What’s all the fuss about?

When the UK Chancellor said in his autumn statement that there would be £250m for nuclear R&D including small modular reactors (SMRs), there was clearly something afoot, but what? The concept of small modular reactors has been around for many years. The idea, put at its simplest, is to seek to make small reactors (only a fifth of the size of those being planned by EDF for construction at Hinkley Point in the UK) competitive by building them in factories, to offset the apparent economies of scale of their larger cousins. Over the past forty years, nuclear reactors have grown bigger and bigger. Starting with outputs of around 500 MWe in the early 1970s, reactors grew to 900 MWe in 1980s and th

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