Russian Nuclear Incident Reveals Small Modular Reactor

There’s an adage we’re all familiar with: Those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. Well, six months shy of twenty years into this new millennium, and “Those” can be substituted for the Russian government when it comes to nuclear technology. By now anyone with a cell phone or eyes to read a newspaper knows about the failed nuclear test in Sarov, a closed Russian city near the White Sea. Sarov is one of Russia’s many test cities—an entire walled-off encampment in which the Russian state nuclear agency Rosatom, frequently conducts nuclear activities that quickly fall under the shadow of one of the world’s least transparent governments. Unsurprisingly, little information has come forth in the nearly two weeks since the incident—including a death toll that was rescinded and then republished beneath a tidal wave of international skepticism.

While we know very little about what occurred—rumors have abounded of visible explosions in the dead of night, radiation spikes on the screens of global nuclear watchdog organizations run on iodine in surrounding towns (iodine is believed to lessen the thyroid gland’s ability to absorb radiation), a fleet of gas masks being shipped in on carefully concealed trucks bearing governmental seals, and most unnerving, the allusion of the whole affair to the nefarious and shadow-like Skyfall missile project—a cruise missile with unlimited range courtesy of a nuclear engine. The Russian government has naturally denied everything, insisting the incident was a scientific experiment that failed. Eerily enough, this was nearly verbatim to their Chernobyl response until it became impossible to conceal the abhorrent truth any longer. We’re hoping that this time, that moment for the world doesn’t come when the sky is falling—and a warhead at its arrow-point.

One thing we do know for certain is that the incident, whatever it was, involved the use of a small modular nuclear reactor. As a digital instrumentation manufacturer with forty-five years of melding our technology to progressive applications, and most recently within the nuclear industry, Otek is keenly interested in SMR’s. Even for, at its very base level, the enormous technological potentialities these compact little marvels may hold for our future.

Small modular reactors (SMRs) are defined as nuclear reactors generally 300MWe equivalent or less, designed with modular technology using module factory fabrication, pursuing economies of series production and short construction times. In our era of politically-inflamed tensions at the very word nuclear, and especially when common complaints of plant costs and building time arise at every turn or regulatory meeting, the minuscule presence, self-efficiency, and fluid construction planning of these SMR’s would fill a much-needed void within the industry.

In the western world, and driven primarily by private companies, SMR’s are part of a new wave of technological progression falling across the nuclear industry. As a Class 1E Appendix B company, Otek has engineered our patented instrumentation to meet the rising challenge of analog obsolescence—our Plug & Play ideology means that using our two most popular meters the NTM and SSAM, we replace obsolete analog technology one by one or all at once using the same wiring and operators you’ve always worked with, all with the ease of unplugging the past and plugging in Otek.

We can’t speak for Mr. Putin and whatever clandestine proliferation he’s playing within the dark—but we can speak for our effort to get the American nuclear industry back to preeminence within this country and beyond.

Interested in how we’re doing that? Feel free to give us a call at 520-748-7900 or send our sales team an email at