back to article Rolls-Royce consortium shopping for factory sites to build mini-nuclear reactors

UK aerospace and engineering giant Rolls-Royce is on the hunt for sites for its much-touted small nuclear reactors, which received a £210m grant from the UK government last year. A consortium of BNF Resources UK Ltd, Exelon Generation Ltd, and Roll-Royce Group is set to invest £195m roughly over three years, qualifying it for …

  1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    How much space do they need? I guess a standard back garden isn't enough?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It is if you have a sufficient containment shed

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        or two ...

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Two sheds ? What are you, the Queen or something ?

          1. Paul Herber Silver badge
            Happy

            That's Mr Jackson to you!

    2. MJI Silver badge

      Would be if you own a farm, or a large estate.

      I think it was in region of sports field size.

      1. Ken G Bronze badge
        Boffin

        or at least a squash court

        1. HildyJ Silver badge
          Pint

          +1 for the Manhattan Project reference.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      By definition $My back garden won't be where it is. That might be their problem.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that all

    £120m public + £250m private money when we are getting that much back every week as a Brexit benefit

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is that all

      Can't work out if you intentionally left off the :

      #pisstake

      #sarcasm

      #iamfuckingjoking

      texts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is that all

        Sarcasm in an anonymous reg comment?

        Inconceivable !

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: Is that all

          Inconceivable !

          I don't think that word means what you think it does.

          1. EnviableOne Silver badge

            Re: Is that all

            top google search:

            A mostly dull uninteresting film with little in the way of surprises

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: Is that all

      £210 is less than what the new Royal YatchBoris' Floating Gin Palace/Party Yatch will end up costing.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: Is that all

        Missed off the million!

        £210 wouldn't even reach to half a roll of wallpaper for the master suite

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Is that all

          To be fair it is only a Playmobile royal yacht for the prime ministerial bathtub.

          It just costs £210 from Hamleys. You can't expect him to shop at John Lewis like some sort of peasant

  3. Arthur the cat Silver badge

    SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

    Which means maybe 600 MW waste thermal energy. That's one hell of a district heating system. Now all we have to do is get people to accept SMRs as the heart of new town developments.

    [Only 50% glossobuccalic.]

    1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

      Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

      What do you want to bet that the very communities that grab the cash coming from the factories refuse point blank to have any of these new power stations in their back yards?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

      How about a discount on your heating and electicity? I'd suggest based on an inverse square relation to distance of your residence from from the plant. Could apply this to wind turbines and such, too. Why not give people a cash-in-hand incentive rather than the usual vacuous promises about jobs and sustainability?

      1. adam 40 Silver badge

        Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

        So if I lived in the plant, they would give me infinite money?

        Sweet!

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

          That sounds like a glowing endorsement!

      2. Precordial thump

        Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

        Inverse fourth-power. No infrastructure needed for implementation, that way.

    3. Dave 15 Silver badge

      Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

      Given how damned cold my feat are right now i would host one at home. Of course the next question has to be when we will build aircraft carriers and frigates round one

      1. Ken G Bronze badge
        Trollface

        Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

        When will you tell the Australians how to build submarines around them?

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

          There are enough shipping containers at the bottom of the sea already thank you.

        2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

          >will you tell the Australians how to build submarines

          No cardboard or cardboard derivatives, obviously

    4. Snake Silver badge

      Re: district heating

      An excellent proposal. Still, the only way NIMBY can be overcome when it comes to nuclear power is if that district sets aside a rather large buffer zone for the SMR in case of emergency. This relegates SMR-heated districting to edge-rural locations, but that can still work if other factors are considered (transportation and other functional infrastructure).

      It does have echos of [the eventual finale of] Pripyat however...

    5. keith_w
      Flame

      Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

      Why would there be any waste heat, since heat is precisely the point of the whole thing. Make heat, transfer it to a boiler, use the steam to turn a turbine to make electricity.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

        I think the people of this country have had enough of the second law of thermodynamics......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

          I'm sure Michael "we've had enough of experts" Gove* will soon promise to repeal that law.

          * Other equally stupid/incompetent/slimy cabinet ministers are available.

        2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

          second law of thermodynamics......

          #Heat won't pass from the cooler to the hotter,

          #You can try it if you like but you'd far better notta..

          (Yes yes, not the 2nd law but it's Flanders and Swann!)

          1. Mog_X

            Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

            Yeah - that's entropy, man!

    6. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

      Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

      I wouldn't be surprised if some people here in Oxford go all "nuclear free zone!" about it, completely failing to appreciate there's been a whole bunch of albeit small nuclear reactors just down the road for decades. Personally I'd be quite happy to have them as neighbours; even if they are probably PWR or related. Meh.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

        "nuclear free zone!"

