S. Chirayath, P. Tsvetkov, J. Ragusa, R. Skoda, C. Gariazzo, “Methodology for Public Safety, Proliferation, and Economics Assessment of SMRs”, Transactions of the American Nuclear Society, Vol. 105, Washington, D.C., October 30–November 3, 2011
A number of innovative small modular reactor (SMR) concepts are being developed within the US and internationally. These innovative SMR designs are being promoted with their unique safety, operational and economic features to suit customers unable to benefit from large nuclear power plant (NPP) deployments. Such customers may be those located in off-grid locations, in regions where the electricity grids and population are small, those who want to replace the aging fossil fuel plants with a suitable fleet of SMRs. SMRs are also of particular interest for co-generation and process heat applications. The modular design of SMRs allows building multiple units at a site to form the equivalent of a large NPP, with the flexibility to add units as needed. Staggered build of modular SMR units reduces the maximum cash outlay even for the same total generating capacity of a large NPP . In the US, the SMR construction can revitalize the nuclear industry by increasing domestic manufacturing capability and by creating new jobs. All the above factors suggest a potentially important role that SMRs can play in energy security. However, quantifications of potential public dose, special nuclear material (SNM) proliferation risks, and economic risks are necessary for convincing the regulators and the public to support SMR deployment. A methodology framework is being developed by authors to assess the SMRs for; (i) public safety in terms of radiation dose from effluents releases, (ii) the SNM proliferation potential, and (iii) cost benefit analysis of reactor containment structure with respect to emergency planning zone (EPZ) radius.