SMRs: What do we Know?
Given that SMRs are being pushed in SWVA without educating the public on what nuclear means or its inherent risks, TCC would like to present a list of resources for you to read on the full story for SMRs, what they are, and where they will be located.
And while you're at it, consider signing our petition to Provide Public Input on Plan to Put Nuclear Reactors in SWVA.
What Are SMRs?
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, “small modular reactors (SMRs) are advanced nuclear reactors that have a power capacity of up to 300 MW(e) per unit...about one-third of the generating capacity of traditional nuclear power reactors.”
Unlike the traditional nuclear power plant which is used only to supply electricity to the grid, SMRs built to various size are being considered “for power generation, process heat, desalination, or other industrial uses.”
To quickly inform yourself on SMRs, their functionality, and their abundant risks, please feel free to download this cheat sheet with cited sources by Janet Keating. You may also download our own infographic that discusses our stance and why.
Proposed Locations for Nuclear Sites in SWVA
In May 2023, regional officials released a feasibility study outlining seven sites for potential nuclear reactors in Southwest Virginia. When the project was first proposed by Virginia Governor Youngkin, the public was assured that these SMRs would be put in remote places away from towns, homes, streams, and environmentally fragile locations. However, this feasibility study has shown that to not be the case. Several of the proposed sites for the SMRs near or in towns, neighborhoods, churches, and near crucial water sources. These videos below showcase the areas that are currently being considered. We urge you to watch them and see for yourself. The proposed sites are subject to change, but as of June 2023 these are the areas we are aware of.
Below are some articles on SMRs, research that has been conducted regarding them, and why this matters.
Small modular nuclear reactors: Unlikely, unaffordable, dirty and dangerous
The Appalachia Peace Education Center in Abingdon considers the small reactors a bad idea. Here’s why. Read more here: https://cardinalnews.org/2023/10/16/small-modular-nuclear-reactors-unlikely-unaffordable-dirty-and-dangerous/?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=School%20board%20races%20are%20becoming%20battlegrounds%20for%20national%20debates&utm_campaign=Monday%2C%20October%2016%2C%202023.
SMR Feasibility Study 2023
A study conducted by Virginia officials on the feasible locations for SMR placement in the LENOWISCO (Lee County, Norton County, Wise County, Scott County) area. Read more here: https://energy.virginia.gov/renewable-energy/documents/FINAL%20LENOWISCO%20SMR%20Feasibility%20Study%20-%20DEI%2020230520%20.pdf.
Stanford Research on Nuclear Waste
Stanford-led research finds small modular reactors will exacerbate challenges of highly radioactive nuclear waste. Read more here: https://news.stanford.edu/2022/05/30/small-modular-reactors-produce-high-levels-nuclear-waste/.
Virginia Mercury: What is an SMR?
Gov. Youngkin wants a small modular reactor. What exactly is that? Read more here: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2022/11/07/gov-youngkin-wants-a-small-modular-reactor-what-exactly-is-that/.
Virginia Mercury: Are SMRs Good for SWVA?
Small modular nuclear reactors: a good deal for Southwest Virginia? Read more here: https://www.virginiamercury.com/2023/02/16/small-modular-nuclear-reactors-a-good-deal-for-southwest-virginia/.
Cardinal News: SMRs are a Grand Experiment
A grand experiment is underway to direct clean energy companies to coal country. Read more here: https://cardinalnews.org/2023/04/12/a-grand-experiment-is-underway-to-direct-clean-energy-companies-to-coal-country/.
Experts Concerned about SW Virginia Nuclear Plant Placement
U.S. energy facts explained
The United States uses and produces many different types and sources of energy, which can be grouped into general categories such as primary and secondary, renewable and nonrenewable, and fossil fuels. Read more here: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/us-energy-facts/.