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Small nuclear reactors won't avoid the problem of radioactive waste

Compared with existing reactors, small modular reactors would generate up to 5.5 times more spent nuclear fuel per unit of power

small nuclear reactor

Countries have spent decades trying to build underground storage facilities for nuclear waste.

The world needs abundant, carbon-free power, and advanced nuclear reactors for years have promised an attractive source of that, as well as a supplement to intermittent renewable energy from the sun and wind. So-called small modular reactors (SMRs), which can generate up to a third of the power of existing gigawatt-scale plants, are promoted as less expensive and cumbersome than conventional light-water reactors. 

Regulatory and other barriers preventing their construction are substantial — and have eclipsed scrutiny of proponents’ claims about radioactive waste, according to new research published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The

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First Published: May 31 2022 | 10:11 AM IST

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