Babcock & Wilcox Shrinks the Nuclear Reactor, But Not the Waste

babcock & wilcox small scale nuclear reactor image
Ta da! We have another entrant in the 'Honey, I Shrunk the Reactor' category of nuclear power. Babcock & Wilcox has announced a new small-scale nuclear reactor which they say will eliminate many of the economic problems holding back nuclear power at the moment.

125 MW, One-Tenth the Size
The 125 MW units are about one-tenth the size of a normal reactor. Quite a bit large than the only other entrant in this race Hyperion Power's 27 MW 'nuclear hot tub'.

The idea is to manufacture them in US factories—a point made no doubt to tap into the idea that green energy jobs are more difficult to export than other manufacturing—and then ship them to where ever the unit is to be installed.

Babcock & Wilcox says that the units will cost "less than $5,000 per megawatt."

Waste Stored On-Site for Product's Life
Environmental Capital really hits on what I see as the environmental problem with this. Nothing like pushing off nuclear waste on future generations to satisfy current gluttonous energy needs:

What about nuclear waste? The new reactors can’t solve the riddle of Yucca Mountain—but are equipped to store their spent fuel on site and underground for the entire 60-year operating life. Babcock & Wilcox also says the new reactors, which use light-water technology, could use a variety of fuel if advances are made in thorium-powered nuclear reactors, for instance.

Just wait until the people up in tar sands get a load of this.

More: Babcock & Wilcox (press release)

image: Babcock & Wilcox
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