A Nuclear Power Plant Proposal for Singapore

5 December 2008

Singapore is too small to have a Nuclear Power Plant. “We must have the power plant located at least 30 km away from populated area”, said our Minister Mentor, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, in a recent presentation on 5 November 2008. This article will introduce a nuclear power plant option that we can use safely in Singapore.

What is this Option?
The mini or miniature nuclear power plant (MNPP) that can be installed underground and underneath each and every HDB block. These MNPPs will not have the Chernobyl effect nor will they require the 30 km clearance rule.

What are these MNPPs ?
The MNPPs are small and self contained nuclear power generating plants that have mini or miniature or even micro reactors. The smallest reactor is about the size of a bath room (about 12 m2) and the largest, about the size of a badminton court (about 50 m2).

They can supply electricity from 200 kw, enough for a HDB block to about 45 MW, enough for 45,000 homes in Ang Mo Kio New Town. Together with other ancillary equipment such as steam turbines and generators, a 50 MW MNPP may need a space as big as a JTC factory or about 1,500 m2.

The advantage of MNPP is that the whole plant can be buried underground as shown attached.

The complete reactor unit can be manufactured in a factory, then shipped to site and then returned back to the factory for refueling.

The testing model is said to contain no cooling tower with minimum maintenance requirement. The residual or excess steam can be vented into the outer shell, where it will condense into water that can be collected and recirculated to cool the core. It would use no primary water pumps.

How Long will the Fuel last before next refueling?
Each reactor has a fuel supply for 7 to 10 years. The refueling can be done in the factory. The 200 kw Toshiba unit claimed to have a fuel supply of 40 years for a single block of building.

How Safe are these MNPPs?
According to manufacturer’s claim, the reactor is designed based on a 50-year-old design that has been proven to be safe for the students to use. They expect little objection from the countries to use the MNPPs.

What are the Expected Installation requirement ?
The MNPP can be installed underground and underneath any building.

The depth at where the reactor to be located will depend on the explosion power of the nuclear reactor. Toshiba recommended the reactor be buried 30 meters under ground in a sealed container so that it would not be easily reached by earth moving equipment.

The reactor is expected to be surrounded by strong layers of steel, lead, and concrete in order to protect their operators from excessive radiation levels.

What about cost ?
The Chief Executive of Hyperion, who has about 100 orders, said "Our goal is to generate electricity for US 10 cents a kilowatt-hr anywhere in the world". MNPP will cost approximately US$25m each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable US$2,500 per home.

When can we expect to use MNPP?
The MNPP is presently being developed and tested in US and in UK and would become commercially available in year 2015. In UK, Hyperion (Now changed to Gen4Energy) planned to set up three factories to produce 4,000 MNPP between 2013 and 2023. They have a pipeline for 100 MNPPs with a 6-year waiting list.

MNPP Accidents
MNPP was first used in the US in early 50s. Then most MNPP were above ground. In 1961, there was an accident happened in a facility, located at the National Reactor Testing Station approximately forty miles (60 km) west of Idaho Falls, Idaho. 2 people were killed and about 22 people were exposed to some radiations. The MNPP were subsequently buried to contain the damage.

Update:  13 May 2014

There are now 8 suppliers to choose from

Update: March 2016

1.  Development of Samll Modular Reactors

United Kingdom

In 2016 it was reported that the UK Government was assessing sites for deploying SMRs in Wales - including the former Trawsfynydd nuclear power station - and on the site of former nuclear or coal-fired power stations in Northern England. Existing nuclear sites including Bradwell, Hartlepool, Heysham, Oldbury, Sizewell, Sellafield and Wylfa are thought to be possibilities.[9]

United States

The Tennessee Valley Authority announced it will be submitting an Early Site Permit Application (ESPA) to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May 2016 for potentially siting an SMR at its Clinch River Site in Tennessee. This ESPA would be valid for up to 20 years, and addresses site safety, environmental protection and emergency preparedness associated. TVA has not made a technology selection so this ESPA would be applicable for any of the light-water reactor SMR designs under development in the United States. [10]
The Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) announced a teaming partnership with Energy Northwest to explore siting a NuScale Power reactor in Idaho, possibly on the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory.[11]
The Galena Nuclear Power Plant in Galena, Alaska was a proposed micro nuclear reactor installation intended to reduce the costs and environmental pollution required to power the town. It was a potential deployment for the Toshiba 4S reactor.

2.   Toshiba 4S

Related article

1. Safe, modular, scalable nuclear power generation
2. Clean, Safe, Affordable Power
3. The US's First Nuclear Accident
4. Toshiba's Small Fast Reactor 4S (10 MW)
5. Toshiba Builds 100x Small Micro Nuclear Reactors
6. Nuclear Power Generating in Singapore

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