        I've never worked out how they keep all the electrons in place.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: SMRs are expected to produce 300MWe per unit.

          Degeneracy pressure

    7. fg_swe

      Cold Winter, Lack of Methane

      That will do the trick. The NIMBYs will shut up on day three of a cold winter without heating.

      I am old enough to see this must happen before the romantics change their mind.

  4. DJO Silver badge

    Money for old rope

    All they need do is take an existing design for a submarine reactor and stick it in a shipping container.

    Can't see that needs £210m for research, most of it has already been done and paid for.

    1. Billy Whiz

      Re: Money for old rope

      That's pretty much what an SMR is. A submarine without the 'bangy' or 'floaty' bits (or 'sinky' for that matter)

      1. Paul Herber Silver badge

        Re: Money for old rope

        HMS Floaty-Sinky-Bang-Bang

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Money for old rope

          I think you forgot the trailing "McFace"

          1. Paul Herber Silver badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            No, I did not!

          2. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            That would just be silly!

    2. Steve Foster

      Re: Money for old rope

      "shipping container". I believe you've mistyped "submarine"...

      Perhaps we should be looking at providing grid connection points at Faslane, so that the existing fleet of nuclear subs could be used to provide electricity to the grid.

      1. msobkow Silver badge

        Re: Money for old rope

        "Sorry, we can't join in the fight against Russia over the Ukraine, because our subs are all being used to power toasters and dishwashers..."

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          "Sorry, we can't join in the fight against Russia over the Ukraine, because they would turn our gas off"

          And if they haven't been funding anti-nuclear campaigns in Europe for the last 60 years they are idiots

        2. eionmac1

          Re: Money for old rope

          Would be better to provide clean drinking water to Fiji

          1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            That would be Tonga, my friend. Different country, 800km away.

            Fiji have so much clean water they're exporting it in expensive plastic bottles, at least according to the branding. Although I suspect the small print will tell you it's bottled in Slough.

            1. NeilPost Silver badge

              Re: Money for old rope

              From concentrate ??

            2. Down not across Silver badge

              Re: Money for old rope

              Not Peckham Spring Water?

        3. Steve Foster
          Mushroom

          Re: Money for old rope

          You think we're willing to start WW3 over Ukraine?

          And if so, surely they could launch their missiles just as effectively from Faslane as they could from the Black Sea...

          (obvious choice of icon!)

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            You think we're willing to start WW3 over Ukraine?

            Desperate times calls for desperate action. Boris would no doubt welcome the distraction potential - the war of words has begun.

            1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

              Re: Money for old rope

              Boris would no doubt welcome the distraction potential

              Well - it worked for Maggie. But then, she had several things that Boris doesn't - competence, morals (of a sort), ability to not tell lies etc etc..

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Money for old rope

                I think even Maggie had the sense not to pull the bears tail too hard in their own back yard.

          2. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            Have not we studied at school how the government was not prepared to go to war with Germany because of Sudetenland?

        4. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          tbf the Russians understand the importance of tea. I'm sure they'd do the gentlemanly thing and hold off until everyone's kettle has boiled.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Money for old rope

            IIRC, in Asterix in Britain - the natives would stop fighting the Romans to break for Tea

      2. Ken G Bronze badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Money for old rope

        Scotland is almost completely self sufficient for green energy. Try Canary Wharf.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Money for old rope

          Scotland is almost completely self sufficient for green energy

          Only when you fiddle the figures, as Sturgeon & the SNP propaganda does.

          That statement is based on the idea that (in 2020) Scotland produced 32TWh of renewable electricity, and consumed 33TWh of electricity and therefore "almost all Scotland's electricity comes from renewables". In reality, renewable energy production is dependent on weather, and the supply/demand periods don't align.

          In 2020, Scotland exported over 13TWh of renewable electricity at some times, and used over 14TWh of non-renewable at other times. Over the course of a year only about 55% of Scotland's electricity comes from Scottish renewables (the remaining 45% is from nuclear, gas & oil), a far cry from "self-sufficient".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Money for old rope

            I think you need some remedial arithmetic lessons. There's little difference in quantity between 32 and 33.

            Your numbers say Scotland produced 32TWh of renewable electricity and consumed 33TWh of electricity in 2020. So supply and demand are almost equal. In other words, total renewable electricity generation in Scotland pretty much matches the nation's total electricity consumption.

            It's true the supply and demand periods don't always align. This is no big deal. Power companies deal with this all the time. It's a basic principle of the electricity business: you supply me with your extra power when I need it and I'll reciprocate when I've got extra that you need.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Money for old rope

              "I'll scratch your back, you scratch mine" is the very opposite of self-sufficiency.

            2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

              Re: Money for old rope

              Yes but I may want to run my TV when the windmills aren't a turning. A sight I quite often see.

