Quantitative and Qualitative Comparison of Light Water and Advanced Small Modular Reactors

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In recent years, several small modular reactor (SMR) designs have been developed. These nuclear power plants (NPPs) not only offer a small power size (less than 300 MWe), a reduced spatial footprint, and modularized compact designs fabricated in factories and transported to the intended sites, but also passive safety features. Some light water (LW)-SMRs have already been granted by Department of Energy: NuScale and mPower. New LW-SMRs are mainly inspired by the early LW-SMRs (such as process-inherent ultimate safety (PIUS), international reactor innovative and secure (IRIS), and safe integral reactor (SIR)). LW-SMRs employ significantly fewer components to decrease costs and increase simplicity of design. However, new physical challenges have appeared with these changes. At the same time, advanced SMR (ADV-SMR) designs (such as PBMR, MHR Antares, Prism, 4S, and Hyperion) are being developed that have improved passive safety and other features. This paper quantitatively and qualitatively compares most of the LW- and ADV-SMRs with respect to reactors, nuclear fuel, containment, reactor coolant systems, refueling, and emergency coolant systems. Economic and financing evaluations are also included in the paper. The detailed comparisons in this paper elucidate that one reactor is not superior to the others analyzed in this study, as each reactor is designed to meet different needs.