September 26, 2008

CEO of Hyperion Power Generation interviewed about the Uranium Hydride reactor

Techrockies has an interview with John Deal, the CEO of Hyperion Power Generation. Below are the highlights with some new information. Hyperion Power generation is trying to make a factory mass produced uranium hydride molten core reactor which will generate 70 MWt and 27-30MWe. Hyperion Power Generation plans to sell and build the first 4000 reactors over the first ten year period or less. [2013-2022] They have orders from Romania and Czechs and are now talking to developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas. 4,000 reactors over ten years is an average of 400 per year or 10-12 GW per year.

The market opportunity is for half a million units today and it's growing, so selling 4,000 units of our first design is a pretty reasonable goal. But we've still got to be very, very careful about how we get that final design done. That's what we're doing now. We're finalizing the design so that it's repeatable, it's replicatable and it's got a high degree of quality control behind it because, quite honestly, unlike a lot of products out there, we are extremely regulated.

The reactor will weigh fifteen to 20 tons, depending on whether you're measuring just the reactor itself or the cask—the container that we ship it in—as well. It was specifically designed to fit on the back of a flatbed truck because most of our customers are not going to have rail. It's about a meter-and-a-half across and about 2 meters tall.

It uses uranium hydride. UH3 is the chemical formula. Low-enriched, about 10 percent [uranium isotope]-235, the rest is U-238.

We're leveraging the design of a very common reactor, called a TRIGA reactor. There are 60-something of those reactors around the world. They are the only reactor that the NRC has licensed for unattended operation, meaning it's so safe that you can literally walk away from it. It's walk-away safe.

We've already signed up our first customers, Romania and the Czech Republic. They were looking at a very high infrastructure cost for an electric grid, but are now doing a distributed model.

Each reactor will last eight to 10 years. Unlike any other reactor design on the planet, there is no in-field refueling. We seal it at the factory, ship it out to the location, they use it for eight to 10 years, and then we go get it and take it back to our factory for refurbishing and refueling.

The waste that comes out of our reactor after powering 20,000 homes for 8-10 years is about the size of a football.

From a financial perspective, we're really very far along. We're going to get this out the door for less than $100 million.

Because of the way that energy financing works, we're not going to add inventory. You order it, you pre-pay for most of the cost, we manufacture it and then we deliver it within six to 12 months. That's how the financial mechanism works on the manufacturing side.

We ship in June of 2013, our first customer install. We will make that date.

Hyperion offers a 70% reduction in operating costs for extracting oil from oilshale (based on costs for field-generation of steam in oil-shale recovery operations), from $11 per million BTU for natural gas to $3 per million BTU for Hyperion. There will be 2 times less nuclear waste because the units have 10% burnup of the nuclear fuel.

Past updates on the Hyperion factory mass produced nuclear reactor and details of the the Triga reactor from which many of the safety features will be copied.

Another prior update on customer

The original patent is reviewed here

A pdf with most of the blog entries about Hyperion Power Generations reactor

Tsunami invisibility: Hiding structures like Oil Rigs from the effects of Waves

Laboratory experiments show that obstacles arranged in fluids in certain patterns can effectively make objects they surround invisible to waves. If it works as well in in scaled-up versions, it could lead to new ways to protect ocean-based platforms and coasts from devastating tsunamis. Credit: M. Farhat, S. Enoch, S. Guenneau and A.B. Movchan

Structures like oil rigs and seasteads could be made invisible to waves including tsunami waves by being ringed with the right obstacle pattern to send waves around.

Rather than building stronger ocean-based structures to withstand tsunamis, it might be easier to simply make the structures disappear. A collaboration of physicists from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Aix-Marseille Universite in France and the University of Liverpool in England have conducted laboratory experiments showing that it's possible to make type of dike that acts as an invisibility cloak that hides off-shore platforms from water waves. The principle is analogous to the optical invisibility cloaks that are currently a hot area of physics research.

