IAEA report updates progress on SMR projectsS. Himmelstein | November 15, 2020
The 2020 edition of the Advances in Small Modular Reactor Technology Developments booklet published by the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) compiles the latest data on small modular reactor (SMR) projects worldwide. The information is intended to help countries identify reactor designs appropriate for their needs in the quest for reliable, affordable energy sources to cut greenhouse gas emissions and drive sustainable development.
SMRs typically have a capacity of up to 300 MW and are built largely from prefabricated components assembled on site. The modular nature of these units also allows for scaling up capacity by adding units according to demand. SMRs may also be well suited to flexible operation in tandem with wind and other variable renewable energy sources and in applications for seawater desalination, district heating and hydrogen production.
Detailed descriptions of 72 reactors under development or construction in 18 countries are presented for different reactor systems. These include marine- and land-based water-cooled, high temperature gas-cooled, molten salt, fast neutron spectrum and micro-sized SMRs.
Notable technology milestones include the grid connection and commercial startup of the Akademik Lomonosov floating power unit in Russia with two-module KLT40S. Two industrial demonstration SMRs are now in advanced stages of construction: a small modular pressurized water reactor in Argentina and a high temperature gas-cooled reactor in China. Both are scheduled to start operation between 2021 and 2023.