The SMR opportunity in Australia

SMART RVSMART 100 MWe reactor vessel
Source: Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI)
SMR technology is an option for low-emissions electricity generation in Australia for a number of reasons, including:

  • SMR's with outputs in the range of 25-300 megawatts can supply reliable power for small grid systems or for remote locations, particularly where transport of fossil fuel for a conventional generating plant is expensive.
  • The latest SMR designs have high levels of inherent safety and no external electrical supplies or pumps are required to cool the reactor, enabling it to remain safe under severe accident conditions.
  • The reactor can be installed underground providing a high level of physical security against external hazards and unauthorised interference.
  • The complete reactor assembly is factory produced, minimising onsite construction time and reducing the probability of project delays.
  • SMRs avoid the high initial capital investment normally associated with nuclear power plants, but modules can be added as extra capacity is required.
  • Simple to operate and maintain, SMRs offer a competitive option for electricity generation.
  • Applying the same rationale for Australia as the US: "Because lower power levels, air cooling and reduced water usage are potential benefits, it increases the ability to site these [SMR] reactors....where we have arid climates."John Kelly, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Nuclear Reactor Technologies, Department of Energy, Office of Nuclear Energy, addressing the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Briefing on Small Modular Reactors in March 2011, Transcript - page 5.
  • Possible uses for small modular reactor in Australia include producing electricity to power Australian Defence Force sites, remote mining locations, large industrial sites requiring reliable, competitive cost electricity and providing base-load electricity supply for islanded grid systems. However, they could also be used for industrial applications such as processing heat for desalination plants, water treatment plants, chemical plants, refineries, recycling schemes and irrigation systems.
  • SMRs are certainly an option for electricity generation, process heat, and co-generation particularly for remote sites in Australia where transport of fossil fuel for conventional generating plant is expensive.

SMR-NT is committed to providing specialist industry knowledge for the opportunity to develop safe nuclear power generation facilities in Australia, based on Small Modular Reactors (SMRs).

In particular we would like to assist our clients in:

  • bringing intrinsically-safe SMR nuclear power generation technology to Australia
  • providing Australian industrial and domestic consumers with affordable and secure low-emission base-load electric power
  • reducing Australia's greenhouse gas emissions
  • supporting the introduction by the Australian Government of a best practice legal and regulatory regime to govern the safe development and operation of SMR nuclear power generation, with the guidance of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and in
  • obtaining all government approvals for the development of SMR nuclear power generation facilities at suitable sites in different States of Australia