July 13, 2024

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Managing SMR waste ‘roughly comparable’ with conventional reactors, DoE says (NYSE:SMR)

Managing SMR waste ‘roughly comparable’ with conventional reactors, DoE says (NYSE:SMR)

Model of atom and elementary particles. Physics concept. 3D rendered illustration.

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Two recent studies differ over how much nuclear waste would be a factor with small modular reactors such as those planned by NuScale (NYSE:SMR) and TerraPower, UtilityDive.com reports.

Managing nuclear waste from small modular reactors, still in development, would have few challenges compared with traditional light water reactors, according to a report by the Argonne and Idaho national labs that studied three designs scheduled to be built and operated by the end of the decade.

“All told, when it comes to nuclear waste, SMRs are roughly comparable with conventional pressurized water reactors, with potential benefits and weaknesses depending on which aspects you are trying to design for,” according to nuclear engineer Taek Kyum Kim of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne lab in Illinois.

Meanwhile, a Stanford-led study says SMRs will generate more radioactive waste than conventional nuclear power plants by factors of 2x to 30x.

Its findings “stand in sharp contrast to the cost and waste reduction benefits that advocates have claimed for advanced nuclear technologies,” the study’s lead author said.

Small Modular Reactors “hold promise, and NuScale Power is leading in the regulatory process,” Chris Wallendal writes in an analysis posted recently on Seeking Alpha.