Small modular reactors – designing nuclear energy for African landscapes

re posted from                               ESI-AFRICA

Small modular reactors – designing nuclear energy for African landscapes

Chemical engineer Zak Madela at a portion of the demonstration PBMR fuel production plant at Pelindaba near Pretoria. Image provided.

The use of nuclear energy is a highly controversial topic, with there being as many doubters as there are supporters of this energy source. Dr Kelvin Kemm, a nuclear physicist and CEO of Stratek Business Strategy Consultants, breaks down the anti-nuclear theory and analyses the need for small modular reactors (SMRs) in Africa.

Nuclear power is not new. It has been in operation for over half a century, with an excellent record for providing reliable baseload electricity.

Not only has the electricity turned out to be reliable, but it is also the safest, greenest and most inexpensive electricity currently available to mankind. The proof exists. But to judge from much of the barrage of anti-nuclear propaganda, which has been projected by anti-nuclear activists, people can be forgiven for doubting such claims. Let us consider the infamous Fukushima nuclear power incident in Japan. Not one single person was killed or injured by nuclear radiation at Fukushima. Now read that again. Not one single person!

Nuclear power stations run for many years. Over their lifetime the electricity produced is inexpensive. The concept of “cost” can only be judged over a life cycle, and not at initiation.

Ask the question: does a brand new Boeing or Airbus passenger aircraft cost a lot of money? It is wrong to look at the purchase price on the day of delivery. You need to examine the situation at the end of the life of the aircraft, when you can then count the total passengers carried, operating costs, and then work out its profitability to the air carrier, and hence the actual operational “cost”. Don’t confuse the concepts of “purchase price” and “cost”. They are very different. Anti-nuclear activists go out of their way to induce public confusion with respect to this important distinction.

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