Small Nuclear Reactors from China and USA Around 2025

China will start pouring concrete for a 125 MWe ACP100 nuclear reactor by the end of this year. Construction is expected to take 65 months. The first unit expected to start up by 31 May 2025 Changjiang, Hainan. Each ACP100 module will weigh 300 tons. The ACP100 is based on existing PWR technology and uses verified passive safety systems to cope with the consequences of accident events. Natural convection cools down the reactor if there is a problem. The ACP100 integrated design of its reactor coolant system (RCS) enables the installation of the major primary circuit’s components within the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). The ACP100 is a multipurpose power reactor designed for electricity production, heating, steam production or seawater desalination and is suitable for remote areas that have limited energy options or industrial infrastructure.

Nuscale 60 MWe Nuclear Modules targeting mid-2020s

A US company Nuscale is also working on small modular reactors. NuScale’s SMR technology features the self-contained NuScale Power Module, with a gross capacity of 200 MWt or 60 MWe. Based on pressurized water reactor technology, the scalable design can be used in power plants of up to 12 individual modules. Nuscale spunout from Oregon State University in 2007.

The NuScale power module is packed inside a cylindrical containment vessel measuring 75 feet high and 15 feet in diameter and weighs about 700 tons. The company says the modules can be shipped in three segments by truck, rail or barge to their final destination.

43 thoughts on “Small Nuclear Reactors from China and USA Around 2025”

  1. It would be great with improvements in the regulatory environment, but NuScale is aiming for first power in 2026.

  2. Why must cabling and piping be hidden in concrete? Wouldn’t it be difficult to inspect and maintain?

  3. Nuscale has been saying that for years, there is no political or social interest in anything with the world “nuclear”, my bet is for Chinese and Russians

    • If the high pressure portion of the reactor ruptures then the pressurized water spills in to the Vacuum chamber between the high pressure core and the outside water pool. Instant heat sink.
    • 10^-9 annual probability of core failure using NRC methodology.
    • Underground so earthquakes aren’t a big issue.
    • In a concrete building with a thick concrete bioshield that doesn’t open easily so not too good for terrorism.
    • In a giant pool of water. Have fun burning that up by landing a plane on it.
    • In the event of equipment failure just leave it alone and after a month it will air cool itself.
  4. Also where EBR-I and EBR-II were located.

    So it isn’t as if weirder things haven’t happened there.

  5. I listened to an hour long youtube video about the nuscale reactor. Interesting takeaways:

    • For the 780MW plant they want to have 360 personnel – 2.1MW per employee
    • They are looking to relax the “fight off terrorists and win” requirement and get to “stop the terrorists from taking over while waiting for local law enforcement to show up”
    • They are spending $10-12 million per month, Flour is financing them but they would like partners
    • They are extremely happy with the newly added members of the NRC
    • They plan on making only 6 and 12 reactor plants, 12 is more economical
    • No pumps are used to move water from the core to the steam generators, it is all natural circulation
    • Odds on core melt are at 10^-9 which is 100x better (thereabouts) than AP1000
    • Working with INL, a power company in Utah
    • They are aiming for a capacity factor of 98%
    • Once things are up and running they will refuel a reactor every two months and retain the workers who do this instead of contracting out
  6. If proven that nukes are required for grid stabilization and to reach the goal of zero CO2 emissions then I am OK with it. One needs to be pragmatic. What doesn’t bend breaks.

  7. Must always assume the worse. You do have a vessel under high pressure and temperature undergoing radiation damage with a working fluid that can be corrosive. Then of course there is the possibility of external damage due to earthquake, equipment failure, plane crash, and terrorist attack.

  8. Good article from Michael Shellenberger on Forbes about how many green activists don’t really care about carbon emissions, but instead really want to use renewable energy to re-engineer society, and how nuclear is a spanner to that plan as it allows nations to enjoy high energy lifestyles without any pollution or large adjustments:

  9. To be fair, that’s how road construction is done around here.

    Many a brand new freeway opens up with already a couple of cuts and fills across the new surface because pipes and cables went in 1 month after the new concrete roadway was surfaced.

  10. Is that supposed to happen at INL? Just like the GT-MHR, or NGNP, or any of the other paper designs that failed to get built?

    Don’t get me wrong, I hope it gets built and am rooting for NuScale and INL, but in the end I think it will come down to INL needing government appropriations to fund it, and that will not happen if the wrong party is in power, or the wrong mix (administration, senate, house probably all need to be republican), and the government support would have to endure over the entire construction period. How fast can they build the first one of these? Probably not fast enough. If they could do it in 3 years, I give them a chance, although 2 would be better. If it takes 12 years or more…

  11. President Trump (in a very Trump-y voice): “We’re going to kick Russia in the balz by exporting more gas, oil, and even coal so their budget crashes and Europe isn’t dependent on them for power!”