              The other great trick is to quote theoretical output not actual.

              1. tiggity Silver badge

                Re: Money for old rope

                @LybsterRoy

                Its not all about "windmills" - about 1/5 of the Scottish renewables from hydro on lots of rivers, each one not generating a huge amount (a few mega Watts) , but will always be generating power (bar mechanical breakdown) so a "reliable" renewable compared to wind, solar etc.

                We will always have a few days of low/no wind in the UK so wind alone will never be a panacea, so a good mix of renewables is vital.

                As for nuclear, I don't think that many people are thinking "mushroom cloud imminent", more likely to be concerned about risk of local "leaks" and the issue of what happens to all the waste long term as that's the issue that keeps getting kicked into the long grass. The botched cover ups / lack of honesty about nuclear incidents in the UK has been counter productive, fessing up to fuckups would have been better, the whole lie to the public stance actively encouraged more distrust of nuclear IMHO.

                Ironically I grew up in a mining area and back then virtually all the homes were heated by coal (until it was made a smokeless zone) - and so would have been exposed to more radioactivity from coal combustion than if I lived near a reactor (especially as I often got the job of clearing the ash from the grate and throwing it in the bin, where the radioactive residues would be nicely concentrated)

                1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                  Re: Money for old rope

                  As for nuclear, I don't think that many people are thinking "mushroom cloud imminent"

                  I'm not sure everyone is capable of making that distinction. If they were we probably wouldn't also have anti-vaxxers, Ng phone mast arsonists etc. Never under-estimate the technical ignorance of a Grauniad reader Sun reader substantial chunk of the UK population.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Money for old rope

              Thats not the definition of self sufficient.

            4. fg_swe

              Greeny LIES

              "It's true the supply and demand periods don't always align. This is no big deal. Power companies deal with this all the time."

              Germany already has this problem. It is "handled" by depending on France, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland to supply and consume large amounts of electricity to/from Germany.

              In other words, wind+solar need 100% backup in the form of coal, methane, Uranium, Plutonium (the Russians currently burn some of that) and Thorium.

              Prices at the spot market now approach 100cent/kWh. Rail cargo transport ceases to be possible at this price point.

              The Greenies (rooted in Maoism) are ideologues and liars, masters of both.

        2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          Just round the corner from Canary Wharf is a brown field site in need of development. Just needs planning permission. With the government keen to promote the adoption of these power sources, it shouldn't be a problem. Just needs a word in the right ears.

          https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jun/24/robert-jenrick-planning-row-the-key-questions-answered

        3. NeilPost Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          The locals would be more than happy to have it on the site of the decommissioned Chapelcross Magnox nuclear power station… or (much irony) Dounreay ‘being decommissioned’ former *Nuclear Power Development Site* or the shutdown on 7-Jan-22 Hunterston AGR nuclear power station.

          The Scottish government… not so much.

        4. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          I'm assuming the thumbs down icon indicates sarcasm. If not please convert my upvote to as many downvotes as there are wind turbines in Caithness!

    3. Alex Stuart

      Re: Money for old rope

      Quite.

      I ask the same question of why building new 'normal' size nukes is seemingly such a difficult, time-consuming and hugely expensive task, despite the world having decades of experience building them already - see EDF and Hinkley, etc.

      It seems like as time goes by, we* get progressively worse** at building things. Houses, railways, reactors and so on.

      * - The UK, or at least England

      ** - worse meaning they are either of worse quality, or take far more money and time to achieve than before. For example, we spend a lot more money per km of railway than other countries with comparable geographical constraints. And, er, HS2...

      1. Dave 15 Silver badge

        Re: Money for old rope

        Because we don't design and build we just ask foreigners to do it. Those cheap and nasty Chinese toys that break as you unpack them... What makes you think a Chinese reactor or reactor component would be any better? Substandard crud

        1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          "Good or cheap" is an adage that applies to Chinese products as much as anyone else's. I'd also point out that they have 50 nuclear reactors online and so far none has gone bang.

          Not that I'm pro-China, but you're a little naive if you think one billion people who manufacture most of the worlds stuff somehow still haven't figured out how to do it properly. Although I do agree with your other point that we outsource everything but continue to be surprised when we wind up having no control over the process.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            If you don't go through some QC iterations before committing to full production then expect tat to arrive by the boatload, engineering/build quality is just another expense for beancounters.

            Chinese companies will build at the quality level you're willing to pay for.

