PH eyes use of small nuclear reactors for power generation

By: Ronnel W. Domingo - Philippine Daily Inquirer | December 23,2019 - 10:53 AM

The world’s first small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) have started delivering electricity to a coastal town in Russia, firming up their potential for use in small power grids in geographically fragmented markets such as the Philippines.

According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), the power barge Akademik Lomonosov—installed with two SMRs with a combined output of 64 megawatts—has started commercial operations, providing “much needed clean electricity and heat to this remote arctic community” of Pevek town in the Russian Far East.

“It is fantastic to see this innovative new floating nuclear power plant begin operating just in time for the winter celebrations,” WNA director general Agneta Rising said in a statement. Akademik Lomonosov, a project of state firm Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corp., replaced an old nuclear power plant as well as a coal-fired power plant that provided electricity to at least 50,000 people in the area.

To mark the occasion, electricity from the new facility was used to turn on Christmas tree lights in the town.

The London-based WNA said the pioneering SMRs represent “an important evolution in nuclear technology” as they complement large reactors since SMRs expand the range of useful nuclear applications.

“There are around 50 advanced nuclear technologies under development at the moment with many countries pursuing novel designs and seeking to use nuclear technology for new and exciting applications,” Rising said.

“Th[ese] may be the world’s first SMR, but many more will soon follow,” she added. “These smaller reactors are well-suited for supplying electricity to hard-to-reach regions as well as serving smaller grids and industrial centers.”

When Rosatom group launched Akademik Lomonosov from St. Petersburg in 2018, their director general Alexey Likhachev said they saw “great interest from all island nations where it is difficult, for various reasons, to set up a developed centralized power transmission infrastructure.”

Likhachev was alluding to archipelagos such as the Philippines, where Rosatom is working with the Duterte administration on studying the feasibility of building in this country onshore or offshore SMRs.

In November 2017, Rosatom signed with the Department of Energy (DOE) a memorandum of cooperation, which the DOE said would enable the country to come up with national policies for the development of safe and secure power generation practices through nuclear energy. INQ

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TAGS: eyes, generation, Nuclear, ph, power, reactors, small, use

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