|Graphic: Sarah Cohen https://prezi.com/|
SMRs are said to offer a corrective to the general direction of travel of 'conventional' nuclear plant development costs which, tracking EDF's ridiculous activities across Europe, are headed for the strato-sphere. The first point about SMRs is, you build lots of 'em in proper factories, instead of one-offs in some remote and soggy field a long way from where engineers and manufacturing resources actually live. So you get economies of scale & experience.
Post Piper Alpha (as I have written about more than once), pre-fabricated modular onshore construction revolutionised the costs of offshore oil & gas development - in the highly-desirable 'downwards' direction; it being even dafter to build stuff offshore than it is in a remote & soggy field. So the concept has a very encouraging precedent.
Secondly, SMRs being small and (so we are invited to believe) jolly safe, you site them near centres of population where the power is actually needed (unlike certain types of 'renewable' power plants we could all mention) - another big advantage. Then you can run district heating off them, making use of the epic amounts of otherwise-waste heat that issues forth from nuclear power generation: yet another big advantage.
The rather worthy Energy Technlogies Institute has done a lot of work on this, and concludes there are approx 50 towns in England & Wales (but not Scotland, hoho! - the SNP won't play) that could benefit from one or more SMRs.
But they ain't saying which towns these are! The government wouldn't like premature publication ...
So - come on, you thorium and molten salt enthusiasts! BTW, on the subject of Hinkley did you know that EDF have given a name to the radioactive turd? It's Zingy? Seriously! Who said the frogs have no sense of humour?