Despite its much smaller size, the reactor will produce an expected 450 MWe, compared with 600 MWe at each of the two reactors at the existing Dungeness B plant in Kent.

And, as well as being cost … “Since this type of small modular reactor will be using the same fuel as conventional, large nuclear power plants, its spent fuel can be managed in the same way as that of large reactors,” Xerri said.

But, with all these advantages, there are some obstacles. Modern reactors come in sizes of greater than 1 gigawatt so huge sums of money need to be secured up front. A handful of microreactor designs are under development in the United States, and they could be ready to roll out within the next decade. The large variance we see in cost trends over time and across different countries – even with similar nuclear reactor technologies – suggests that cost drivers other than learning-by-doing have dominated the cost experience of nuclear power construction.

A small reactor to bring power to remote locations Nuclear is getting smaller … and it’s opening up some big opportunities for the industry. Firstly, from a technological point-of-view, we still do not know how to do it, at least not in cost-efficient way. Then, there are the costs. Factors such as utility structure, reactor size, regulatory regime, and international collaboration may play a larger effect. Media caption The BBC's Roger Harrabin explains how small nuclear reactors might work - using bags of rice.

Today, when we ask about the status of nuclear fusion research, we usually get an answer that fusion reactors will be available in the next 10 years.

The construction costs of nuclear energy are high compared to other sources – on the order of 2-6000 US dollar per kilowatt. And nuclear is a much more reliable energy source – for the same amount of fuel, nuclear produces much more energy than its carbon-based counterparts.

Transatomic claims their reactor will be capable of pumping out 500 megawatts for a total initial cost of about $1.7 billion.

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