December 03, 2016

Another Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 Trailer and other trailers

Russia developing Improved engines, weapons and bombs for the T-50 PAK-FA for F-22 competitive performance

Russia’s United Engine Corporation (UEC) has started ground testing a next-generation engine for the Sukhoi T-50 PAK-FA fifth-generation stealth fighter according to a statement by the company.

The PAK-FA—which is under development—is currently powered by a pair of 33,000-pound thrust class Saturn AL-41F1 afterburning turbofans. However, the AL-41F1—a version of which is also installed on the Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E—is not powerful enough to meet the requirements for the PAK-FA. Ultimately, the AL-41F is a highly modified derivative of the original Sukhoi Su-27’s AL-31F powerplant.

While the new engine—often referred to as the izdeliye 30—is being designed by the Lyul'ka design bureau under the leadership of general designer-director Eugene Marchukova, it is being tested at the Lytkarinsky Machine-Building Plant. It’s only with the addition of the second stage engine that the PAK-FA will meet the requirements of both the Russian and Indian air forces.

The designers expect to start testing the new engine on fighter jets in 2018, and for the motor to be fully integrated in 2020.

“In addition to the engine, a radar station also needs to be modified, and engineers need to remove the last deficiencies in the airframe concept, which, among all the aircraft flying today, is the most modern in the world,” said the analyst.

The powerplant is expected to deliver 24,054lbs dry thrust and 39,566lbs of afterburning thrust. With the new engine installed, the PAK-FA should be able to offer kinematic performance comparable to the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor—cruising without afterburner at speeds exceeding Mach 1.5 with a maximum speed greater than Mach 2.0 at altitudes of around 60,000ft

New PAKFA fighter weapons - 30-mm cannon

The firing unit consists of one of the lightest cannon in its class, the 9-A1-4071K, which is designed to destroy armored vehicles or armored enemy targets. During one flight, the pilot can shoot 150 rounds from the 30-mm cannon.

Research suggests blackhole or wormhole tidal forces would not spaghettify the body

Some researchers believe a singularity can be removed from a black hole (have no event horizon) and this would be a wormhole.

They modelled observers (objects like a chair, a scientist, and a spacecraft ) as an aggregation of points connected by physical or chemical interactions that hold everything together as the object travels along a geodesic line. A geodesic line is simply the path in spacetime that a free-falling object follows.

“Each particle of the observer follows a geodesic line determined by the gravitational field,” says Rubiera-Garcia. “Each geodesic feels a slightly different gravitational force, but the interactions among the constituents of the body could nonetheless sustain the body.”

Research suggests tidal forces would not spaghettify the body

A tidal force is a difference in the strength of gravity between two points. The gravitational field of the moon produces a tidal force across the diameter of Earth, which causes the Earth to deform. It also raises tides of several meters in the solid Earth, and
larger tides in the liquid oceans.

If the tidal force is stronger than a body's cohesiveness, the body will be disrupted. The minimum distance that a satellite comes to a planet before it is shattered this way is called its Roche Distance. The artistic image to the left shows what tidal disruption could be like for an unlucky moon.

A human falling into a black hole will also experience tidal forces. In most cases these will be lethal. The difference in acceleration between the head and feet could be many thousands of Earth Gravities. A person would literally be pulled apart. Some physicists have termed this process spaghettification

New work suggests body can stay together

The impact of curvature divergences on physical observers in a black hole space–time, which, nonetheless, is geodesically complete is investigated. This space–time is an exact solution of certain extensions of general relativity coupled to Maxwell's electrodynamics and, roughly speaking, consists of two Reissner–Nordström (or Schwarzschild or Minkowski) geometries connected by a spherical wormhole near the center. We find that, despite the existence of infinite tidal forces, causal contact is never lost among the elements making up the observer. This suggests that curvature divergences may not be as pathological as traditionally thought.

Accurate IMF forecasts for nominal GDP and PPP GDP for next few years

The IMF predictions for nominal GDP and PPP were inaccurate in the early 2000s, because of adjustments that shifted purchasing power parity and currency fluctuations.

Currency is still fluctuating as the Chinese yuan has weakened enough to eliminate projected nominal GDP gains in 2016.