          2. pavel.petrman Silver badge

            Re: one billion people who manufacture most of the worlds stuff

            Good point here. China actually built an interesting transfer policy around it. Simply said, China doesn't allow dumb manufacturing for foreigners anymore, nor does it allow "dumb" installations on its soil by foreign compaies. Ten years ago, Daimler would build their own factory in China, just like they do in Mexico or Spain, German companies would design, build and commission the factory, locals would be allowed in as workers. Not anymore. Everything must be done in partnership with local companies, including design and equipment sourcing. It happened quite recently for general public to notice in full, but one already sees local jet airliners supplementing the huge fleets of Boeings and Airbuses, and, to the point, nuclear power plants being built by local consortia with technology and knowledge transfer being an important part of the deals.

            1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

              Re: one billion people who manufacture most of the worlds stuff

              Ironically this is the exact opposite of how China does infrastructure projects in Africa, so I'm told. They turn up with the entire workforce and don't hire locally at all, which is a marked change to how it used to be done with European firms.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: one billion people who manufacture most of the worlds stuff

                Technically I don't think the Europeans "hired" their workers, just captured them.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          "Because we don't design and build we just ask foreigners to do it."

          It's actually a bit worse. It's because we gave up doing that. OK, a lot worse.

        3. herman Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          Chinese nuclear manual is to be helping and not to be laughful at.

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Money for old rope

            Read The Fearful Manual

            Icon - You were only supposed to blow the bloody vents, not blow up the whole bloody power station

      2. keith_w

        Re: Money for old rope

        Same in Ontario... it costs 2-3x the original suggested cost and takes twice as long (if they are quick about it.)

        1. msobkow Silver badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          That "2-3 times the cost" is standard government operating procedure. If they told the House of Parliament what it would really cost for 95% of government programs, they wouldn't be started.

          Besides, you can blame that on a mentality that always awards contracts to the lowest bidder. In all industries, that has led to an SOP of underbidding to get the job, and billing "extra" later for "upgrades" and "changes."

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            House of Parliament? They can't even tell the cabinet that.

      3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Money for old rope

        >For example, we spend a lot more money per km of railway than other countries with comparable geographical constraints

        Not quite the same.

        France = monsieur farmer would you like more money to turn your land into a TGV line than you currently get from the Eu for not farming it ? Mais Oui !

        Japan = there is an uninhabited mountain range between two major cities. Get tunnelling. Hai

        China = there is nobody living in the flat farmland between these two cities. Excuse me I live here ! (sound of gunshot off screen) There is nobody living in the flat farmland between these two cities

        UK = The land between these 2 cities goes through 1000s of privately owned Englishmen's suburban castles, each of which for some reason is worth £1M. And the farmland is all owned by somebody who lives in an actual castle and is in the House of Lords. And there is a rare toad somewhere outside Birmingham so the line will have to go via Lands End.

        1. Alex Stuart

          Re: Money for old rope

          Ha - love it.

          I still think we'd be worse off even without that factor. Too much red tape and a government hell-bent on outsourcing everything and losing money hand-over-fist in the process.

          "What's that <serco/deloitte/acme>, you want two billion pounds to sit and think about the idea for a few years? Don't be shy, here's three!"

          1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

            Re: Money for old rope

            About £900,000 was spent on a feasibility study for Boris' hair brained bridge between NI and Scotland.

            Over £40 million on planning and design for his garden bridge over the Thames.

            Lots of snoughts to feed

            1. R Soul

              Re: Money for old rope

              Of course! How else do you think these companies can afford to pay backhanders - sorry lucrative directorships and consultancy contracts - to our politicians/generals/permanent secretaries once they leave office?

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Money for old rope

                Or wallpaper while they're sill in office.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Money for old rope

              Perhaps he should follow Corbyn's example and suggest planting magic money trees in the garden of number 10. Would remove the party space as well!

              1. Andrew Alan McKenzie

                Re: Money for old rope

                Whilst Corbyn was/is a prat, the magic money trees are thoroughly Tory. Amber Rudd and Teresa May suggested Jeremy wanted one and that they didn't exist, but actually it turned out they were growing in the Number 10 garden all along, just no one had noticed because they were behind the glass recycling bins.

      4. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Money for old rope

        > I ask the same question of why building new 'normal' size nukes is seemingly such a difficult, time-consuming and hugely expensive task, despite the world having decades of experience building them already - see EDF and Hinkley, etc.

        One reason (amongst many) is alluded to in the article:

        "prefabricated units of SMRs can be manufactured and then shipped and installed on-site, making them more affordable to build than large power reactors, which are often custom-designed for a particular location, sometimes leading to construction delays.
        Even though a series of reactors may be built to "Reactor Type X" plan, each individual reactor is essentially custom hand-built on site. As well as the expense in hand-building these things, since they are each effectively a custom unit, each one has to be certified separately that it is actually built to the common plan for Type X, and that any deviations are verified, and so on. This makes them incredibly expensive individually, as you need skilled (nuclear reactor skilled) workers on site, custom fabrications, running into unexpected issues which leads to delays which means more costs, the potential for cost blowouts goes on and on. Big-bang custom software project billion-dollar blowouts have nothing on nuclear reactor delays and blowouts.

