Saturday, November 13, 2010

Small nuclear nearing deployment?

Most of the barges that move through my part of the Ohio River carry coal. Most of that coal goes to power plants. I've wondered what the river would look like when the day comes that coal is replaced by other fuel sources. That would mean fewer boats on the river and the near-end of river traffic as we know it.

In my musings, I've wondered if smaller nuclear plants would replace large coal-burning plants someday. Perhaps that day is closer. According to this article , the Tennessee Valley Authority is looking at using smaller reactors built off site and shipped in to the plant site.

There's a line in the article that suggests these small reactors could someday replace coal-burning units at existing plants. That is, you remove the coal-burning equipment and plug one or more small reactors into the existing distribution grid.

Given how difficult it is to get permits for a new coal-fired plant nowadays, this might be one option IF getting a permit for a small nuclear facility is easier.

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