21st Century Civilian Nuclear Power and the Role of Small Modular Reactors.
Abstract: Nuclear power provides benefits, such as reduced carbon emissions,
low operating costs, baseload power, and energy independence. It also raises significant
concerns regarding capital cost, safety, regulation, waste, public perception and
proliferation. Recently there has been renewed interest in nuclear power due to small
modular reactors (SMRs), that some argue could bring a ... read more"renaissance" of the industry. This
thesis first presents an analysis of large-scale nuclear power focusing on benefits and
concerns, and then examines the new SMR trend. It assesses whether SMRs are a game-changer
for the industry towards nuclear resurgence by analyzing promising models and perceived
benefits and costs of SMRs. Based on extensive literature review, 22 expert interviews and
economic modeling, the conclusion is that nuclear power as an energy source should be
pursued as part of a larger energy portfolio with specific government intervention, while
SMRs, although likely not game-changers per se, can play a complementary role in
re-inventing the industry without significant support from policy-makers.
Thesis (M.A.)--Tufts University, 2011.
Submitted to the Dept. of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning.
Advisor: Ann Rappaport.
Committee: Bruce Everett.
Keywords: Energy, Economics, and Environmental Studies.read less