Emergence of small nuclear reactors as alternative fuels; But there are risks
A global search for alternative sources of Russian energy in light of the war in Ukraine has drawn attention to small, easy-to-build nuclear power plants. Proponents say they could provide a cheaper and more efficient alternative to older large nuclear power plants.
UK-based Rolls-Royce SMR says its Small Modular Reactor, or SMR, is cheaper, faster than current nuclear facilities and offers the kind of energy security that many countries seek.
Rolls-Royce SMR and its competitors have signed deals with countries ranging from Britain to Poland to start building the stations. Small reactors are still years away from being operational and they cannot solve the current energy crisis in Europe.
Nuclear energy also presents risks. This includes eliminating highly radioactive waste and keeping this technology out of the hands of rogue states or rogue groups that may pursue nuclear weapons programs.
These risks increased after the bombardment around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, Ukraine, which raised fears of a possible nuclear disaster.
Last month, Rolls-Royce SMR announced that it had signed an agreement with Dutch development company ULC-Energy to install SMR in the Netherlands.
The introduction of “unproven” nuclear technology in the wake of the SMR has not been welcomed by environmentalists. They argue that the proliferation of small reactors will aggravate the problem of disposing of highly radioactive nuclear waste.
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