Home > Economics > Nuclear is Small

Nuclear is Small

Silo Hall Plan View

1 GW Plant Fits Inside 3 Center Tanks of Ship

Nuclear power is one million times denser than fossil fuel. Not only does this mean that fuel requirements for a big power plant are measured in kilograms per day rather than thousands of tons per day; but it also means that, if you operate at low pressure, the plants can be small. The ThorCon reactor operates at near ambient pressure. ThorCon does not need much space. Nor does it consume a lot of resources. In fact, a 1 GWe ThorCon is so small that the nuclear island easily fits into three center tanks of the Hellespont Metropolis, and requires one-fourth as much steel as a very large tanker.

This steel requirement is roughly equivalent to a medium size, 125,000 dwt Suezmax tanker. Compared to a 1GWe ThorCon, the Suezmax requires more steel (23,000 tons vs 15,000) and is larger overall (270 m by 50 m by 23 m versus 150 x 30 x34). The ship’s structure is far more complex and subject to tougher loads. The Suezmax has far more coated surface. The Suezmax can move herself at 15 knots, survive a hurricane, and discharge her cargo in about a day. A good shipyard can profitably build a Suezmax for 60 million dollars.

A big shipyard can turn out 100 of these ships a year. It could easily manufacture 100 one GWe ThorCons per year.

In terms of resource requirements, a 1GWe ThorCon is not a big deal.

NEXT: Overnight Cost