skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: Site Suitability and Hazard Assessment Guide for Small Modular Reactors

Commercial nuclear reactor projects in the U.S. have traditionally employed large light water reactors (LWR) to generate regional supplies of electricity. Although large LWRs have consistently dominated commercial nuclear markets both domestically and abroad, the concept of small modular reactors (SMRs) capable of producing between 30 MW(t) and 900 MW(t) to generating steam for electricity is not new. Nor is the idea of locating small nuclear reactors in close proximity to and in physical connection with industrial processes to provide a long-term source of thermal energy. Growing problems associated continued use of fossil fuels and enhancements in efficiency and safety because of recent advancements in reactor technology suggest that the likelihood of near-term SMR technology(s) deployment at multiple locations within the United States is growing. Many different types of SMR technology are viable for siting in the domestic commercial energy market. However, the potential application of a particular proprietary SMR design will vary according to the target heat end-use application and the site upon which it is proposed to be located. Reactor heat applications most commonly referenced in connection with the SMR market include electric power production, district heating, desalinization, and the supply of thermal energy to various processes thatmore » require high temperature over long time periods, or a combination thereof. Indeed, the modular construction, reliability and long operational life purported to be associated with some SMR concepts now being discussed may offer flexibility and benefits no other technology can offer. Effective siting is one of the many early challenges that face a proposed SMR installation project. Site-specific factors dealing with support to facility construction and operation, risks to the plant and the surrounding area, and the consequences subsequent to those risks must be fully identified, analyzed, and possibly mitigated before a license will be granted to construct and operate a nuclear facility. Examples of significant site-related concerns include area geotechnical and geological hazard properties, local climatology and meteorology, water resource availability, the vulnerability of surrounding populations and the environmental to adverse effects in the unlikely event of radionuclide release, the socioeconomic impacts of SMR plant installation and the effects it has on aesthetics, proximity to energy use customers, the topography and area infrastructure that affect plant constructability and security, and concerns related to the transport, installation, operation and decommissioning of major plant components.« less
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Idaho National Laboratory (INL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS Electric Power Research Institute; Guide to Assessing; Hazards; high temperature gas-cooled reactor; light water reactor; Next Generation Nuclear Plant; small modular reactor; SMR