        So instead of hand-building a custom 3600MW reactor on site, the idea is to mass-produce smaller reactors, so you can plonk 12 of these mass-produced, identical, needing only quality-control-type testing/certification that any mass-produced but complex machine is, down on the same site to create your 3600MW plant. And since you have 12 of them, they can be independantly controlled, maintained, refueled/replaced without taking down the entire 3500MW reactor. They can also be expanded or decommissioned more gradually. Add another 300MW reactor if want to make the site provide more power, take them out one-by-one to decommission them. Build smaller sites so you don't need a single 3600MW plant. Able to ship them to remote sites (e.g. Shetlands, Fiji, middle of Amazon) to establish smaller, local power infrastructure without having to run submarine/overland transmission infrastructure, etc.

        If you are going to go nuclear for low-emissions power (as opposed to solar/wind/hydro/geothermal etc.) then SMRs seem a better way to do it.

        1. Vometia has insomnia. Again. Bronze badge

          Re: Money for old rope

          Reactors described along the same lines as VaxClusters: now I understand...

          1. eldakka Silver badge
            Happy

            Re: Money for old rope

            Using a Beowulf cluster of commodity hardware instead of a custom ASICs and processors, one-off hand-built supercomputer.

          2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
            Alert

            Re: Money for old rope

            Now we need an enterprising Eben Upton like person to come up with the Raspberry Pi of Nukes

    4. fg_swe

      Economics of Reactor R&D

      210 Million Pounds are a tiny amount of money compared to what is wasted on r0tten bankers, illegal wars and dangerous medical schemes.

      Also, just adapting a uboat reactor to civilian use will cost more than 210 millions. All of the technology must be tested, certified, reviewed and at least one protoype must be run for three years or so.

      Developing a new car model costs several billion euros these days. Based on evolving a previous car model. The safety and political implications of a rott3n car model are much smaller than a r0tt3n reactor model.

      Due to the strategic nature of energy supply and the lack of national methane supplies in many European nations, governments must step in and provide the necessary funding and organization, Airbus-style. The alternative is to be dependent on foreign powers who might be friendly or not. Some of these powers can point dangerous weapons and armies of soldiers at you, all while supplying critical methane.

      Kinda problematic, isn't it ?

  5. msobkow Silver badge

    Tough to get approval for anything "nuclear" in this day and age. The protestors show up before they even know what you're trying to do; they just heard a rumor of "nukes involved." :(

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Boffin

      That's why lab chemists do NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy on their molecules but when the same technology is scaled to human size they call it MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to avoid scaring people...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It was called NMR imaging when I were a lad. It's only after ballsups like Sellafield, 3Mile Island and Chernobyl that they started dropping "Nuclear" and "Radiation" off names.

        1. adam 40 Silver badge

          Thanks!

          Previously, the reasons were unclear.

        2. Dante Alighieri Bronze badge
          Boffin

          Turf War

          The Nuclear Medicine speciality (uses isoposeotopes) wanted to claim the new imaging technology from the Radiology Departments to expand their influence.

          Training is very different and does not include a lot of crossectional anatomy for Nuc Med. It didn't fly.

          Another element as above was not scaring the horses

          DoI : dual trained

        3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Was once explaining to a visiting American how the NMR lab in the chemistry dept was being moved and renamed the MRI lab. To 'I quote' avoid the 'N' word.

          He seemed very confused about why we were mentioning the 'N' word. I was even more confused about why he was confused.

          This was many years ago before twitter......

          1. Medixstiff

            Naggers?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or maybe it's just that many Americans cannot pronounce, "nuclear" ?

      1. A Nother Handle
        Joke

        Mike Giggler writes

        The correct pronunciation was always, even when new, clear to me.

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Sterling Stirling type Engine Feeds and Seeds

    A Holywood AIdDevelopment Field Office and Special Security Service Agency proposes the building of one of them at Kinnegar for both Ulster and United Irishman needs and desires.

    Perfectly positioned, already securely provisioned, level green/brown field site with excellent existing practically next door national and international shipping and flight connections and a home workforce of titanic reputation in many cases little more than just an almighty stone’s throw away.

    The Rolls-Royce consortium could do an awful lot worse ..... and most probably will, for there can only be the one as a pioneering leader.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sterling Stirling type Engine Feeds and Seeds

      And the Dirty Duck for lunch, what's not to like?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sterling Stirling type Engine Feeds and Seeds

      "titanic reputation"

      That hardly inspires confidence. Ask Leonard Dicaprio.

      Using a workforce with a titanic reputation to build nukes is a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?

