August 09, 2013

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 169

1. At Nuke Power Talk, Gail Marcus talks about a recent Time magazine article on new nuclear plants that was quite favorable on the need for nuclear power, and optimistic about its prospects. She points out that they focus a lot of the article on a discussion of 2 start-ups headed by graduate students focusing on non-light water designs--the next generation of reactors from the next generation of reactor designers. However, she cautions that we shouldn't dismiss the prospects of advanced, small light water reactor designs too quickly.

2. The Hiroshima Syndrome/Fukushima Commentary - Fukushima Groundwater Contamination is Not an Actual Emergency

This past Monday, a Nuclear Regulatory Authority inspector at F. Daiichi told the Press that the contaminated groundwater problem places the station in a “state of emergency”. Is the Pacific Ocean actually being polluted? It doesn’t seem that it is. Is F. Daiichi actually in a “state of emergency”? It’s a speculative state of emergency, to be sure, but not actual.

3. Yes Vermont Yankee - Curtailment by any other name--would be ordinary

The Governor of Vermont has chewed out the New England grid operator for "curtailing" wind energy. "Curtailment"? For any other type of power plant, "dispatching" would be business as usual, not a special insult.

4. Canadian Energy Issues - The electric grid: the greatest equalizing force in human history

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Great North American Blackout of August 14 2003, Steve Aplin of Canadian Energy Issues reflects on the fundamental physical and social forces that led to the invention of the electric grid. The grid, Aplin says, played the decisive role in eradicating slavery and achieving a level of affluence and social equality that until very recently in human history were physically—and thereby socially—not possible to achieve.

Nextbigfuture nuclear articles

5. A follow up on the German court blocking the Greentec TV award show from disqualifying the winner of the online popular vote [Nuclear dual fuel molten salt reactor]

Greentec is appealing the court decision to try to avoid being forced to show the Molten salt reactor on the TV show.

6. Fast neutron reactors increase the burnup of fuel up to 15-20% vs 5% with LWS and the used fuel is easier to process and with a liquid pyroprocessing method can enable a closed fuel cycle (100% of fuel used). Here we review the fast reactors under development.

7. A study considers three nuclear expansion scenarios to estimate China’s future uranium demand.

Scenario 1 : is the reference case and is based on China’s current long-term nuclear power development plan, which anticipates that nuclear power will have a 20-percent share (the current world nuclear share) of the total national installed capacity by 2050.

Scenario 2: is a high-growth scenario, which anticipates continuous nuclear expansion and a 30-percent nuclear share of installed capacity by 2050.

Scenario 3: is the low-growth scenario, which anticipates a 10-percent nuclear share by 2050.

It is possible to close the nuclear fuel cycle using fast neutron reactors and the INPRO method.

The fuel fabrication for the CNFC-FR system should be based on the mixed powder route. Mixed oxide could be made by co-processing and co-precipitation and this mixed oxide product may be suitably diluted by adding UO2 powder to make the fuel for multiple compositions of FR core. Since U–Pu separation is not envisaged, several process steps are eliminated resulting in a reduced number of process equipment, tankage and operations leading to significant reduction in the processing cost.

The advanced reprocessing operation of the reference plant involves recovery of unused and bred fissile materials as well as recovery of minor actinides (MAs) and selected high heat producing or long-lived fission products (LLFP) in a form suitable for immediate recycling in the reactor or co-located transmutation systems. It is assumed that advanced aqueous processes can be used for the tentative burn-up of 200 GWd/t and a 360 days cooling period of the discharged fuel.

Used fuel will be reprocessed using electrometallurgical processes (so-called pyro-processing) and plutonium will not be separated but will remain with some highly radioactive isotopes. Pyroprocessing is also said to have several advantages for fast reactors which greatly simplify waste management.

It may be mentioned that in the aqueous route of reprocessing, extremely high separation factors (also called decontamination factors) of 107 and high recovery rates over 99.8 % are routinely achieved. For the reference CNFC-FR system the stipulated Pu recoveries are 99.95 % or more.

Recently, several new extractants have been reported. To achieve actinide-free status for high
level waste, recovery levels of MA are assumed to be 99.9 %.

The overall conclusion of the INPRO economic assessment is that a nuclear energy system consisting of a series of fast reactors incorporating improvements to be developed within the next 10 to 20 years will meet INPRO’s economic basic principle, i.e. the nuclear energy system CNFC-FR will be affordable and available in 10 to 20 years in the countries mastering this technology.

8. Which nine advanced nuclear reactor designs, from high-temperature gas reactors to fusion would most likely achieve any significant cost declines ?

Which four factors are most important to lower cost nuclear power :

1. Safety - no need for redundant safety systems
2. Use existing supply chains and will need less new materials
3. Modular
4. Efficient

9. The Institute of Energy Economics Japan says that their forecast is that the first nuclear reactor of the new batch (of about ten applicant reactors) will restart by July 2014. The IEEJ says is the most likely scenario for restarts, up to six reactors would resume operating by March next year(2014) and 16 would be producing power by March 2015.

10. Plasmoid density needs to be increased 3000 fold and not 10,000 fold for LPP fusion net energy production

Increasing the density of the plasmoid is the “long pole” in Lawrenceville Plasma Physics fusion tent—what we need to do to get to net energy production. We know we must increase density a long way from our current results. But now it seems the goal post have moved somewhat nearer. New theoretical calculations indicate that an effect that was left out of previous calculation increases the fusion reaction rate at high magnetic fields and thus requires only about one third the plasma density we previously calculated. This reduces the improvement needed in density from about 10,000-fold to about 3,000-fold.

11. LPP (Lawrenceville Plasma Physics) participated in Google’s Solve For X Fusion Brainstorming Conference in Mountainside, California. Solve For X encourages projects to solve the toughest technological challenges of our day. The participants were scientists from Lawrenceville Plasma Physics, Inc. and three other leading fusion energy research companies: Tri-Alpha Corporation, General Fusion, and a project supported by giant multinational Lockheed-Martin. Teams of three presenters from each participating company were joined by a panel of nine fusion experts from top academic and national fusion laboratories: Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, MIT, the University of Wisconsin, and UCLA.

12.ANS Nuclear Cafe: Robert O. Anderson - banking heir, oil wildcatter, big oil exec, financier of antinuclear movement

Rod Adams investigates Exhibit No. 1 in a linkage between the roots of the antinuclear movement and the influence of Big Oil - to explain the illogical linkage between environmentalist and antinuclear groups.

13. Dr. Robert Bruce Hayes at newsok discusss the long list of benefits of nuclear energy

14. Atomic Power Review submission: India's Nuclear Sub Program follows Precedent with Prototype

This week, it was announced that the INS Arihant's reactor had achieved criticality for the first time. This important milestone in the development of a completely indigenous Indian capability to build and operate nuclear powered submarines made much news - but the operation of a prototype plant on land never really did. See newly revealed details of this program, the only available photo of the prototype, and more. Also, the photo of the Indian sub prototype looks quite familiar -- and you'll find out why. With many links.

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