IMF nominal GDP projections

Purchasing power parity had a large adjustment a few years ago because the 2005 PPP study did not properly look at or weight the rural areas of China and India and other developing countries. This meant that purchasing power was a lot higher in developing countries.

Their could still be some adjustments in how GDP is accounted and purchasing power corrections but it seems that any adjustments will be a lot smaller.

In purchasing power parity GDP China will be at 120% of the US economy in 2017 and the IMF is projecting that China will gain about 5% each year. IMF projects China would be at 140% of the US economy in 2021.

China is at 60% of the US economy in nominal GDP terms (currency exchange basis). Currency moves will shift the GDP ratios around more than PPP.

India will be at 40% of the GDP of the USA and will gain about 5.5 percentage points on the US. IMF projects India to be at 62% of the US PPP GDP in 2021.

Japan is at 21% of the US economy PPP GDP wise and sliding to 15.8%
Germany is at 17.6% and UK and France are at 12%. Each of the european countries will grow less than the USA.

By 2029 or 2032, China should be double the economy of the USA in PPP GDP.

At some point it seems likely that the yuan will strengthen again versus the US dollar. The US dollar is currently very strong against all currencies.

IMF PPP GDP projections for 2020 and 2021

Offtopic - Tiger Woods is back and contending

December 02, 2016

Cannae will try to prove propellentless propulsion in space in 2017 and has ambitious space probe designs with 33 years of constant acceleration to reach 3% of lightspeed

NASA peer reviewed paper showed that they had tested the propellentless EMdrive propulsion on a highly sensitive device in a vacuum and detected 1.2 millinewtons per kilowatt of propulsion.

Many remain unconvinced.

Despite having a setup that has been pretty much operating for years, how many data points are in the paper? Eighteen. Now, if this were a really time-consuming experiment, I wouldn't let that bother me. Hell, some synchrotron experiments have only a single data point. But this is clearly not a time-limited experiment.

The microwave was pulsed for about 40 seconds, and an entire data run seems to take about 200 seconds. Allowing five minutes between measurements, it should have been possible to record 12 data points for the same settings every hour. Indeed, although the researchers have numerous variables at their hands to change between experiments, they only play with one. In previous papers, they played with two, but still this limited exploration and limited data is really disheartening.

Then there's the error analysis: the authors estimate many measurement uncertainties so that each thrust measurement has an uncertainty of about ten percent. That sounds brilliant, right? Except the authors ignore the main uncertainties. In one experiment at 60 Watts of microwave power, the authors measure thrust of 128 microNewtons, while all three data points for 80 Watts of microwave power have thrusts of less than 120 microNewtons. Indeed, the thrust at 60 Watts for all data overlaps pretty much perfectly for all data taken at 80 Watts. They can only claim a slope by turning the power down to 40 Watts, where they do consistently measure less thrust.

The Cannae drive is also propellentless like the EMdrive but is a different design. They will test their system orbit in a cubesat in 2017

Cannae is not using an EmDrive thruster in their upcoming launch. Cannae is using it’s own proprietary thruster technology which requires no on-board propellant to generate thrust. In addition, this project is being done as a private venture. Cannae is only working with our private commercial partners on the upcoming mission.

Theseus Space is going to be launching a demo cubesat (probably in 2017) which will use Cannae thruster technology to maintain an orbit below a 150 mile altitude. This cubesat will maintain its extreme LEO altitude for a minimum duration of 6 months. The primary mission objective is to demonstrate our thruster technology on orbit. Secondary objectives for this mission include orbital altitude and inclination changes performed by the Cannae-thruster technology.

Cannae’s thruster technology is capable of generating thrust from a few uN up through several newton thrust levels and higher levels. The Cannae thruster technology is particularly useful for small satellite missions due to low power, mass and volume requirements. Our thruster configuration for the cubesat mission with Theseus is anticipated to require less than 1.5 U volume and will use less than 10 watts of power to perform station keeping thrusting.

Once demonstrated on orbit, Theseus will offer their thruster platforms to the satellite marketplace

Cannae is commercializing proprietary propulsion technology requiring no on-board propellant to generate thrust.

The core of their technology uses the Lorentz Force imbalances created by their thrusters to create propulsion. Cannae has demonstrated 2 separate prototypes of a superconducting thruster which requires no dielectric material to generate thrust.

