Small Modular Nuclear Reactors: Development Prospects

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-6-47-60
A. D'yakov,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 13.01.2023. Revised 20.03.2023. Accepted 30.03.2023.

Abstract. The need for deep reduction of the greenhouse gases emissions (methane and carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere in order to preserve the global climate amid the growth of electricity production worldwide to meet mankind’s energy needs has stimulated the transfer to the use of energy sources that exclude such emissions. There is an increasing interest to exploitation of renewable energy sources – hydropower, solar and wind power, as well as nuclear power, especially the development of innovative nuclear power. The latter refers to nuclear reactors in which the configuration of systems, coolants, fuels and operating conditions are radically different from traditional reactors. Among promising innovations in the nuclear sector is the concept of small modular reactors (SMRs) whose unique characteristics in terms of enhanced safety, transport mobility, efficiency and economy create favorable conditions for investment in projects to develop them. A number of countries including Argentina, Canada, China, Russia, South Korea and the United States of America are actively working on innovation nuclear power development, and currently more than 70 advanced commercial SMR designs are being built around the world, with the first prototypes to be deployed in the near future or already deployed. However, the construction of a next-generation nuclear power is more than just solving technological problems. Economical factors, primarily the cost of electricity generation compared to renewable energy, will have a significant impact on the development and employment of SMR technology. There is also an export competition among suppliers in the global nuclear technology market, and there are geopolitical issues, including global security and non-proliferation concerns.

Keywords: small modular reactors (SMRs), reactor, “Akademik Lomonosov”, “Rosatom”, NuScale Power Module (NPM), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), nuclear power plant (NPP), nuclear power, electricity, nuclear non-proliferation, fuel, uranium


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For citation:
Dyakov A. Small Modular Nuclear Reactors: Development Prospects. World Eсonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 6, pp. 47-60. EDN: ASOOXD

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