OK, so you have to have a big backyard

Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes | Environment | The Observer

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. ‘Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,’ said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. ‘They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $2,500 per home.’

Deal claims to have more than 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries, but says the company is also targeting developing countries and isolated communities. ‘It’s leapfrog technology,’ he said.

The company plans to set up three factories to produce 4,000 plants between 2013 and 2023. ‘We already have a pipeline for 100 reactors, and we are taking our time to tool up to mass-produce this reactor.’

The first confirmed order came from TES, a Czech infrastructure company specialising in water plants and power plants. ‘They ordered six units and optioned a further 12. We are very sure of their capability to purchase,’ said Deal. The first one, he said, would be installed in Romania. ‘We now have a six-year waiting list. We are in talks with developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas.’

I’m a little concerned about how they get from a $25M reactor generating 25MWe to 10 cents a watt, which last time I looked was $250M for 25MWe. Perhaps someone just mistranslated, and the actual unit was kilowatt-hour, which might make a little more sense. (Back of the envelope for that says 2.19e8 kilowatt-hours per year from 25MWe, for which 10 cents a kilowatt hour would be 2.19e7, or just about $22 mil a year. Financing costs for the reactor can’t be much more than $5M a year, so that leaves a pretty big chunk for operating expenses, but then power grids aren’t cheap, so what do I know.) Maybe they’re flimflamming, maybe the reporting just sucks.

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