Toshiba will start shipping a micro-sized nuclear reactor for use by small towns or individual buildings later this year. In fact, the company intends to use old HD DVD player parts in the reactor’s construction.
Actually, the latter statement isn’t true, but Toshiba has really, truly developed a small nuclear reactor for commercial use. I’m a little dubious about this concept and I’m sure that if U.S. government does not want Iran to have a nuclear reactor, I think it would have a little trouble with the idea of an office-building owner deciding to install one in his basement.
However, Toshiba thinks reactors for all is a great idea. The 20-foot by 6-foot device is intended to power buildings or possibly neighborhoods. The company claims the 200-kilowatt reactor is fail-safe, cannot overheat and is fully automated.
Toshiba is so certain of this technology that its roadmap has the reactors coming to market this year in Japan and to America and Europe in 2009. Cost wasn’t mentioned, but the reactor will generate power at about half the cost of what can be purchased off the grid, the company said.
While I am all for finding ways to get our nation off of oil, including building large, safe, well-staffed nuclear power plants, I am more then a bit wary of having reactors scattered about the landscape. After all, who would maintain them and what would Al Qaeda do with something like this?
The guys running my office building’s environmental systems cannot manage to keep the air temperature comfortable, so I imagine it would take about a week before they managed to create a China Syndrome-level disaster in the basement.