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Light water reactor-based small modular nuclear reactor


Technology Description

Small modular reactors are defined as reactors with an electric generating capacity of up to 300 MW. Light water reactor (LWR) SMR designs are based on existing commercial LWR technology but are generally small enough to allow all major reactor components to be placed in a single pressure vessel (i.e. integral designs). The reactor vessel and its components are designed to be assembled in a factory and transported to the plant site for installation, potentially reducing construction time and costs compared to those of large LWRs.

Relevance for Net Zero

Being a small and modular nuclear technology, with lower absolute investment needs and potentially shorter lead times compared to Generation III reactors, may reduce the investment risks. SMRs can be deployed in regions where the level of electricity demand and/or grid constraints do not justify a large nuclear power plant. With a similar power output, they could also replace existing coal-fired power plants, taking advantage of the existing grid infrastructure. Electricity and heat from SMRs could also be used for hydrogen production. Desalination and district heating can be further areas of application.

Key Countries

Argentina, Canada, China, France, India, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Finland

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