OPINION: Small modular nuclear is not viable

DEAR News Of The Area,

I reject the notion that small modular nuclear reactors (SMR) are a viable power source (NOTA January 25).

There are no units under construction in the western world and no design has been fully certified for construction.

In the United States, the only ‘viable’ SMR project – six 77MW reactors in Idaho – was finally terminated in November 2023, due to construction costs escalating from US$5.32 billion in November 2021 to US$9.3 billion in January 2023.

That’s US$20,000 per kW of installed capacity.

Furthermore, all SMRs will generate highly radioactive wastes including irradiated nuclear fuel, as well as low and intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning wastes.

Yet no scientifically suitable high-level radioactive waste repository has been found anywhere in the world that can guarantee secure containment of its inventory for the million years required for the highly radioactive fuel waste to decay.

So, effectively, every nuclear power plant becomes a default nuclear waste dump: a troubling waste management problem for the local community.

I do not want such hazardous wastes in our beautiful, natural Port Stephens region.

Let’s keep Port Stephens nuclear-free.

Kenneth HIGGS,
Raymond Terrace.

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