REAL case for "BIG nuclear batteries" /img/nuclear-batteries-mit.jpg

A new generation of nuclear reactors similar to oversized batteries is on the horizon, says MIT News.

These mini-reactors are called “nuclear batteries” because they would:

  • fit within a standard container
  • be trucked to the single factories, military bases or neighborhoods that would use all their power (about 10 megawatts)
  • run there unattended, for five to 10 years, and then
  • be trucked back to the factory for refueling and refurbishment

Why these nuclear batteries would be good

According to their designers, the “nuclear batteries”:

  • do not need large, very complex sites, that are also extremely expensive to build
  • the small physical size also makes them much more secure (see the article for details)
  • they make nuclear energy become “an [affordable] product, not a mega-project”
  • mass adoption would play a significant role to avert catastrophic climate change

The REAL reason why these nuclear batteries could be good

If, how and how much modern society should use more nuclear power is a bigger, separate question. But if more nuclear power is needed, I am almost certain that it should come from “nuclear batteries” for political, not environmental nor technical reasons.

MIT News “hides” those reasons in this single sentence: “nuclear batteries are ideally suited to create resilience in every sectors of the economy”.

But that is the same reason I first discussed two years ago, introducing these other “nuclear batteries”:

The REAL case for "BIG nuclear batteries" /img/nuscale-smallest-reactor.jpg
CAPTION: Nuclear batteries, 2019 version

“The main, long term impact of renewables or nuclear is [to] change the structure and placement of political power: the least energy you need, from whatever [far-away] source, the greater your freedom is”.

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