Too late, too expensive - the SMR promise

Our report intends to dispel myths about small modular reactors (SMRs) providing cheap and clean energy fast. This is a hope shared by Bill Gates as well as many governments including Belgium, the US and China but our report arrives at a completely different conclusion.

Nuclear power plants currently operating are large for good reason: economies of scale. The US tried unsuccessfully to prove the opposite in the 1960s. At the time, they stopped experimenting with small reactors because it turned out that smaller size entails higher unit costs for both construction and operation.

Moreover, some SMR designs are not only expensive but also involve huge security risks, since they produce plutonium, which is highly valued by the arms industry. The primary aim of the already operating Russian and Chinese sodium cooled (or fast-neutron) breeder reactors is not electricity production but plutonium production.

The report also reveals why Mycle Schneider, the coordinator and publisher of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report thinks SMRs are not more than "PowerPoint reactors".