More nuclear reactors (SMRs): A bad investment for New Brunswick

The government of New Brunswick and the federal government of Canada committed 10s of millions to two SMR development projects on the Bay of Fundy next to Point Lepreau nuclear power plant. M.V. Ramana wrote an article for the New Brunswick Telegraph about this investment decision.

The proposed reactor technologies have a record of problems and commercial failures, which makes the investment decision questionable at best, are unlikely to succeed and will likely delay urgent climate action.

The first design, which is based on the Experimental Breeder reactor is a sodium cooled fast reactor. Reactors of this type have suffered severe accidents, including partial nuclear meltdowns at the EBR-1 and Fermi-1 power plant in the United States. The second design, called Moltex, is based on Reactors that were operating at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and only operated around 100 hours in less than four years, since the operations were interrupted 225 times due to various problems.

The authors of the article conclude that spending public money on unproven nuclear reactor concepts is a path to escalating power rates, long-term liabilities, delaying more immediate climate action, and complicating the growing radioactive waste legacy that will burden future generations.

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