Dr Michael Rushton has had his latest article published in Nature Index. The article is titled “Exploring small nuclear to plug the energy gaps” and can be found in the 2022 Nature Energy Index. The journal focuses on how the global energy crisis lends urgency to many nations’ plans to decarbonise, shifting from fossil fuels to greener options.
The article discusses how geopolitical pressure can send shockwaves through the world energy market and rapidly increase energy prices and concerns over energy security. It is also discussed how nuclear energy has excellent operational characteristics; namely their consistently exceptional output of energy. Nuclear reactors are online for more than 90% of the time.
SMRs can offer a plethora of benefits over the conventional nuclear reactor — one of which is the reduction of unit price to levels suitable for private investment — although multiple units will be required to produce the same output as a larger plant.
“SMRs can support processes such as desalination, paper production and drying, as well as domestic water heating through district-wide heating schemes. There is a long history of nuclear district heating in countries such as Switzerland, Sweden and Canada, but their high infrastructure cost has deterred widespread use.”
While current events may foster new enthusiasm for nuclear power; perhaps driven by the same factors of energy security and price as the oil shock of 1973, new nuclear can also be used to provide low-carbon electricity through co-generation by supporting processes such as desalination, paper production and drying, as well as domestic water heating through district-wide heating schemes.