a new combination including non- proliferation features, undergrounding, limited separations, and long-term, but temporary, storage of reactor products also underground. All these ideas are intended to make the plant economical, resistant to terrorist activities, and conserve resources in order to be available to greatly expand nuclear power if needed as envisioned by Generation IV reactor requirements.
Past research suggested that cost of excavating underground facilities would be higher than building conventional facilities, but these studies looked at excavations to depths of more than 300 feet, far more than would be required to obtain the safety and security advantages of underground nuclear placement. When a silo type structure is used to house smaller underground reactor, a relatively small area would need to be excavated. In addition, the use of salt domes and other salt formations was not considered by past studies of underground nuclear placement, despite the low cost of underground salt excavation, and the widespread extent of underground salt formations.
# Higher Resistance to...
– Terrorist attack
– Aircraft impacts
– Sabotage and vandalism
– Conventional warfare effects
# Higher Levels of...
– Protection against severe weather effects
– Landscape aesthetics
# Greater containment capability relative to a surface-sited plant...
– Reduced public health impacts from extreme hypothetical accidents