Inventor, Guido Fetta, delivered a paper on superconducting prototype demonstration at the 2014 AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference. Cannae has since improved upon the initial design and has demonstrated improved thrust and performance of their superconducting prototype at their Pennsylvania test facility.

Cannae is also commercializing a thruster that does not require superconducting operation in order to generate thrust. This thruster also requires no on-board propellant to generate a Lorentz Force imbalance. Cannae has demonstrated prototypes of this new thruster technology at our Pennsylvania test facility.

Cannae has various deep space probes and space freighter designs if their in orbit tests work out

The deep space probe concept vehicle outlined in this section is used to propel a scientific instrument and communication payload with a mass of 2000 kgs to a 0.1 light year (LY) distance in a 15 year time frame. This vehicle uses existing superconductor and vehicle subsystem technology performance levels. No improvements to technological performance levels are required to build the vehicle described in this section.

There are 10 Cannae Drives included in the deep space probe design.

5 x 50 MHz Thruster cavities (continuously powered)

3 x 1 GHz Steering cavities (powered as needed)

2 x 1.5 GHz Roll-control cavities (powered as needed)

The 5 Cannae Drive thruster cavities provide continuous acceleration of 8.66 x 10^-3 m/s2 to the probe. This is equivalent to accelerating at 1/1132 G. The small acceleration is constantly applied in one direction throughout the life time of the probe, continually increasing the velocity of the probe with respect to the Earth reference frame. The total thrust developed by the 5 thruster cavities is 85.5 newtons.

The three medium sized Cannae Drive cavities provide steering for the probe. These cavities are intermittently powered to provide course corrections or for flight maneuvers.

The two small Cannae Drive cavities are used to modulate the roll rate of the space probe. These cavities are also used intermittently.

All of the Cannae Drives are fixed in position on the vehicle. This eliminates moving parts from the propulsion system, allowing for longevity of operation.

Deep space probe cavity design

The Cannae Drive cavities are manufactured of aluminum. Aluminum (or another appropriate alloy) is used to minimize the thruster system mass. A substrate layer is then coated on the inside of the cavity. A top coat of 400 nm YBCO layer is then deposited over the substrate layer.

The thrusting cavities are designed with asymmetric features in areas of high electric field and in areas of high magnetic field. The average effective differential in axially-directed radiation pressure is 15% over the entire cross section of each thruster cavity. The unbalanced force developed in the thruster cavity is directed through the axial center of the 5 thruster cavities.

The design maximum H-field on the top plate of the thruster cavity is 4000 A/m with nominal maximum operating H-field on the top plate of 3270 A/m. This relatively low field is used to prevent field emission in the areas of high E-field and to keep the ohmic losses in the regions of high H-field to a minimum.

The Cannae Drive deep-space probe is designed to measure the environment of the interstellar medium. To do this, the vehicle is launched to LEO on a standard launch vehicle. The diameter of the probe in launch configuration is 4.8 meters with a height of 10 meters. These dimensions allow the probe to fit into a standard 5-meter launch vehicle fairing.

Once the vehicle is in LEO, the thruster system is powered and the vehicle accelerates in the direction of its Earth orbit. This causes the probe to slowly spiral away from Earth until it eventually escapes into deep space. The probe continues to accelerate, increasing its velocity and overcoming the gravitational attraction of the Sun. The vehicle will reach escape velocity from the Sun without gravity assists in less than 2 months.

During the LEO-to-solar-escape-velocity phase of the mission, a light-weight radiation shield is deployed to shield the thruster section of the probe from Earth’s thermal radiation and from solar radiation. Once the vehicle flight path is directed away from the Sun, the radiation shield is ejected from the probe. The temporary shielding is not depicted in Figure 1.

The probe is designed to accelerate continuously throughout its operational life time. The mission duration is designed to be 15 years, with mission-life extensions probable. After 15 years of constant 8.65 x 10-3 m/s2 acceleration, the vehicle will reach a distance from Earth of 0.1 LY (approximately 600 billion miles). At 0.1 LY, the vehicle will be travelling at approximately 1.35 % the speed of light (c). At a 0.1 LY distance, it will require over 1 month to send or receive radio signals between the probe and Earth.

