No Minister

One Energy Future

with 6 comments

For the last few years I’ve been following the bureaucratic twists and turns that the company NuScale has been following in Amercia as it tried to get approval for a new type of nuclear reactor.

As smart and as sensible as their approach seemed I did wonder if they’d ever make it through or whether this would turn into yet another case of a startup company bankrupted by the government.

It would seem not. US regulators will certify first small nuclear reactor design:

On Friday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that it would be issuing a certification to a new nuclear reactor design, making it just the seventh that has been approved for use in the US.

But in some ways, it’s a first: the design, from a company called NuScale, is a small modular reactor that can be constructed at a central facility and then moved to the site where it will be operated.

That’s what so unique and clever about this machine. It’s built in a factory, shipped to where the power is needed and, when the fuel is exhausted, shipped back to the same factory where it is disassembled, the nuclear fuel re-processed, with unused fuel recovered and radioactive by-products stored. Much of each machine can also be re-used for new reactors.

Aside from this rather clever, holistic concept, these reactors are also designed to be passively safe: no operator actions are necessary to shut the reactor down if problems occur. Having said that it’s not as clever as things like Molten Salt Reactors (molten uranium salts as the reactor fuel); it’s still has uranium rods, control rods and boiling water as the energy transport mechanism.

Still, the whole “Buy it, install it, run it, return it when used” may make a difference in a lot of places around the world.

But not New Zealand I’m sure. Imagine what Lucy Lawless would have to say. Mind you, multi-millionaires, especially the frivolous creatures of Hollywood, are freed from the cares of much of the rest of the world, which is why she’s so keen on growing vegetables in Remuera.


Written by Tom Hunter

August 1, 2022 at 6:45 pm

6 Responses

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  1. New Zealand’s attitude toward nuclear power is luxury virtual signal that condemns the most vulnerable in society to energy poverty.


    August 1, 2022 at 7:45 pm

    • Well it wouldn’t if we were sensible about the totality of our energy sources.

      Meaning the 80% hydro that we started with, plus supplements from a gas-fired Huntly, plus a handful of the wind farms just to keep the squawking Greens somewhat at bay.

      Sadly though, that is likely not what’s going to happen. If National/ACT keep Huntly open and burning coal I expect them to fold like a cheap suit if Luxon’s pulled into a debate with Lucy Lawless and hosted by John Campbell. Even if Luxon wins on logic – and that’s making the huge assumption that he’s not 95% with them on this issue – he’ll lose when they both burst into tears about the prospect of Mother Earth in flames.

      Tom Hunter

      August 1, 2022 at 8:06 pm

      • Possibly not Tom, all he would have to do is some basic economics on the relative price of her rhubarb, mention the swimming pool, mention buying up the neighbours land, and you could make her look like a rich elitist in 2 seconds flat.

        So Lucy taking your actions to its logical conclusion New Zealanders should buy up their neighbours property, build a swimming pool, and plant greens all over the rest.

        I can see that working a treat in Naenae.

        Surely even Luxie could draw that picture, although Hawaii could be a weak point for him.


        August 1, 2022 at 10:07 pm

      • New Zealanders should buy up their neighbours property, build a swimming pool, and plant greens all over the rest.

        Only some New Zealanders, rossco. By contrast has a completely different take on a cancelled development just 15 minutes drive away, of 17 houses placed where there were two as being Wealthy Aucklanders halt townhouses ‘not in keeping’ with their front yards.

        Meow! You want to read the comments. Want to bet none of the harshest critics of NIMBYISM have any problem with the fabulous Lucy’s use of land in the city?

        Tom Hunter

        August 1, 2022 at 10:37 pm

  2. Color me surprised. Never thought it would get any firm if approval.

    Porky Roebuck

    August 1, 2022 at 9:24 pm

  3. Interesting company history, interesting technology but a ways to go yet.

    America is behind the other 4 giants of nuclear energy so will be interesting to see if they can catch up.


    August 1, 2022 at 9:59 pm

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