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PostPosted: Jul 05, 2013 9:56 am 
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American Atomics

This new company is based in a suburb of Nashville and wants to build small modular 20 MWe fast-spectrum reactors that would replace coal-fired generators and sell electricity at $30/MWh.

At 100% capacity factor and that price of electricity, they'd produce 175,200 MWh per year and generate $5.256M in revenue. That would just about cover the yearly $5M the NRC charges for a reactor license.


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PostPosted: Jul 05, 2013 1:17 pm 
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Any idea(s) who is involved or what the basic design is? Their posts suggest it will use SNF for fuel.


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PostPosted: Jul 05, 2013 1:24 pm 
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This is the founder and CEO:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/jackbcampbell?trk=pub-pbmap


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PostPosted: Jul 05, 2013 2:26 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
American Atomics

This new company is based in a suburb of Nashville and wants to build small modular 20 MWe fast-spectrum reactors that would replace coal-fired generators and sell electricity at $30/MWh.

At 100% capacity factor and that price of electricity, they'd produce 175,200 MWh per year and generate $5.256M in revenue. That would just about cover the yearly $5M the NRC charges for a reactor license.


Is that $5M/yr a fixed fee regardless of reactor size?


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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Russ wrote:
Is that $5M/yr a fixed fee regardless of reactor size?


To the best of my knowledge it is.


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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2013 8:27 pm 
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That per reactor fee, the cost of security, regional emergency planning radii, are some of the major challenges for SMRs to overcome. The NRC will have to start addressing these, if the DOE SMR support is to have any hope of being competitive, especially for a single or couple of modules site.


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PostPosted: Jul 06, 2013 11:33 pm 
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Burghard wrote:
He,ll have to go to S Korea.


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PostPosted: Jul 07, 2013 11:07 am 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Russ wrote:
Is that $5M/yr a fixed fee regardless of reactor size?


To the best of my knowledge it is.


It was in 2010. It is a recognized problem that folks are working to solve. Here is a link http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1103/ML110380260.pdf

The proposal is to scale a 250MWth at $114k and ramp up from there (seems biased toward the small scale reactors - perhaps reflecting their current political support).
In a multi-unit site it would sum the units together to come up with a total power.

In my mind, this very uncertainty in federal regulation and (in 2010 at least) extreme fees make the nuclear business risky. It isn't the Three Mile Islands that make nuclear expensive, it is the Shoreham's.


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PostPosted: Jul 07, 2013 6:41 pm 
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Lars wrote:
It was in 2010. It is a recognized problem that folks are working to solve. Here is a link http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1103/ML110380260.pdf

And here is the position statement from the NRC, dated Feb. 7, 2011: Resolution of Issue Regarding Variable Annual Fee Structure for Small and Medium Sized Nuclear Power Reactors

Quote:
Calculate the annual fee for each licensed power reactor as a function of its licensed thermal power rating (MWt).

The staff initially considered applying this approach to all reactor licenses by establishing a simple annual fee rate of dollars per licensed MWt. However, ANPR comments from the industry identified significant concerns with this approach. Subsequently, modifying this initial concept became a focus of the public meeting discussions and position papers from NEI and ANS. As currently planned, this approach would apply only to new reactors and would determine annual fees differently for three ranges of licensed reactor size (MWt). There would be a minimum reactor fee for all reactors with less than or equal to 250 MWt licensed power; a variable scale region where the annual fee would be based linearly on licensed thermal power greater than 250 MWt, but less than or equal to 2000 MWt, and a maximum reactor annual fee for reactors licensed above 2000 MWt.

The approach would also define a multi-module nuclear plant that would receive single site treatment for licensed reactor modules up to 4000 MWt. This approach was conveyed by the NEI position paper which uses FY 2010 annual fees to demonstrate its applicability. The staff would adjust the minimum, variable scale and maximum fee region amounts to be recovered each year, but keep the relative distribution as suggested by the industry through a normalization process. The staff concluded that this approach provided a clear, reliable and efficient method of allocating NRC generic expenses to its reactor licensees. By linking the annual fees to the licensed thermal power level, the costs would be allocated based on a benefit received from the NRC license. The staff concluded that this met the OBRA-90 requirement for a reasonable relationship to the cost of providing the regulatory services.

Based on the assessment of the alternatives, the staff intends to proceed with rulemaking to implement [this approach] as described in this memo. Commission approval for this approach will be requested during the process for developing the proposed rule. Because this proposed approach would not impact the annual fee methodology for existing reactors, the staff plans to proceed with developing the proposed rule separate from the routine annual fee rulemaking updates of 10 CFR 170 and 10 CFR 171. Since the annual fees for the new SMRs would not go into effect until an operating license is issued under the 10 CFR 50 licensing process or until fuel load is authorized under the 10 CFR 52 licensing process, the staff believes that there is considerable time to develop the final 10 CFR 171 rule change for annual fees. As such, the staff will schedule the rulemaking and resources through the FY 2013 budget development process.


