- By Chris Reed -
After the State of the Union address, Energy Secretary Steven Chu hosted the Department of Energy's inaugural Energy Matters live chat on Wednesday to discuss President Obama's clean energy and innovation agenda.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked a question about small modular reactors and as it turns out, he is a “big fan”. He also mentions in this video of the discussion, that he would like to see the United States lead in developing this technology since other countries have taken the lead for the larger nuclear power plant reactor designs.
Wednesday's online town hall kicked off a new year-long series called Energy Matters, in which experts from the DOE will talk about issues people have asked to hear more about, and answer questions in a live online forum.
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Small modular reactors are very likely to be nothing more than a niche product. It's actually discouraging to see this, because what we really need is a massive building program of the current designs. China is looking to build plants with 6 EPR's (~ 10 GW). That is the way to really get off fossil fuels. Some of the attraction to small modular plants is I think just because they are not the 'same old' nuclear plants that a lot of people have decided are 'bad'. I am a fan of SMR, but not at the expense of getting on with it and building some large plants. I think many of the cost issues with these reactors will decrease substantially when we are building multiple units at multiple sites with the same design over and over.