      ISTR the titanic reputation of the workforce at De Lorean didn't have a happy ending either. With or without the flux capacitors.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Sterling Stirling type Engine Feeds and Seeds

        The present future opportunity to build and install SMRs worldwide, with living active experience of a titanic reputation in terrible times and yet still able to enable the vanquishing of explosive Troubles readily available and natively installed in the local skilled workforce since before their birth, is something to be cherished and celebrated ..... and don't forget to remember it is quite natural too, being a vital integral part of universally known Irish and Navvy [Navigator] DNA.

        Don't you know, they would tell you they are responsible for the building of America and a long list of other countries too ...... :-) but take the full truth of that with a pinch of salt for they do have a justified reputation which is great to experience of providing absolutely fabulous fabless craic also.

        However, nevertheless, notwithstanding the idle banter here, AC, raising all manner of phantom red flags to inflame and excite opposition and competition, the proposal still stands as a viable proposition for business exploration and certainly unanimous cross-party NI Assembly political and Invest NI support.

      2. Arthur the cat Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Sterling Stirling type Engine Feeds and Seeds

        Using a workforce with a titanic reputation to build nukes is a great idea. What could possibly go wrong?

        OK, just how many nuclear reactors that have hit an iceberg and sunk can you name then?

    3. fg_swe

      Mars Snark

      Mr Mars, with all due respect, you will be much less snarky on day three of an ice cold apartment, because methane supplies have been cut.

  7. FredChuff

    Currently any civil nuclear new build is, as a matter of government policy, to be constructed on an existing nuclear licenced site (e.g. Wylfa). Since one idea behind factory built SMRs was that they can be shipped ready fuelled (which has been proposed in the past for civil and military cores) then the factory will require a Site Licence. I can't see that happening. For Site Licencing details see https://www.onr.org.uk/licensing.htm.

    As to the practicality of producing SMRs that will actually meet ONR requirements - there is no size based approach to reactor safety - a 300 MW(e) SMR will not necessarily be 1/10 the size and complexity of a 3000 MW(e) EPR. And the submarine reactors are not actually operating at full capacity in inshore waters.

    There is a public aversion to living next to a nuclear power station, so district heating, or tomato growing, is not really going to work. The SMR sites shown in the centre of Legoland towns is a bit of a pipe dream.

    By the way, the UK is not worse at building reactors. EdF is a French state controlled entity which has yet to finish the first of a kind EPR at Flammanville. The UK detailed design of the EPR for HPC means it has to be built to different (i.e UK) standards. The construction of HPC is continuing on schedule, but fuel load keeps going back as Flammanville recedes. Okiluoto has just gone critical (and look at the delays and legal actions on that). The recent French government intervention in the EdF finances, and EdF's attention becoming focused on EPR2 might will have an impact on Flammanville schedule.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      There is also a public aversion to power cuts and sky-high leccy bills. I wonder which aversion is stronger.

    2. msobkow Silver badge

      They're going to have an awfully hard time shipping them if they aren't smaller than the "big sites" like you claim.

      Having followed SNRs for a while, I do believe that worry is invalid. Size does not make a reactor safe. That is a "bigger is better" fallacy.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        I'm reasonably happy with them on submarines. On land the space needed for the installation is insignificant with that required to make it safe from terrorists.

      2. fg_swe

        Admiral Rickover had a very good safety record for naval reactors. Because he booted out the cocktail party officers.

        No leaks ever.

        The Russians and the British allowed the social engineers onto their submarines. With plenty of leaking as a result.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      So the plan is to put it in Wales so nobody can spell the place to protest ?

      1. herman Silver badge

        People wont know what niwclear is either. Sounds like zit cream.

    4. anothercynic Silver badge

      Indeed... We have some excellent nuclear knowledge here.

    5. Zanzibar Rastapopulous

      I'd suggest Barrow in Furness since they must already have some of the skills, would be happy to get some development funding, right betwixt Sellafield and Heysham, cheap, and could be put in the "levelling up" box.

      Could have the management fully remote in London where they can suck up the cash without any danger of them breaking anything.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    three reactors used to be in our village 1945-1955

    Three experimental reactors used to be sited in our village. Test submarine one, Universities's teaching one and a 'safety experiment one. Long since gone. Industrial estate on that site has name "Trident Estate"

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: three reactors used to be in our village 1945-1955

      Plenty of various RR reactors in Derbyshire (inc sub ones), and lots of radioactive waste too - tend to find out about these in press reports of planning issues e.g. lots of planning disputes when developers want to build homes near the old RR low level radioactive waste site in Crich made for interesting reading in the Derbyshire "press"*.