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PostPosted: Jul 07, 2013 10:18 pm 
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Considering the problems that were experienced on the 60 MWe Fermi-1 fast-spectrum reactor plant, I don't think relaxing NRC oversight on a fleet of 20 MWe fast-spectrum reactors is such a good idea.


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PostPosted: Jul 09, 2013 1:21 pm 
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Quite right. Let the fast reactors be first tried out in Russia or Asian states China, S. Korea or India. They are doing a reasonable job. Later it can be approved in the US like AP-1000.
The US started with power reactors and majority of designs used worldwide are American. Let others do their bit now.


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PostPosted: Jul 11, 2013 9:49 pm 
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The new rule is more for LWR's. Be careful what you wish for on the regulatory front. LFTR's are more like fast reactors than thermal reactors in some senses because the delayed neutrons of thermal MSRs leave the core, unlike most thermal reactors, making the delayed neutrons less of a benefit for thermal MSRs.


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2013 12:09 am 
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Ed P wrote:
The new rule is more for LWR's. Be careful what you wish for on the regulatory front. LFTR's are more like fast reactors than thermal reactors in some senses because the delayed neutrons of thermal MSRs leave the core, unlike most thermal reactors, making the delayed neutrons less of a benefit for thermal MSRs.

But also unlike other thermal reactors we have a strong negative temperature coefficient due to the salt expansion which can make LFTRs more stable than LWRs.


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2013 4:47 am 
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Lars wrote:
Ed P wrote:
The new rule is more for LWR's. Be careful what you wish for on the regulatory front. LFTR's are more like fast reactors than thermal reactors in some senses because the delayed neutrons of thermal MSRs leave the core, unlike most thermal reactors, making the delayed neutrons less of a benefit for thermal MSRs.

But also unlike other thermal reactors we have a strong negative temperature coefficient due to the salt expansion which can make LFTRs more stable than LWRs.


BWRs have strong negative void as well as doppler coefficient. More thermal reactors such as pebble beds can be quite thermal while keeping negative void as well as doppler.

For me, the safety advantage with MSRs is in the robust, low-stored-energy, liquid fuel form. It has huge subcooling margin, cannot be damaged by heat or radiation, is chemically stable, and is always at low pressure (even in the implausible event of the salt grossly exceeding the boiling point, pressure rise is very slow, can be dealt with a filtered confinement, and salt evaporation is a huge temporary heat sink).

The focus with LWRs is on preventing core damage, using "safety" designated systems.

Our parallel would be preventing primary loop damage. Graphite and the salt won't care much about transient heatup. The vessel, piping, and especially sealing method are very sensitive to transient heatup. Basically, our "safety" designated systems are those that provide cooling for the vessel, piping, etc. at all times when needed.

This is an entirely licensable approach: it is very similar to the high temperature salt cooled, solid fuelled reactor, where the TRISO fuel fails after the vessel during loss of cooling. Such reactors also require the chemical/hot cell type containment, to prevent beryllium aerosols from reaching the environment.


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PostPosted: Jul 12, 2013 8:55 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
BWRs have strong negative void as well as doppler coefficient. More thermal reactors such as pebble beds can be quite thermal while keeping negative void as well as doppler.

For me, the safety advantage with MSRs is in the robust, low-stored-energy, liquid fuel form. It has huge subcooling margin, cannot be damaged by heat or radiation, is chemically stable, and is always at low pressure (even in the implausible event of the salt grossly exceeding the boiling point, pressure rise is very slow, can be dealt with a filtered confinement, and salt evaporation is a huge temporary heat sink).

The focus with LWRs is on preventing core damage, using "safety" designated systems.

Our parallel would be preventing primary loop damage. Graphite and the salt won't care much about transient heatup. The vessel, piping, and especially sealing method are very sensitive to transient heatup. Basically, our "safety" designated systems are those that provide cooling for the vessel, piping, etc. at all times when needed.

This is an entirely licensable approach: it is very similar to the high temperature salt cooled, solid fuelled reactor, where the TRISO fuel fails after the vessel during loss of cooling. Such reactors also require the chemical/hot cell type containment, to prevent beryllium aerosols from reaching the environment.

Agreed. But the comment that LFTRs are more similar to fast solid fuel reactors than LWRs due to delayed neutron fraction I think is wrong and that is what I was rebutting. The safety margin to super criticality is very good for LFTRs as the French team as shown. But I'd remind folks that while the threat of super criticality accidents are the press bogey man the real challenge is dealing with decay heat as you pointed out. We have to solve both to be successful.


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