An abstract for a related paper: Analytical and numerical analysis of lensing effect for linear surface water waves through a square array of nearly touching rigid square cylinders

This paper describes transport properties of linear water waves propagating within a square array of fixed square cylinders. The main focus is on achieving the conditions for all-angle-negative-refraction (AANR) thanks to anomalous dispersion in fluid-filled periodic structures. Of particular interest are two limit cases when either the edges or the vertices of the cylinders come close to touching. In the former case, the array can be approximated by a lattice of thin water channels (for which dispersion curves are given in closed form and thus frequencies at which AANR occurs) whereas in the latter case, the array behaves as a checkerboard with cells consisting either of water tanks or rigid cylinders (for which standing modes are given in closed form). The tools of choice for the present analysis are, on the one hand, the finite element method which solves numerically spectral problems in periodic media, and on the other hand, a two-scale asymptotic method which provides estimates of dispersion curves and associated eigenfields through a lattice approximation (namely thin water channels between rigid cylinders). Simple duality correspondences are found based on fourfold symmetry of square water checkerboards that allow us to get some insight into their spectra. Last, some numerical evidence is provided for water waves focusing with no astigmatism through such arrays, when they are of finite extent.

Tsunami invisibility cloaks wouldn't make structures disappear from sight, but they could manipulate ocean waves in ways that makes off-shore platforms, and possibly even coastlines and small islands, effectively invisible to tsunamis. If the scheme works as well in the real world as the lab-scale experiments suggest, a tsunami should be able to pass right by with little or no effect on anything hidden behind the cloak

Research work of Sebastien Guenneau who is one of the researchers.

Sebastien Guenneau's mainpage

Stefan Enoch's page

Carnival of Space Week 72

September 25, 2008

Superconducting Radiofrequency Cavities and the Emdrive Project

Operating at temperatures just above absolute zero, superconducting cavities accelerate bunches of electrons and positrons toward the detectors in a proposed international linear collider. Nine smooth cells, polished in all possible ways. Made of the purest niobium. Not a speck of dust or the slightest difference in shape. Superconducting when supercold Photo: Fermilab

Superconducting cavities are a key component of an enhanced version of the controversial Emdrive [electromagnetic drive].

Prototype C-band emdrive (The emdrive has been funded by China and could be a breakthrough in space and terrestrial propulsion or it is a one to two million dollar scientific mistake.) [by the cinderblock in the background it appears to be less one foot tall]

Effect of increased Q for the Emdrive

Q=50,000 (1st gen.) Static thrust=315 mN/kW Specific thrust at 3km/s=200mN/kW

Q=6,800,000 (supercond) Static thrust=42.8 N/kW Specific thrust at ??km/s=??N/kW

Q=5* 10**9 (supercond) Static thrust=31.5 kN/kW Specific thrust at 0.1km/s=8.8N/kW

Q=10**11 (supercond) Static thrust=630 kN/kW Specific thrust at 0.1km/s=??N/kW

SPR ltd is working on a superconducting demo which should be 100 times more powerful than the first version and provide 30 newtons of force instead of 315 milli-newtons. China is also building a large S-band thruster.

Superconducting radiofrequency (SCRF) cavities are also the main technology for a new international linear collider.

The main vehicle for SCRF technology is the cavity, a hollow structure that drives particles to higher energies. For the ILC, we will use roughly 16,000 metre-long nine-cell 1.3 GHz (gigahertz) niobium cavities. So far ILC scientists have achieved the target gradient goal in roughly a dozen cavities. “We have proven that the technology works,” says Cornell University’s Hasan Padamsee. “Now we need to improve the yield.” In some cases, ILC cavities have actually exceeded the
target goal and reached a gradient of 40 MV/m. Consistently reaching a gradient of 35 MV/m, however, in a large number of cavities remains a problem.

The European Commission has accepted to fund the ILC-HiGrade, or “International Linear Collider and High Gradient Superconducting RF-Cavities,” proposal within its Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) with five million Euros over the next four years. Under this contract, at least 24 superconducting cavities will be created to demonstrate the gradient feasibility for the ILC.

