By Robert Hunziker
Small Modular Reactors (SMR) are the new nuclear craze, especially with the U.S. Congress, as America’s representatives see SMRs as a big answer to energy needs and reduction of greenhouse gases, advertised as a green deal for clean energy that skirts the heavy costs of paying the Middle East billions upon billions. However, the devil in the details is dangerously overlooked.
Notable nuclear accidents: NRX (1952) Kyshtym (1957) Windscale (1957) SL-1 (1961) Wood River Junction (1964) K-27 (1968) Three Mile Island (1979) Constituyentes (1983) Mohammedia (1984) K-431 (1985) Chernobyl (1986) Tokai (1997, 1999) Fukushima (2011) … but wait, hundreds, possibly thousands, of Small Modular Reactors (nuclear SMRs) are about to pop up around the world. What could possibly go wrong?
“Multiple and unexpected failures are built into society’s complex and tightly coupled nuclear reactor systems. Such accidents are unavoidable and cannot be designed around.” (Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents (Princeton University Press, 1999)
“On dozens of occasions because of human error or technical miscue or active threat, the world has come dangerously close to the brink of nuclear conflagration… it is a terrifying history of which most people remain ignorant.” (Julian Cribb, How to Fix a Broken Planet, Cambridge University Press, 2023.)
Should nuclear power really circumnavigate the planet with mini-power plants?