“Are Small Modular Reactors Europe’s Energy Salvation?”, Manuel Herrera (IAI, Italy) 

Nuclear power has never lived up to expectations due to its enormous development, construction and maintenance costs, as well as safety concerns. However, governments committed to ambitious climate change targets have taken a second look at it. In Europe, for instance, in January this year, the European Commission added nuclear power to the list of projects eligible for green financing and, in July, included it in its taxonomy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, meanwhile, has sent fossil fuel prices soaring and put energy security at the top of the political agenda in Europe. The nuclear industry believes it has the answer both for guaranteeing energy security in Europe and reducing greenhouse gas emissions: a new generation of small modular reactors (SMRs), designed to be cheaper, faster to build and less financially risky. The main differences between SMRs and classical nuclear power plants are the former’s smaller power output (typically less than 300 Mwe per unit) and modularity, which allows working in a more controllable environment and the standardisation of design, as well as shorter construction time

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