This kind of superconductivity cavity would be one thousand to twenty thousand times better than the crude superconducting demo that SPR ltd currently has. A very good nobium cavity could probably be created for $400,000 to 800,000 [converting the Euro price to dollars and increasing the cost for one instead of 24].

A 2002 study of superconducting cavity costs worked out to $100,000 per meter.

In the same 2002 presentation by Pierre Bauer, it appears that the maximum Q value is at least higher than 100 billion for certain kinds of nobium cooled to about 1 degree kelvin.

Possible research for higher Q cavities [2002 list]:
1) cavity manufacturing (“seam-less” techniques such as hydro-forming,…)
2) materials – e.g. replacing bulk Nb with Nb on Cu
3) surface resistance – e.g. understanding the surface chemistry that leads to low surface resistance, exploring materials which produce lower surface resistance,..etc
4) Higher gradients in view of a second stage in the same tunnel – e.g. pushing Nb to the absolute limit, exploring other materials such as Nb3Sn and NbN;

This dynamic test rig moved at 2 cm per second using the first generation emdrive. If the crude superconducting test system can be made to work then it should move the a heavier (ten tons instead of 100kg) dynamic test rig at 2 cm per second [the system loses energy with more speed].

A couple million dollars of equipment and labor at risk over two years to verify what could be a huge multi-trillion dollar breakthrough or a fairly cheap mistake (or something inbetween).

Superconducting Radio Frequency at wikipedia

It is commonplace for a 1.3 GHz niobium SRF resonant cavity at 1.8 Kelvin to obtain Q=5×10**10 [50 billion]. Such a very high Q resonator and its narrow bandwidth can then be exploited for a variety of applications. At present, none of the "high Tc" superconducting materials are suited for RF applications. Shortcomings of these materials arise due to their underlying physics as well as their bulk mechanical properties not being amenable to fabricating accelerator cavities.

China launches today the first of four modules for a chinese space station

September 25th, China successfully launched Shenzhou 7 for their first space walk and the first module of a space station.

The Shenzhou 7 spacecraft blasted off atop a Long March 2F rocket shortly after 9pm (2300 AEST) under clear night skies in northwestern China. The spacewalk by one of the astronauts is expected to take place either on Friday or Saturday.

Ming pao news has an original article on the plan for putting together the modules from four launches into a space station.

"Ming Pao - the Jiuquan Satellite Launch CUI Ji-jun, director of the Center recently revealed that this year the launch of manned spacecraft "God 7", "God 8" and "God 9" will be unmanned spacecraft, "God 10" would be a set People spacecraft, launched after the craft and the docking target, after the completion of docking will create space laboratory."

From NASA watch:

Shenzhou 7 will leave its free-flying Orbital Module in orbit as has been the case recent flights. Then, over the next several years, two unmanned Shenzhou flights 8 and 9 will be launched and will dock with the Shenzhou 7 orbital module. After that Shenzhou 10 will be launched with a crew and dock with the mini-space station. This would be a human-tended facility - not one with permanent inhabitants.

The history of China's Project 921 [space station project] is to culminate in orbiting of an 8-metric ton man-tended mini-space station. As of 2007 it was announced that Shenzhou 8 and 9 would be of this configuration, equipped with two docking ports. and launched in 2010. They would then be followed by the manned Shenzhou 10, which would presumably operate the station for a brief period. Then there would be another multi-year delay, with another small man-tended space station being launched in 2012.

September 24, 2008

US Energy Subsidies Updated

From a new Management Information Service analysis of US energy funding of all kinds from 1950-2006

Click on the images for a larger view.

Tax Policy
Tax policy includes special exemptions, allowances, deductions, credits, etc., related to the federal tax code.

Two types of federal expenditures associated with regulation were identified:
1) gains realized by energy businesses when they are exempt from federal requirements that raise costs or limit prices, and 2) costs of federal regulation that are borne by the general budget and not covered by fees charged to the regulated industries.

