Small modular reactors expected to become focus of new nuclear development

The majority of today's nuclear power plants are made of large reactors that generate thousands of megawatts of energy, but it is expected small modular reactors will become the focus of the industry in the future, AOL Energy reported.

Christine Todd Whitman, the Clean and Safe Energy co-chair, told the news sources the smaller reactors will take precedence over the large-scale power plants, many of which are nearing the end of their designed lives. AOL reported that shutting these old plants down could be difficult if not impossible for the power grid to handle, and many are looking to extend operating licenses to keep the large reactors online.

However, the SMRs {not clear}, which wouldn't be larger than 13 feet in diameter, could be constructed at existing factories and "plugged in," the article stated. These reactors would have a fuel life cycle of four years, and could be easily replaced at that time.

According to the International Energy Agency, as developed countries discuss decreasing their nuclear power output, developing countries are looking to construct their first nuclear reactors in the next decade or so. Global Post reported that the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan and Vietnam have all either broken ground on constructing the units or are in the midst of designing plans to do so. The IEA said developing countries like these could account for all new global nuclear power generation by 2035.

PennEnergy's research area offers details on the global nuclear power output.

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