      * Where press === news web sites

    2. fg_swe

      Now Imagine

      A factory being built there, employing hundreds of skilled and well paid engineers, technicians and scientists for decades to come. Englishmen would build the machines to power English homes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

    So are these yet more dirty, Toxic, cost overrunning, impossible to afford to clean up and liable to mess up the environment Magnox type nuclear weapons producing material reactors?

    Why are we not building Compact Thorium Salt Water Reactors which are clean to run, have idiot proof fail safe modes to shutdown and burn old waste product that leaves inert safe to dispose of when its exhausted. The chinese stole all the designs of reactors, so theres no issue with IP, (on the established, you steal my designs, we steal yours) (tit4tat)

    UK.gov are staffed by idiots. who cannot plan for longer than to the next by-election.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

      "who cannot plan for longer than to the next by-election"

      Sir, experience suggests you are over-generous.

    2. Medixstiff

      Re: lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

      So that's where our Aussie gummint workers and pollies learned it from.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

      I keep reading how Thorium reactors are cheap/safe/idiot proof etc. and wondering why there aren't any photos of them operating. Then I remember Unicorns and UFOs and elves at the bottom of the garden.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

        "why there aren't any photos of them operating."

        There are photos. They're not very exciting and there aren't any aliens.

    4. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

      Why are we not building Compact Thorium Salt Water Reactors which are clean to run

      Because there are no designs that have been authorised..

    5. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: lets build more fukishimas, but in all the cities...

      Why are we not building Compact Thorium Salt Water Reactors

      I think you mean molten salt reactors fuelled by Thorium. Mixing salt water with Thorium probably isn't a good idea, and adding water to molten FLiBe is a definite no-no.

    6. fg_swe

      Yeah, MSR

      The latest snake oil by American Oligarchs. Totally fully safe, no problem. If you believe one Oligarch who never bothered to get a proper scientific education. Or any other professional education. He is not even a certified accountant.

      Here is the protip: Nuclear fission fuel of ANY type will have something called NachZerfallsWärme of about 10% of operational fission power for days. Then for weeks something like 1%.

      So a 3000MWth reactor will have a cooling need of 300MWth for several hours after emergency shutdown. thats 300 000 000 Watts of power. You better have a nice water flow for cooling. The big problem of the Japanese was that they could not repair or replace the cooling. So they had nasty stuff such as core melting and hydrogen generation, plus a nice hydrogen explosion. Whoever has an education can imagine that and reactors usually have redundant water flows.

      Having said that, I am a proponent of nuclear power for economic, strategic and environmental reasons. But don't let yourself be fooled into the idea that there exist totally idiotproof reactors. Read up on Rickover to get the details of proper reactor operations.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Yeah, MSR

        "The big problem of the Japanese was that they could not repair or replace the cooling."

        Jim Al-kahlili did a special on Fukushima and it seems that a major problem turned out to be human. Go figure. The operators were under the impression that they couldn't leave the passive cooling system on for an extended period of time and were cycling it on and off. When the backup power finally failed, the system was in the off position and they didn't know because they had never tested it. Plan D failed when they didn't know that a valve would divert emergency cooling water pumped in from fire engines to the base of the cooling towers rather than into the reactor. Again, never tested. The reactors scrammed when the earthquake hit and the worst peak in reactor temperature had passed, when the tsunami hit, they were managing decay heat at that point. The people problem was compounded by fundamental design flaws in the site layout. The backup generators and battery system were placed below grade and subject to flood damage. Not very bright as tsunamis are not unheard of in Japan.

    7. fg_swe

      Impact Of Different Energy Sources

      There is a simple metric: people killed per TWh of power generated.

      Nuclear comes out at the best source, because ALL energy sources kill people and nuclear reactors are highly redundant. A single oil rig explosion has killed as many as in Chernobyl. Now add up ALL oil rig explosions. Add the Iraq war for oil.

      Add up all the people who fall off roofs installing solar cells. Add the people who die of the toxic fumes from coal that makes the solar cells in China.

      Or add up all the radioactive dust emitted by coal power. Check how many people are killed by that.

  10. Valdis A Filks

    Put one of these in the Drax power station and stop burning fake renewables, biomass and wood chip. Because these are so small, it is possible to put more than one in a power plant, which is also good from a service perspective, because you can shut one down at a time without losing all the power. So these can go into the newly closed down sites such as Wylfa and Hunterston. This is a good quick, zero CO2, renewable, sustainable, safe way to produce low cost electricity, reduce CO2, solve climate change and create UK jobs. Next step export them to replace coal and gas power stations in Africa and Asia. Good to put them in existing nuclear, biomass, coal, gas power stations because you do not need to build new expensive transmission lines.

    1. fg_swe

      Honest Accounting

      Nuclear is not zero CO2. Neither is wind or solar. Both need ENORMOUS input of coal to produce the concrete, steel and the cells themselves. And the elements to make the cells.