An example of the first type of regulatory incentive comes from the oil industry, which has benefited from:
- exemption from price controls (during their existence) of oil produced from “stripper wells”
- the two‐tier price control system, which was enacted as an incentive for the production of “new” oil the higher‐than‐average rate of return allowed on oil pipelines.
- The higher‐than‐average rate of return allowed on oil pipelines.

Research and Development
This type of incentive includes federal funding for research, development and demonstration programs. Of the $725 billion in total federal spending on energy since 1950, research and development funding comprised about 19 percent ($136 billion).

Market Activity
This incentive includes direct federal government involvement in the marketplace. Through 2006, federal market activity totaled $72 billion (10 percent of all energy incentives). Most of this market activity was to the benefit of hydroelectric power and, to a much smaller extent, the oil industry. Market intervention incentives for hydroelectric energy include the prorated costs of federal construction and operation of dams and transmission facilities.

Government Services
This category refers to all services traditionally and historically provided by the federal government without direct charge. For example, U.S. government policy is to provide ports and inland waterways as free public highways.

This category involves direct financial subsidies such as grants. Since 1950, direct federal grants and subsidies have played a very small role in energy policy, accounting for $300 million, a negligible fraction of total incentives.

For nuclear energy, federal disbursements are negative, meaning the industry pays more than it receives in disbursements as a result of the contributions the industry makes to the Nuclear Waste Trust Fund.

Click on the images for a larger view.

This site has previously looked at energy costs with externalities.

Deaths per TWH

Feed tariff support for renewable energy.

China Will Build Controversial Emdrive, experimental system should be ready by end of 2008

Wired reports that China will build the Controversial Emdrive.

UPDATE: The cost and details of superconducting radiofrequency cavities is examined and the potential if the emdrive works

This site has covered the Emdrive several times before, including the controversy, and the upside. A successful superconducting system would be most efficient at nulling out gravity (3 tons of lift per kilowatt).

Satellite Propulsion Research Ltd. (SPR), has constructed demonstration engines which he says produce thrust, using a tapering resonant cavity filled with microwaves. Roger Shawyer, the originator of the drive, is a scientist who has worked with radar and communication systems and was a program manager at European space company EADS Astrium; his work rests entirely on Einstein being right.

"NPU [Northwestern Polytechnical University] started their research program in June 2007, under the supervision of Professor Yang Juan. They have independently developed a mathematical simulation which shows unequivocally that a net force can be produced from a simple resonant tapered cavity," Shawyer tells DANGER ROOM. "The thrust levels predicted by this simulation are similar to those resulting from the SPR design software, and the SPR test results." NPU is "currently manufacturing" a "thruster" based on this theoretical work.

"I could confirm that our mathematical simulation gives the results Dr. Roger Shawyer told you. Now we are submitting our result to a journal. It is now under the consideration of the editor," Professor Yang adds. "We also developed a tapered cavity and are preparing an experiment which will be completed at the end of this year."

Independent confirmation would be a big deal -- though many will want to see it published in a peer-reviewed journal. Prof. Yang has plenty of experience in this type of area, having previously done work on microwave plasma thrusters, which use a resonant cavity to accelerate a plasma jet for propulsion. While the theory behind the Emdrive is very different, the engineering principles of building the hardware are similar. The Chinese should be well capable of determining whether the thruster really works or whether the apparent forces are caused by experimental errors.

Shawyer compares a C-Band Emdrive with the existing NSTAR ion thruster used by NASA. The Emdrive produces 85 mN of thrust compared to 92 for the NSTAR (that's about one-third of an ounce). But the Emdrive only consumes a quarter of the amount of power and weighs less than seven kilos compared to over thirty kilos. But the biggest difference is in propellant: NSTAR uses ten grams per hour – the Emdrive uses none. As long as it has an electricity supply, the Emdrive will keep going.

Shawyer calculates that a solar-powered Emdrive could take a manned mission to Mars in 41 days. Provided it works, of course.

