One of the potential solutions to the challenges facing the nuclear industry with "large nuclear reactor" installations is the proposed concept of "small modular reactors and advanced modular reactors" (SMR/AMR), which are scaled-down, factory assembled, advanced modular reactors which can be readily transported to a NPP site and installed and achieve commissioning significantly faster, using less specialized equipment, labor and supply chains (e.g. significantly lower capital costs). SMR/AMRs are generally defined as advanced reactor units with a capacity of 300MWe or less per unit. Proponents of SMR/AMR technologies also advocate their ability to allow more countries and regions to access the benefits of nuclear power.
There is significant global interest in SMR/AMR technology (although the first land-based SMR/AMR reactor has yet to be put into commercial operations). SMR/AMR's may indeed be much more suitable nuclear generation technology in many energy markets and over a range of different applications. These small- and medium-sized reactors offer significantly more flexibility in comparison to traditional "large reactor" units. SMR/AMRs have the potential to be installed in locations where the electrical grid is less developed and may not be suitable for a "large reactor" which would require significant upgrades and investments in grid infrastructure. SMR/AMR's units can also be more readily deployed to replace similar capacity fossil fuel units. SMR/AMR units may also be installed in remote locations and directly within large industrial and mining areas to meet direct energy needs (or potentially on vessels as "floating generation units" as have already been deployed by Russia). In certain markets, SMR/AMR technologies, combined with emerging distributive grid technologies may be used as a preferred low-carbon generation technology to offset the intermittency of renewables generation.
SMR/AMRs can be deployed either as single units or can also be assembled in arrays of multiple units within a larger NPP installation (and can be cost effectively scaled-up over time). They may also be used for co-generation of electricity, heat and/ or cooling and/or may also be applied to water desalination.
The above arguments that SMR/AMRs units are much more flexible and faster and affordable to install than traditional large reactors units, indeed may render this new technology a very attractive generation alternative in many markets and applications around the world. The nuclear industry is hopeful that the first commercial SMR/AMR reference case will appear soon.
Like large reactor units, AMR/AMRs are designed as long-lived assets. Due to their standardized, modular designs, SMR/AMR installations are expected to be much less prone to the substantial delays and cost overrun performances in the large reactor segment. These units are also more conducive to streamlined regulatory approval process. In summary, SMR/AMR reactor units may also to be more attractive to a wider array of investors, lenders and financing institutions.
In the SMR/AMR nuclear generation segment, DCS provides expert advisory services in the following specific areas:
Within the nuclear power subsector, DCS experts maintain relationships with numerous related project consultants and participants including: both international and local legal advisors; technical, engineering and environmental/social advisors, economic/market consultants; contractors, vendors and technology providers; strategic and financial equity sponsors; lenders (including commercial lenders, Export Credit Agencies and Export-Import Banks (ECA/Ex-IMs), institutional lenders, bond funds and investment banks) and credit rating agencies (if necessary). We are always prepared and highly experienced in taking on a lead transaction advisory or project/program management role where we coordinate and manage (in some cases, procure and retain via subcontract) various technical, legal and other consultants required for the project. On behalf of our clients we are prepared and accustomed to leading and concluding negotiations with governmental/public sector or equity sponsors, contractors and venders, lenders, rating agencies and regulators, on behalf of our clients, as may be relevant for a given client project.
Please click on the below links to learn more about the specific services related to the nuclear power generation segment that DCS experts can offer:
DCS focuses on providing the above services in the nuclear power generation segment to the following categories of clients: