Business case analysis of Small Modular Reactors (SMR) for DoD assured power
Asch, Jeffrey J.
Brant, Gregory F.
Smith, Craig F.
Albright, Thomas L.
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Energy security through the establishment of microgrids is a national security issue that has garnered much research since the turn of the 21st century. Small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs) can be a viable option for Department of Defense (DOD) investment to further establish a microgrid concept for military installations. Such an application could enhance the benefits of a dedicated microgrid by providing assured power over unexpectedly long periods of disruption to external sources, and could also help stabilize the microgrid to better accommodate intermittent renewable energy sources. This study analyzes the business case for investment in SMR technology for energy security. Looking at the explicit costs and benefits of the investment using net present value (NPV) metrics can inform a policy maker's decision to invest in a project. Our analysis indicates the DOD should not invest in SMRs at this time. The technology lacks proof of concept and carries the risks associated with being an initial investor. The DOD should continue to pursue microgrid initiatives and keep SMRs under consideration while allowing private industry to further advance SMR technology.
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