For comparison, the Voyager 1 probe is currently travelling at 17.06 km/s. The Cannae-Drive-propelled, deep-space probe increases by the Voyager speed of 17.06 km/s every 23.1 days. Accelerating at design level, the Cannae-Drive-deep-space probe passes the Voyager distance from Earth (120 AU) within 2.0 years of probe launch. The Voyager required almost 35 years to reach this distance. Voyager 1 continues to increase its distance from Earth and will reach a distance of 0.1 LY in a total travel time of 1780 years. The Cannae Drive probe requires 15 years from launch to travel 0.1 LY and the thruster system uses less than 100 watts RF power to do so.

For additional comparison, a propellant-based probe designed to accelerate a 2000 kg payload to a velocity of 1.35% c (the speed of the Cannae Drive probe when it passes 0.1 LY) would require a minimum of 1.8 x 1021 kgs of propellant. This calculation assumes a propellant specific impulse of 10,000 seconds with zero structural, propellant tank and power system mass (final vehicle mass is 2000 kgs). Assuming the propellant has a specific gravity of 1, this amount of propellant could cover the entire surface area of the Earth to a height of over 2 miles. If power and structural mass estimates for the propellant-based probe are included in the propellant-requirement calculation, the situation gets much worse.

The Cannae Drive probe reaches a distance from Earth of 0.1 LY in 15 years. Because of the simplicity of design and lack of moving parts, it is anticipated that the vehicle will continue to accelerate and will continue to transmit data back to Earth. The Voyager and Pioneer deep-space probes have demonstrated that multi-decade missions are achievable. The RTG’s of the Cannae Drive probe are designed to deliver the power required to generate up to 100 watts of RF power to the thruster cavities. As RTG power levels drop below end-of-life design levels, RF power to the cavities will also drop below the 73 watt design level. As long as phase-locked power is sent to the thruster cavities, the probe will continue to accelerate. The acceleration of the probe is directly proportional to the RF power sent into the cavities. Given the proven longevity of RTGs in space applications, the Cannae Drive probe could continue to accelerate and send back data on the interstellar medium for decades.

After 33 years of constant 8.66 x 10-3 m/s2 acceleration, the Cannae Drive probe will have crossed a distance of 0.5 LY from Earth while attaining a speed of approximately 3% of c.

For deep-space applications, a Cannae Drive probe outperforms propellant-driven systems by orders of magnitude. Travel times and vehicle velocities that are impossible for propellant based systems are achievable with a Cannae Drive system. The Cannae Drive technology allows new deep-space missions that have previously existed only in science fiction.

They have space freighter design hat is based on the reactionless thrust of the Cannae Drive. This freighter is a satellite that is launched to LEO on a standard 5 meter fairing launch vehicle. Once in orbit, the freighter is used to raise the orbits of other satellites that are already in a LEO orbit. The value of the freighter is that significant reductions in launch costs are achieved. Satellites that are destined for orbits higher than LEO require only the launch costs associated with the LEO launch. For larger GEO satellites, the launch cost savings can amount to greater than $200 million per satellite.

Mass: 10,000 KGS
Solar power required: 4000 Watts
LENGTH: 10 Meters

Water can freeze at 105 to 151 degrees celsius inside of carbon nanotubes and can enable ice wires for conducting protons

A team at MIT has found a completely unexpected set of changes: Inside the tiniest of spaces — in carbon nanotubes whose inner dimensions are not much bigger than a few water molecules — water can freeze solid even at high temperatures that would normally set it boiling.

The discovery illustrates how even very familiar materials can drastically change their behavior when trapped inside structures measured in nanometers, or billionths of a meter. And the finding might lead to new applications — such as, essentially, ice-filled wires — that take advantage of the unique electrical and thermal properties of ice while remaining stable at room temperature.

“If you confine a fluid to a nanocavity, you can actually distort its phase behavior,” Strano says, referring to how and when the substance changes between solid, liquid, and gas phases. Such effects were expected, but the enormous magnitude of the change, and its direction (raising rather than lowering the freezing point), were a complete surprise: In one of the team’s tests, the water solidified at a temperature of 105 C or more. (The exact temperature is hard to determine, but 105 C was considered the minimum value in this test; the actual temperature could have been as high as 151 C.)