A flight ready thruster is planned for May 2009

Superconducting second generation EM drive
A second generation version of the engine (if it works) would generate specific thrust of 0.93 Tonne / kW.

Hybrid Engine using Emdrive to counter gravity
Another way to limit the kinetic output is to use the technology in a lift engine where the high specific thrust is used only to counteract gravity. Any acceleration of the vehicle itself would be by conventional propulsion.

Changing earthbased transportation
Typically 3 tonnes of lift could be obtained from 1kW of microwave power. A future low energy transport infrastructure, no longer dependent on wings and wheels would seem possible.

Emdrive Presentation at Space 08 conference

Key points from the slideshow: The chinese are making a S-band prototype engine. There is an version 1.5 superconducting system with Q 6*10**6 which would have 100 times more thrust than the version 1 system. This would be 32 Newtons of static thrust. One thousand times less than the version 2 superconducting system that would equal the best current superconducting Q of 5*10**9. If these systems are working then the sizes of the forces involved should be unambiguous. Not tiny millinewton forces which could be from mistakes or other causes but larger forces.

This site covered the Emdrive two years ago in 2006

Near term benefits of the emdrive at the SPR site.

September 23, 2008

Fish farming and Genetically Modified Fish for Feeding a Future World

Aquaculture is a major part of the worlds current and future food supply. It currently is the fastest growing food producing sector in the world. Genetically modified (GMO) fish are likely to dominate future fish farming by growing over two times faster than regular fish and being up to 30% more efficient with feed than regular fish. This would also make the GMO fish 350% more efficient with feed than cows are.

Fish farms operating in 2015 will be providing half of all available fish supplies.

World total demand for fish and fishery products is projected to expand by almost 50 million tonnes, from 133 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 183 million tonnes by 2015 (FAO).

The FDA is clearing the way for genetically modified fish and animals to be supplied as food.
The FDA said genetically engineered animals, created for human use or consumption, will be regulated in the same way as veterinary drugs, meaning they will go through a safety review process. Aqua Bounty of Massachusetts is hoping to market its genetically engineered salmon, which grows to maturity in less time than wild or farmed salmon, but it awaits approval.

A cow requires around seven kilograms of feed grain for each kilo of meat, while a carp requires around three kilos or less. Fish farming economizes on feed grain, and of course on the land area needed to produce it.

Aqua Bounty has stipulated that it will market only sterile, all female advanced hybrid salmon. There can be no gene flow to wild salmon because sterile fish can not reproduce. Aqua Bounty fish reach market size twice as fast and convert feed into body mass 10% – 30% more efficiently than traditional broodstock. So genetically modified fish could be given 2 kg of feed or less to produce 1 kg of meat.

Aqua Bounty grows 4–6 times faster as a juvenile than wild-type salmon. Zuoyan Zhu of the Hydrobiology Institute of the Academia Sinica in Wuhan, China, has created a fast-growing yellow river carp. Researchers in Cuba and the UK have engineered tilapia to grow and put on weight up to 300% faster (Rahman et al, 1998). Perhaps the most extraordinary example of the power of this approach was demonstrated with a mud loach developed in Korea that grows up to 35-fold faster than normal (Nam et al, 2001).

More aquaculture will be performed in cities

Previous aquaculture coverage

Aquaculture, meat factories and vertical farming

China is consolidating and modernizing farms for greater efficiency and adopting genetically modified seeds for higher yields

The world produces about 280 million tons of meat each year.

Poultry 93 million tons
Pig meat 101 million tons
Beef 67 million tons
Currently nearly 42 kilograms of meat is produced per person worldwide. In the developing world, people eat about 30 kilograms of meat a year. But consumers in the industrial world eat more than 80 kilograms per person each year

September 22, 2008

HP and Georgia Tech working towards Exascale Computers

Georgia Tech computer scientists are laying the groundwork for exascale machines that will process more than a million trillion – or 10^18 – calculations per second.

