David Walters recent post on large verses small reactors also triggered a Brian Wang post on the small reactor business model. It is not simply that bloggers are talking about small reactors, but an increasingnumber of potential or actual manufacturers are announcing their intent to build small reactors. None of these reactors will be available until sometime in the next decade.
But in India that time came a generation ago and never left. Indian small reactors have been completely overlooked in the small reactor discussion, even though only India currently builds and markets advanced small reactors for electrical production. If you want to order a small reactor today, and be assured delivery before 2015, you will need to talk to the Indians. According to Hindu Business Line, NPCIL plans to market its small and mid size reactors to Kazakhstan, South-East Asian countries and African nations.
A proposal for reactor sales to Kazakhstan is already on the anvil, with discussions between NPCIL and the central Asian nation’s nuclear utility Kazatomprom at an advanced stage. According to Government sources, while feelers have also been received from South-East Asian countries, Kazakhstan is likely to be the first breakthrough.An unnamed official of NPCIL told Hindu Business Line,
India has been proactively exploring the possibility of exporting indigenous PHWRs to developing nations that are eyeing nuclear power generation but are constrained by small-sized electricity grids. . . . small size nuclear reactors are apt for countries that have small grids of around 10,000 MW. Use of large reactor units in case of countries having small grids could potentially lead to grid failures if even a single large unit shuts down at any point in time.
Besides, assembling clusters of 220 MWe reactors is projected to be more cost-effective than large-sized reactors from the US or Europe, officials said. Several Asean countries are reported to be eyeing the nuclear option, with Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand among those having announced plans to tap atomic energy in the future.
“Currently, India is perhaps the only country to have an actively working technology, design and infrastructure for manufacture of small reactors with a unit capacity of 220 MWe. These units have a great potential for exports, particularly to nations with small grids that are planning nuclear forays with relatively lower investment levels.”NPCIL has an expanding Internet presence. A downloadable brochure advertises the two reactors. Reportedly capital costs of small Indian Reactors may run as low as $0.90 per watt, but such cost estimates are based on prevailing Indian wage rates.