It is a small 70 MW reactor but works in a distributed system as Romania and the Czech Republic are planning for 2013. About the size of an outhouse.
Interesting quotes :
John R. “Grizz” Deal: Transportable, not portable. Once you put it in the ground, it’s there for its life because it’s hot. It’s about a meter-and-a-half across and about 2 meters tall, which is very small.
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“So how do you get dependable, base-load power? Wind is not base-load capable. Solar is certainly not base-load capable. They’re not always there. You can’t store electricity; you generate it and then you use it or lose it.”
Those people—and virtually every country in the world, to some extent—rely upon United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing as a basis for their own licensing. So we are seeking a design certification and a license from the U.S. NRC, even if we never install one in the U.S.
[Other countries] won’t rely on [NRC licensing] completely, but they will leverage that work.
So an NRC license will get you in the door?
John R. “Grizz” Deal: Right. It’s a lot like the FDA and how getting licensed in the [European Union] helps you in the U.S. and vice versa.”
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“…The difference here is it is really easy to build one computer chip, but it’s really hard to build a million of them because there’s quality control issues, there’s supplier issues, there’s raw material issues, so we’re doing that part of this so we can build—well, of version one, we expect to build 4,000 reactors.
Small or not, that’s a lot of reactors.
John R. “Grizz” Deal: The market opportunity is for half a million units today and it’s growing, so selling 4,000 units of our first design is a pretty reasonable goal. But we’ve still got to be very, very careful about how we get that final design done.
That’s what we’re doing now. We’re finalizing the design so that it’s repeatable, it’s replicatable and it’s got a high degree of quality control behind it because, quite honestly, unlike a lot of products out there, we are extremely regulated. You wouldn’t believe. And I’m glad that we’re highly regulated—it’s nuclear energy, after all; it should be highly regulated.
How tightly regulated is this technology?
John R. “Grizz” Deal: Just as highly regulated as the drug industry is the way that we put it. People are familiar with 20-year development cycles for biotech products. Well, we pre-empted the first 10 years of our quote-unquote product cycle because of the work that we’re leveraging from Los Alamos. So, if you wanted to make an analogy between the regulatory environment for nuclear reactors and a medical device or drug, you could say we’re getting ready to start clinical trials.
Do you have a working prototype?
John R. “Grizz” Deal: We’re leveraging the design of a very common reactor, called a TRIGA reactor. There are 60-something of those reactors around the world. They are the only reactor that the NRC has licensed for unattended operation, meaning it’s so safe that you can literally walk away from it. It’s walk-away safe.
So we’re taking that basic concept and …”