Karsten Schwan recently received a 2008 HP Labs Innovation Research Award to work with HP Labs, HP’s central research arm, to help solve some of the key problems in developing exascale machines. The high-impact research award, one of only two granted for exascale research and 41 granted overall to professors around the world, encourages open collaboration with HP Labs. The award amount is renewable for a total of three years based on research progress and HP business requirements.

“We believe that machines will reach exascale size only by combining common chips – such as quad core processors – with special purpose chips – such as graphics accelerators,” said Schwan, who is also director of the Georgia Tech Center for Experimental Research in Computer Systems (CERCS).

EE Times indicates that Karsten Schwan and his team are extending the open source virtualization software, called Xen, for exascale computing.

The open-source Xen virtualization system adds a layer of software layer called a hypervisor (about 150,000 lines of code) between a server's hardware and its operating system. It provides an abstraction layer that permits each physical server to run any number of virtual servers. By decoupling the operating system and its applications from a server, the hypervisor can manage resources and tasks more freely, relocating running programs even during hardware failures.

"If we can achieve our goal of virtualizing exascale multi-core computers, then many large scale applications can be enhanced, such as weather simulations, with much finer resolutions," said Schwan.

Xen Virtualization at citrix

Xen at wikipedia

Hypervisors at wikipedia

Breeder Reactors, Uranium from Phosphate and Near Term Thorium usage

How long uranium can supply nuclear power is affected by the kinds of nuclear reactors that are used (Breeder reactors are sixty times more efficient in using nuclear fuel than current reactors) and the sources of uranium that are used and whether thorium can be used to supplement uranium (Thorium can be turned into uranium in a nuclear reaction).

Uranium from Phosphate
Old and
new uranium from phosphate mines are starting up or being restarted. Uranium from phosphate is not included in the current uranium reserve estimate of 5.5 million tons at $80/kg or less and could add another 22 million tons of Uranium. Reserves estimates are still increasing and exploration spending is less than one billion dollars per year.

Thorium is more abundant than Uranium and would extend nuclear fuel supplies
Thorium Power is commercializing thorium fuel rods that can be placed in existing nuclear reactors. Full size thorium/uranium fuel rods going into Russian VVER-1000 reactor by 2010. Thorium, U-235 and zirconium mix. Would allow refueling to occur every 4 years instead of every two years. This would reduce operating downtime for nuclear reactors. India is also commercializing thorium as a fuel for nuclear reactors as a blanket around a fast breeder reactor.

Breeder Reactors - Russian dominance
Russia's BN-600 breeder reactor has been working since 1981 and generated by itself more commercial electrical power than all world solar power over the same period. BN-600 generates about 3800 GW·h/year, which is over 25 times bigger than Nevado One (one of the largest solar thermal electricity generator plants). It is over 6 times more than all of the solar PV generated in the USA (600 GW-h/year).

Construction has started on Beloyarsk-4 which is the first BN-800, a new, more powerful (880 MWe) FBR, which is actually the same overall size as BN-600. It has improved features including fuel flexibility - U+Pu nitride, MOX, or metal, and with breeding ratio up to 1.3. However, during the plutonium disposition campaign it will be operated with a breeding ratio of less than one. It has much enhanced safety and improved economy - operating cost is expected to be only 15% more than VVER. It is capable of burning up to 2 tonnes of plutonium per year from dismantled weapons and will test the recycling of minor actinides in the fuel. Further BN-800 units are planned.

Russia has experimented with several lead-cooled reactor designs, and has used lead-bismuth cooling for 40 years in reactors for its Alfa class submarines. Pb-208 (54% of naturally-occurring lead) is transparent to neutrons. A significant new Russian design is the BREST fast neutron reactor, of 300 MWe or more with lead as the primary coolant, at 540°C, and supercritical steam generators. It is inherently safe and uses a U+Pu nitride fuel. No weapons-grade Pu can be produced (since there is no uranium blanket), and spent fuel can be recycled indefinitely, with on-site facilities. A pilot unit is being built at Beloyarsk and 1200 MWe units are planned.

