A question came up on WUWT, about the small nuclear power plants (around 20 to 50 MW).
“. . . a bit ago there was a mention of micro-nuclear power plants. is there anything more for or against that you could recommend? or I am I just making too much of popular reporting.”
Any micro-nuclear power plant must be approved and receive a license for construction and operation from the NRC. From NRC’s website,
“The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was created as an independent agency by Congress in 1974 to enable the nation to safely use radioactive materials for beneficial civilian purposes while ensuring that people and the environment are protected. The NRC regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements.”
“The Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, requires that civilian uses of nuclear materials and facilities be licensed, and it empowers the NRC to establish by rule or order, and to enforce, such standards to govern these uses as “the Commission may deem necessary or desirable in order to protect health and safety and minimize danger to life or property.” ”
Getting a micro-nuke design approved and licensed would take years, if such approval were ever issued, and ensuring the public safety from one of those would pose serious problems. To me, about the only good thing about a 1200 MW nuclear power plant is that it is huge, heavy, all in one place, and can be guarded fairly easily. The suitcase-sized micro-nukes are likely never to meet the NRC standards for protection of public health and safety, and danger to life or property, and as such are very likely just a dream. I may be proven wrong, but nuclear fissionable materials are just too dangerous to ever be allowed to proliferate as micro-nuclear proponents would like.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.