      It is called EROI - energy return on investment.

      EROI = EnergyProduced / (EnergyForMachine + EnergySpentForFuel)

      Nuclear EROI is at 80, solar cells at 10, windmills at 20.

      Even hydropower emits CO2, because dams or "bathtubs in the sea" need voracious amounts of concrete and steel to build. Concrete and steel are made from large amounts of coal. The coal can NOT be replaced in a large scale for the time being.

      Here is an attempt at designing a Bathtub to store the fluctuating German wind+solar power for just one month:

      https://fgw.ddnss.de/StromSpeicher.html

      It would require the concrete production of all of Germany for one year, but it might nevertheless make sense to build it, as it is highly efficient compared to hydrogen storage.

      Hydrogen storage loses something like 60% of power in the storage+retrieval cycle. Water storage loses just 10%.

      1. MachDiamond Silver badge

        Re: Honest Accounting

        "Hydrogen storage loses something like 60% of power in the storage+retrieval cycle. Water storage loses just 10%."

        Storing fresh water also has a benefit in and of itself.

  11. Roger Mew

    Hi here in France we have some large areas near to Nantes and Rennes that are not too good for farming, have good transport routes, and the availability of highly competent technical people. We have one of the largest shipbuilding ports in Europe here and best yet get good grants for setting up a business. It should also be of note that land here is far cheaper than many other countries in Europe. You would be welcome to come here with people that also are ok in not only French but English, and Spanish. Further, being in Europe and not on a little island separate from the EU accessing parts and staff is so much easier than from England.

    1. fg_swe

      There should be founded some sort of Nuclear Airbus, in order to pool the competence and capital of Britain, France, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, Italy and so on. Germany is at this point not willing to do nuclear, as the Maoist Dreamers are still in control. We need a cold winter with Methane cuts to change this.

      The Nuclear Airbus could be a great programme for industrial rejuvenation, great jobs and strategic security. It might even make sense to mine Uranium in Czech mountains and in Bulgaria. All controlled by competent medical experts to ensure safety for all people inside and near the mines.

      We also do not need the EU or the Euro currency to make this happen. Banks can perform the moneychanging, it is part of their core business.

  12. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Bring out the dead, er lawyers

    Sure, let's multiply one lawsuit by 10 and hire an office block full of lawyers at an average of £500/hr each to answer all of the suits. Don't forget that there will be protests against the pylons that will have to go in to move the power from each plant, so more lawsuits. People that will put their cell phone to their head for 14hours/day will scream bloody murder about their health if there are high tension lines near their home or work. One child born with a defect will generate yet another lawsuit that may be cheaper to settle than litigate.

    While nuclear power plants aren't cheap to construct, there is a huge amount of money that has to go into all of the lawsuits, planning, land corridors for power lines, inspections, rework, delays, etc that aren't the plant itself. These costs don't vary that much with the size of the plant. The power lines are bigger, but the pylon price doesn't scale at the same rate. The land stays the same, stuff like that.

    I agree with the concept of not putting all of ones eggs in one basket, but it's not a law. There is no economy of scale building nuclear plants in a factory vs on-site. There just isn't enough volume to make the case. They are sort of constructed off-site anyway and assembled at the location unless something needs to be fitted custom. If something like a LFTR plant becomes reality, those lend themselves to off-site modular construction.

    And another thing, what B-Ark advertising executive came up with the idea of shipping a reactor fully fueled? Any sane engineer would want to have the reactor installed at its location and fully tested before going hot. The safety protocols are much simpler without the fuel in-situ. It also means that pressure, electrical and sensor checks can be more completely tested after installation to catch any damage that occurred during shipment. Mass would also be an issue. When in California on one visit I came across a shipment of spent fuel being moved from the San Onofre power plant. The casket was cradled on a 192-wheel trailer with 2 trucks pulling and one pushing. They had stopped for the day as they only moved at night due to traffic issues. I have a 5 photo panorama of the rig. This was just fuel rods packed up safe and sound. The rest of a PWR doesn't seem like it would be moveable by road in one piece. This would infer that every small site would have to have a road system that could accommodate extremely heavy and oversize loads with no bridges. The trailer in California would not fit under standard bridges and the weight would be too much to go over many.

    1. fg_swe

      Reactor Barge

      The Russians have constructed and now operate a reactor on a barge. It now runs somewhere in the highest North.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akademik_Lomonosov

      The concept would be perfect for Britain, too. Manufacture the barges in one factory/shipyard and then tow into the 'target' harbour.

      The Russians also successfully operate a fast neutron, sodium cooled reactor. It could one day be used to burn all the 'waste' U238.

      We can definitely learn a trick or two from the east vikings.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022