Water’s behavior changes inside the tiny carbon nanotubes — structures the shape of a soda straw, made entirely of carbon atoms but only a few nanometers in diameter — depends crucially on the exact diameter of the tubes. “These are really the smallest pipes you could think of,” Strano says. In the experiments, the nanotubes were left open at both ends, with reservoirs of water at each opening.

Even the difference between nanotubes 1.05 nanometers and 1.06 nanometers across made a difference of tens of degrees in the apparent freezing point, the researchers found. Such extreme differences were completely unexpected. “All bets are off when you get really small,” Strano says. “It’s really an unexplored space.”

Strano and his team used highly sensitive imaging systems, using a technique called vibrational spectroscopy, that could track the movement of water inside the nanotubes, thus making its behavior subject to detailed measurement for the first time.

The team can detect not only the presence of water in the tube, but also its phase, he says: “We can tell if it’s vapor or liquid, and we can tell if it’s in a stiff phase.” While the water definitely goes into a solid phase, the team avoids calling it “ice” because that term implies a certain kind of crystalline structure, which they haven’t yet been able to show conclusively exists in these confined spaces. “It’s not necessarily ice, but it’s an ice-like phase,” Strano says.

Because this solid water doesn’t melt until well above the normal boiling point of water, it should remain perfectly stable indefinitely under room-temperature conditions. That makes it potentially a useful material for a variety of possible applications, he says. For example, it should be possible to make “ice wires” that would be among the best carriers known for protons, because water conducts protons at least 10 times more readily than typical conductive materials. “This gives us very stable water wires, at room temperature,” he says.

Evidence of filling and phase transition of water inside carbon nanotubes (CNTs).

Nature Nanotechnology - Observation of extreme phase transition temperatures of water confined inside isolated carbon nanotubes

Carnival of Space 486

The Carnival of Space 486 is up at Stylish Stem

Cassini spacecraft prepares for incredible ‘Ring-Grazing Orbits’ at Saturn

Cassini will be flying just past the edge of Saturn’s main rings. These close passes by the rings are called “Ring-Grazing Orbits,” during which Cassini will come within 90,000 kilometres (56,000 miles) of Saturn itself. Cassini will also use the gravitational pull of Titan to help do this, by passing close to the large moon. Titan’s gravity can affect the spacecraft’s direction and speed as it moves in closer to Saturn.

Universe Today - Japanese Company Plans Artificial Meteor Shower

A company named Sky Canvas plans to launch a colorful artificial meteor shower barrage via micro-satellite.

In the ‘strange but true department’ and a plan that would make any super-villain envious, a Japanese start-up plans to shoot meteoroids at the Earth to create the first orchestrated artificial meteor shower.

Europe will have to raise military capabilities - how much happens will be seen over the next few years

The members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) pledged in 2014 to increase their defense spending to 2 percent of their gross domestic products by 2024

During the campaign, President elect Trump indicated that he would only support NATO only if NATO countries met their commitments.

Mr. Trump raised alarm during the election campaign when he questioned whether the United States would automatically defend NATO allies if they were attacked. Mr. Trump said American support would depend on the willingness of those countries to pay their fair share for military protection.

He has also called NATO “obsolete” and said that the alliance was failing to fight terrorism.

Those allies not willing to pay for American military protection, he warned, could receive a stark message: “Congratulations, you will be defending yourself.”

There have been calls for Europe to offset its dependence on American defense have been intensifying since Mr. Trump’s election. In an interview with Reuters this week, Roderich Kiesewetter, a spokesman on foreign policy for Ms. Merkel’s conservative bloc in the German Parliament, said that Europe needed to think about developing its own nuclear deterrent strategy, given the possibility of a retrenchment under Mr. Trump.

Mr. Kiesewetter said that Germany, the largest economy in the 28-member European Union, could play a central role in urging nuclear powers like Britain and France to take over from the United States in providing nuclear security guarantees for the rest of the region.

The UK meets its 2% commitment. The UK defense minister is trying to use the election of Trump to get more movement from other countries to raise their military capabilities.