    Half of America: “Why that’s exactly what a Russian agent would do!”

  12. More a tendency to pour concrete first, rip up concrete, lay cabling and piping, and re-pour concrete.

    Top tier CAD diagrams are mostly a suggestion to the contractors who believe strongly in winging it.

  13. So….we are all gonna die in 12 years because Senate Democrats threw the GND under the bus yesterday?

  14. How is increasing America’s exports a ‘loss-loss’ for the country?

    In just 2017 alone, our coal exports to the UK increased by 175% and for France it was 200%. All while both nations screamed hypocritically about the Paris BS Non-Agreement.

    A total win-win. Unless you suffer from TDS, of course.

  15. BS. Remove the anti-nuclear NRC from the picture and costs drop dramatically.

    Also, equivalent wind capacity requires way more concrete and steel than nuclear reactors do. Oh, and solar doesn’t produce power in the dark and wind doesn’t produce power when there is no wind.

    And Nuke plants don’t kill birds.

    And yet our President is pushing for more coal.

    Yes, FOR EXPORT. Same exact reason he pushes for more LNG facilities, so we can export our cheap natural gas. And who is buying all that coal? Asia and Euro-Hypocrites yelling about Trump pulling out of the Paris Non-Agreement:

    WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to a Reuters review of government data, allowing President Donald Trump’s administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working.

    They included a surge to several European countries during the 2017 period, including a 175 percent increase in shipments to the United Kingdom, and a doubling to France – which had suffered a series of nuclear power plant outages that required it and regional neighbors to rely more heavily on coal.

    “If Europe wants to lecture Trump on climate then EU member states need transition plans to phase out polluting coal,” said Laurence Watson, a data scientist working on coal at independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative in London.

  16. Well it may not be entirely designed just yet.

    This would really be the Chinese way: start building something before it is completely designed. Oh boy the stories I could tell.

  17. They will find it. Trust me.

    Or more specifically, they will find the best SJW Virtue Signaling Judge that court venue shopping will provide.

  18. China will start pouring concrete for a 125 MWe ACP100 nuclear reactor by the end of this year. Construction is expected to take 65 months.

    65 months to build a small, modular 125 MWe reactor?

    Brian, was that a typo?

    The longest car loan I’ve ever had was for 60 months.

  19. Switching from coal to methane is a loss for the country?

    <backs away slowly, not breaking eye contact>

  20. Wait you are telling me Trump picks up free voters by advocating for coal even while market economics speed the transition from coal to methane?

    win-win for Trump, so genius political move.

  21. How can you state the obvious and not comprehend the meaning? Of course he is pushing for coal a lot of his supporters and a lot of people’s jobs and hopes are for coal. But the only reason he pushes for coal is because he also knows it’s NOT going to make any difference, coal is soon to be a obsolete technology.

    It’s kind of like trying to comfort a man dying of terminal cancer.

  22. First Nuscale plant is to be built in Idaho. NIMBYs and Watermellons can’t find Idaho on a map so no worries.

  23. End goal is for a 12 unit plant to cost $4,200 per installed kilowatt of generating capacity. Doing the math that comes out to 3.25 billion dollars for a 780MW plant.

  24. Where do they spring the leak?

    As far as I can tell for Nuscale if it springs a leak anywhere then it is passively safe.

    The goal of course for smaller reactors is mass production.

  25. Not a fan of small reactors unless they can be mass produced to make them a lot cheaper per MW than the larger units. As far as safety is concern are they still passively safe if they spring a leak?

  26. If they won’t be commercially available until a decade from now, they take a full decade to permit, and then another decade to construct in the US, then the first ones could come online right at 2050.

    Different states have different decarbonization legislation timelines. Most demand that the power system to be mostly decarbonized before 2050.

    Unless we see substantial improvements in the US nuclear regulatory environment, this technology doesn’t have a chance here.

  27. I think both countries will construct at least a technology demonstration site.

    I like the concentric pump inlet/outlet legs with a pump on the end of the stub on the ACP100. B&W’s Otto Hahn reactor had that and was commissioned in 1964.

    All the trouble for putting a steam generator inside the RPV. Just boil the water on the fuel – BWRX-300!

  28. I am quite certain, that the Chinese will succeed and actually build the thing. But with nimbys, watermelons, desperate housewives etc. in the US, I am hedging my bets.

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