Six months after the SMR & Advanced Reactor Summit I attended in Atlanta, GA, (see this link for 2017 info) the UK is offering its own SMR Summit on October 18-19 in London. You can see my remarks about the Atlanta summit here and here.
It should be no surprise to any of my readers that I’m enthusiastic about these summits. Small Modular Reactors are the cutting edge of the future of clean energy—scalable, safe, useful in just about any area, and able to bring much-needed electricity to remote and deprived parts of the world that have never seen it before. The modularity of the design also means the potential for assembly-line production, which stands to eliminate the long, individualized approvals process that currently makes the whole business of establishing a nuclear plant so challenging.
The London conference will demand stamina—two days with full schedules from 8:45am-6pm and 8:45am-4pm! Speakers will include government officials and insiders from Nuclear big names such as Westinghouse, NuScale, Hitachi, Rolls Royce (yes, the one famous for ultra-luxury cars), and academics. Environmental groups are also represented. I have always maintained that well-designed nuclear reactors are better for the environment than any other source of energy, so I’ll be curious to see how the environmental discussion will be integrated at this conference.
The conference design allows for individual speakers, networking, and panel discussions. A criticism that sometimes comes up for events like this is that they are preaching to the choir. When I hear that type of criticism (usually directed at the nuclear industry), I tend to point out that the nuclear industry is an industry, and like any other industry, it grows and develops through collaboration and discussion among mutually interested and knowledgeable parties. Even controversial industries have to have groups of experts who share their findings periodically. Part of my job is to interpret these expert discussions and present them to a much broader readership—more of a mixed choir, so to speak.
It’s worth noting that the experts at this event will be covering both technical aspects and innovations in the area of SMRs and the bigger-picture issues involved with implementation of SMRs over the next fifteen years and beyond. The talk titles offer a tantalizing look into exciting prospects in both these areas, and beyond.