A smaller and newer Russian design is the Lead-Bismuth Fast Reactor (SVBR) of 75-100 MWe. This is an integral design, with the steam generators sitting in the same Pb-Bi pool at 400-480°C as the reactor core, which could use a wide variety of fuels. The unit would be factory-made and shipped as a 4.5m diameter, 7.5m high module, then
installed in a tank of water which gives passive heat removal and shielding. A power station with 16 such modules is expected to supply electricity at lower cost than any other new Russian technology as well as achieving inherent safety and high proliferation resistance. (Russia built 7 Alfa-class submarines, each powered by a compact 155 MWt Pb-Bi cooled reactor, and 70 reactor-years operational experience
was acquired with these.)

Russian plans call for BN-800 to be commissioned by 2012, and the work on the next fast neutron reactor, BN-1800, to start immediately after that. [1800MW version of a fast breeder] BN-1800 is expected to be completed 2018-2020.

India has started construction of a 500MW thorium fast breeder. Thorium blanket bred into uranium.

Started construction of a 500 MW prototype fast breeder reactor at Kalpakkam and this is now under construction by BHAVINI. The unit is expected to be operating in 2010, fuelled with uranium-plutonium oxide (the reactor-grade Pu being from its existing PHWRs). It will have a blanket with thorium and uranium to breed fissile U-233 and plutonium respectively. This will take India's ambitious thorium program to stage 2, and set the scene for eventual full utilization of the country's abundant thorium to fuel reactors. Four more such fast reactors have been announced for construction by 2020. Initial FBRs will be have mixed oxide fuel but these will be followed by metallic-fuelled ones to enable shorter doubling time.

In India, at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research a 40 MWt fast breeder test reactor (FBTR) has been operating since 1985. In addition, the tiny Kamini there is employed to explore the use of thorium as nuclear fuel, by breeding fissile U-233.

In 2002 the regulatory authority issued approval to start construction of a 500 MWe prototype fast breeder reactor (PFBR) at Kalpakkam and this is now under construction by BHAVINI. It is expected to be operating in 2010, fuelled with uranium-plutonium oxide (the reactor-grade Pu being from its existing PHWRs) and with a thorium blanket to breed fissile U-233. This will take India's ambitious
thorium program to stage 2, and set the scene for eventual full utilisation of the country's abundant thorium to fuel reactors. Four more such fast reactors have been announced for construction by 2020. Initial Indian FBRs will be have mixed oxide fuel but these will be followed by metallic-fuelled ones to enable shorter doubling time.

In China, a 65 MWt fast neutron reactor - the Chinese Experimental Fast Reactor (CEFR) - is under construction near Beijing and due to achieve criticality in 2008. There has been some Russian assistance in its development. R&D on fast neutron reactors started in 1964. A 600 MWe prototype fast reactor is envisaged by 2020 and there is talk of a 1500 MWe one by 2030. CNNC expects the technology to become
predominant by mid century.

Currently operating
Phénix, 1973, France, 233 MWe, restarted 2003 for experiments on transmutation of nuclear waste, scheduled end of life 2014
Jōyō, 1977-1997, 2003-, Japan
BN-600, 1981, Russia, 600 MWe, scheduled end of life 2010
FBTR, 1985, India, 40 MWt

Under construction
Monju reactor, 300MWe, in Japan. was closed in 1995 following a serious sodium leak and fire. It is expected to reopen in 2008.
PFBR, Kalpakkam, India, 500 MWe. Planned to open 2010
China Experimental Fast Reactor, 65 MWt, planned 2009
BN-800, Russia, planned 2012

In design phase
JSFR, Japan, project for a 1500 MWe reactor begin in 2010
KALIMER, 600 MWe, South Korea, projected 2030
Generation IV reactor US-proposed international effort, after 2030

Russia's plan and goal is to get 25-30% of the global nuclear power plant construction business.

