A smaller scale, exportable, lifelong proliferation-resistant â€śright-sized reactorâ€ť may be coming soon to a town or military base near you thanks to the efforts of a Sandia research team led by Tom Sanders (6063).
Tom has been collaborating with numerous Sandians on advancing the small reactor concept to an integrated design that incorporates intrinsic safeguards, security, and safety. This opens the way for possible exportation of the reactor to developing countries that do not have the infrastructure to support large power sources. The smaller reactor design decreases the potential of the countries to develop an advanced nuclear regulatory framework.
Incorporated into the design, says team member Gary Rochau (6771), is what is referred to as â€śnuke-star,â€ť an integrated monitoring system that provides the exporters of such technologies a means of assuring the safe, secure, and legitimate use of nuclear technology.
â€śThis small reactor would produce somewhere in the range of 100 to 300 megawatts of thermal power and could supply energy to remote areas and developing countries at lower costs and with a manufacturing turnaround period of two years as opposed to seven for its larger relatives,â€ť Tom says. â€śIt could also be a more practical means to implement nuclear base load capacity comparable to natural gas-fired generating stations and with more manageable financial demands than a conventional power plant.â€ť