Ed Note: A followup to yesterday’s article Uranium Bottoming – China buying Unprecedented Amounts
A New Paradigm for Power Generation
This Plant will Power
- 20,000+ American-style homes, or a …
- Large hospital complex
- Entire government complex
- Irrigation systems
- Water treatment & distribution site
- Waste – sewage facility
- Heavy oil recovery
- Refugee community
- Emergency – disaster response center
- Military installation
- University or college
- Mining or drilling operation
- Industrial center or factory
- Corporate data centers
- And more
Small & Modular nuclear power Reactors (SMRs)
That “smaller solution” is the category of power reactors known as Small & Modular nuclear power Reactors (SMRs). The history of SMRs is about as long as the commercial use of large nuclear power plants. The fuels and technology included in today’s SMR designs have been studied for over 50 years, and some units went online decades ago. SMRs provide the benefits of larger nuclear power plants – clean, continuous, reliable energy with no greenhouse gas emissions – yet they require very little space in which to operate. SMRs can be transported to sites and engaged.
June 14, 2010 – Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: AEHI) – today announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with New Mexico-based Hyperion Power Generation, Inc. The MOU is the beginning of a joint venture between the two companies to license, build and market Hyperion’s refrigerator-sized modular nuclear reactors on a world-wide basis.
From Energy Wise:
Some companies, though, have an alternative to the large-scale, 1,200 megawatt-and-up monsters that are running into such opposition. The small modular reactor, delivering only 25 MW of power for eight or 10 years before being replaced, could come before the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for approval this year. The output will be enough to power about 20,000 homes.
Hyperion Power Generation is one such company, having revealed last year the design for its Hyperion Power Module. Using a liquid metal cooling design (specifically, lead-bismuth eutectic), the 1.5 meter wide and 2.5 meter high reactor would be shipped to customers fully sealed, and shipped back in the same state a decade later, not requiring any refueling or storing of nuclear waste. Of course, if they really start delivering on the reported 150-plus purchase agreements already in place, that means a whole lot of nuclear material being shipped around the country, even in small and supposedly sealed amounts.
Other nuclear players are also reportedly getting in on the act, from french company Areva to Toshiba and its subsidiary Westinghouse. The small reactors, intended for hard-to-reach locales, military bases, factories or anything else that might not get connected to the traditional power grid easily, will come with substantially reduced price tags compared to traditional nuclear projects. Instead of, say, a $3 billion estimate that likely gets bumped up by a factor of two or three by the time it is completed, Hyperion will ask $50 million.
A visit to their web site tells us that Hyperion Power Generation Incorporated (HPG) are the owners of this small, non-weapons grade nuclear power reactor. Invented by Dr. Otis “Pete” Peterson, in New Mexico, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory which was established in1943. HPG was awarded the exclusive license to utilize the intellectual property and develop a product that will benefit the U.S. economy and global society as a whole.
Before we get too excited they go to say that:
“The next multi-million dollar phase of work on the development of Hyperion, underwritten by private investors”
Altira Group LLC has provided the investment funds required by HPG out of the recently closed Altira Technology Fund V — a $176 Million fund focused on venture capital for energy technologies.
So it looks as though we do not have an investment opportunity at the moment however they may go public somewhere down the line.
This concept was originally conceived as a clean, affordable solution to power mining and industrial operations such as the retorting of oil sands and shale. Other applications and requests for modules now come in daily from around the globe. This takes us back to our original question in wondering just how long it will be before we can all be reasonably independent in terms of our energy needs. As we were rather curious about this idea we put a few questions to Hyperion and received the following answers as listed below from Deborah Deal Blackwell, APR Vice President, Licensing & Public Affairs
Q1 How long will it be before it is available on a commercial basis?
A1 shooting for 2013
Q2 What power generating capacity does it have?
A2 225 MW electric – 70 MW thermal
Q3 How much uranium will it use?
A3 Not much. The whole thing is no bigger than a hot tub
Q4 How many of these plants do you expect to build worldwide etc?
A4 4,000 of the first design
Q5 How much do they cost?
A5 Based on material prices today, we are looking at an initial price of $25 million per module.
Q6 Please have a guess at how much uranium 4000 would use?
A6 Fuel will be a metal compound and we are still working out how much of it will be uranium – sorry, just can’t give you a better answer right now.
Q7 Can you see the day when each industrial facility would have their own unit?
A7 Yes, but at the rate the U.S. is going, it will be 20 years if not more. Ignorance, politics, red tape and just plain laziness is getting in the way of the U.S. making the advancements our country needs in the energy area. This country is moving too slow on reacting to climate change. Those of us in the nuclear industry who understand the key role that nuclear can play in battling climate change, need to form a cohesive bipartisan intense effort to educate the public and our elected officials. It’s all hands on deck!
I bet the French incorporate SMRs (small modular reactors) into their industrial infrastructure – and hopefully they will be our SMRs! – before the U.S. does. France apparently did a good job of pulling its people together to make energy independence through nuclear a national imperative. We need to do the same.
Q8 What about a mini version suitable for the residential market – I know we are pushing it here, but if you don’t have dreams they cant come true.
A8 Again, at least 25 years away in the U.S. because politics, and fear generated by ignorance in the general population is getting in the way.
Hyperion Power Generation have assembled a team of scientists and other capable professionals who intend to develop this product for all of the good uses that we can possibly imagine.
We certainly wish them every success in their endeavours and we will watch for future developments and possible investment opportunities regarding Hyperion.
Any comments? Please feel free to add them to this article.
Have a good one.
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