First small modular reactors open a new world of applications

For immediate release: 19 December 2019

The two barge-mounted reactors onboard Akademik Lomonosov have started providing electricity to the coastal town of Pevek in Russia. This marks the official start of operations for the world’s first small modular reactors and makes today a historic one for the global nuclear industry.

World Nuclear Association Director General Agneta Rising warmly welcomed the news, “It is fantastic to see this innovative new floating nuclear power plant begin operating just in time for the winter celebrations. It will provide much needed clean electricity and heat to this remote arctic community.”

In celebration of the accomplishment and in preparation for the New Year, Christmas tree lights were switched on using electricity from the reactors. The plant will be linked up to the local district heating network sometime in 2020. While the two reactors with a combined output of 64 megawatts represent only a small addition to global nuclear generating capacity, they mark an important evolution in nuclear technology.

Large reactors and SMRs are not so much competing technologies as complementary partners. Large reactors produce huge amounts of reliable, low-cost, low-carbon electricity while SMRs expand the range of useful nuclear applications.

Rising continued, “There are around 50 advanced nuclear technologies under development at the moment with many countries pursuing novel designs and seeking to use nuclear technology for new and exciting applications. This may be the world’s first SMR, but many more will soon follow. These smaller reactors are well-suited for supplying electricity to hard-to-reach regions as well as serving smaller grids and industrial centres. We are at the dawn of a new era in nuclear technology.”

Notes to Editors

Image credit: Rosenergoatom

World Nuclear Association is the international organisation that represents the global nuclear industry. Its mission is to promote a wider understanding of nuclear energy among key international influencers by producing authoritative information, developing common industry positions, and contributing to the energy debate, as well as to pave the way for expanding nuclear business.

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