Improved process for getting oil from Oil Shale

Oil Recovery from Oil Shales by Electrical Heating has been improved by adding iron powder. (Canada -University of Alberta and Turkey researchers The economics of the process are presented above.

The recovery characteristics of four different oil shale samples were tested experimentally using the retort technique. To accomplish efficient temperature distribution, the thermal conductivity of the oil shale samples was increased by the addition of three different iron powders. The doses of iron powders were optimized for each oil shale sample based on the highest oil production value experimentally. The experiments were then modeled using the electrical heating option of a commercial reservoir simulator. The viscosity−temperature relationship was obtained by matching the experimentally obtained temperature distribution in the cores and production data to the numerical ones. After the other parameters needed for the numerical model were collected and compiled, field-scale simulations were performed and a parametric analysis was performed for different oil shale cases. The experimental and numerical results show that field-scale oil recovery from oil shales by electrical heating could be technically and economically viable.

The best result was obtained for the OS4 case with iron powder. Over the time period of investigation (90 days), the increasing trend was still obvious and the plateau region had not been reached unlike the other seven cases. It is interesting that its “raw version” also showed a similar trend but much less oil production. Note that OS4 has significantly higher rock heat capacity compared to the other three samples.

(1) Viscosity−temperature relationship as data to the simulator was observed as the most critical parameter, but it is not easily measurable. Therefore, an experimental study was performed to obtain this input data by numerically simulating the experiments and matching the history for temperature distribution and production. (2) After 400 °C, the relationship between viscosity and temperature was observed as linear on a semi-log plot. This is the pyrolysis temperature. (3) Introducing iron powder into the reservoir for practical applications is a critical issue, but we are not aware of any application or suggestion in the literature in this regard. The addition of iron powder could be achieved by injecting iron powders into the reservoir, after mixing them with petroleum-based fluids, such as light oils or solvents. If the field is shallow enough for surface mining, a better solution would be adding the iron powders during the extraction process. (4) The technical and economic feasibility analyses showed that electrical heating is still a marginal application, but the results proved that it is in an applicable range. (5) All oil shales showed different recovery trends. The production rate and the ultimate recovery from the oil shale case of OS4 were remarkably higher compared to the other three cases. This could be attributed to significantly higher rock heat capacity of this particular sample compared to the other three samples.

Greencarcongress has coverage of this work

Uranium Mining Forecast to 2020

The uranium mining forecast was from the Uranium 2008 report (joint report of the IAEA and OECD). The forecast and expected mine openings are on page 48, 49 of the report.

Anticipated New Mines
China Qinlong 100tU/year
Kazakhstan Appack LLP-West Mynkuduk 1,000 tU/year in 2010
Kazakhstan Karatau LLP-Budennovskoye 1,000 tU/year in 2009
South Africa Uranium One - Dominium & Rietkuil, 1,460 tU/year in 2010

Australia Honeymoon 340 tU/year
Kazakhstan Semizbai 500 tU/year
Kazakhstan Kharasan-1 3,000 tU/year in 2010
Kazakhstan Southern Inkai, 1,000 tU/year
Kazakhstan Irkol 750 tU/year
Kazakhstan Kharasan, 2,000 tU/year in 2014
Kazakhstan Akbastau LLP-Budennovskoye 3,000 tU/year
Namibia Trekkopje 1,600 tU/year
Russia Khiagde 1,000 tU/year, 2000 in 2015

Iran Saghand 50 tU/year
Malawi Kayelekera 1,270 tU/year
Namibia Valencia 1,000 tU/year

Canada Midwest, Sask 2,300 tU/year
India Tummalapalle 220 tU/year
Russia Gornoe 600 tU/year

Brazil Itataia 600 tU/year
Canada Cigar Lake 6,900 tU/year
India Mohuldih 30 tU/year
Niger Imouren 5,000 tU/year
Niger Azelik 700 tU/year
Russia Olov 600 tU/year

India Lambapur 130 tU/year
India Killeng 340 tU/year
Russia Elkon 5,000 tU/year


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