December 01, 2016

Star lifting to mine star matter could explain dimming of Tabby's star

Arxiv - A physically inspired model of Dip d792 and d1519 of the Kepler light curve seen at KIC8462852, by Eduard Heindl1 , Furtwangen University, Germany

The star KIC 8462852 shows a very unusual and hard to comprehend light curve. The dip d7922 absorbs 16% of the starlight. The light curve is unusually smooth but the very steep edges make it hard to find a simple natural explanation by covering due to comets or other well-known planetary objects. We describe a mathematical approximation to the light curve, which is motivated by a physically meaningful event of a large stellar beam which generates an orbiting cloud. The data might fit to the science fiction idea of star lifting, a mining technology that could extract star matter. We extend the model to d1519 and d1568 using multiple beams and get an encouraging result that fits essential parts of the dips but misses other parts of the measured flux. We recommend further exploration of this concept with refined models.

Stars have deep gravity wells, so the energy required for such operations is large. For example, lifting solar material from the surface of the Sun to infinity requires 2.1 × 10^11 J/kg. This energy could be supplied by the star itself, collected by a Dyson sphere; using only 10% of the Sun's total power output would allow 5.9 × 10^21 kilograms of matter to be lifted per year (0.0000003% of the Sun's total mass), or 8% of the mass of Earth's moon.

Our Sun has 99.8 percent of the solar system's mass.

Star Lifting with Heating to boost solar wind

The simplest system for star lifting would increase the rate of solar wind outflow by directly heating small regions of the star's atmosphere, using any of a number of different means to deliver energy such as microwave beams, lasers, or particle beams – whatever proved to be most efficient for the engineers of the system. This would produce a large and sustained eruption similar to a solar flare at the target location, feeding the solar wind.

The resulting outflow would be collected by using a ring current around the star's equator to generate a powerful toroidal magnetic field with its dipoles over the star's rotational poles. This would deflect the star's solar wind into a pair of jets aligned along its rotational axis passing through a pair of magnetic rocket nozzles. The magnetic nozzles would convert some of the plasma's thermal energy into outward velocity, helping cool the outflow. The ring current required to generate this magnetic field would be generated by a ring of particle accelerator space stations in close orbit around the star's equator. These accelerators would be physically separate from each other but would exchange two counterdirected beams of oppositely charged ions with their neighbor on each side, forming a complete circuit around the star.

A mechanism for "harvesting" solar wind (RC = ring current, MN = magnetic nozzles, J = plasma jet).

Harvesting lifted mass

The material lifted from a star will emerge in the form of plasma jets hundreds or thousands of astronomical units long, primarily composed of hydrogen and helium and highly diffuse by current engineering standards. The details of extracting useful materials from this stream and storing the vast quantities that would result have not been extensively explored. One possible approach is to purify useful elements from the jets using extremely large-scale mass spectrometry, cool them by laser cooling, and condense them on particles of dust for collection. Small artificial gas giant planets could be constructed from excess hydrogen and helium to store it for future use.

Super advanced aliens managing the resources of a star

The lifespan of a star is determined by the size of its supply of nuclear "fuel" and the rate at which it uses up that fuel in fusion reactions in its core. Larger stars have a larger supply of fuel, but the increased core pressure resulting from that additional mass increases the reaction rate even more; large stars have a significantly shorter lifespan than small ones. Current theories of stellar dynamics also suggest that there is very little mixing between the bulk of a star's atmosphere and the material of its core, where fusion takes place, so most of a large star's fuel will never be used naturally.

As a star's mass is reduced by star lifting its rate of nuclear fusion will decrease, reducing the amount of energy available to the star lifting process but also reducing the gravity that needs to be overcome. Theoretically, it would be possible to remove an arbitrarily large portion of a star's total mass given sufficient time. In this manner a civilization could control the rate at which its star uses fuel, optimizing the star's power output and lifespan to its needs. The hydrogen and helium extracted in the process could also be used as fusion reactor fuel. Alternatively, the material could be assembled into additional smaller stars, to improve the efficiency of its use.

Building clean solar, wind and nuclear energy keeps costs lower by reducing supply chain pressures

Bjorn Lomborg calculated using the best peer-reviewed economic models show the cost of the Paris promises – through slower gross domestic product growth from higher energy costs — would reach $1 trillion to $2 trillion every year from 2030. U.S. vows alone — to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 26 percent to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 — would reduce GDP by more than $150 billion annually.

So solutions that keep energy energy costs the same or lower and provide greenhouse-gas emissions and air pollution reduction would be better.

China's first HTR-PM (pebble bed) reactor will be completed in late 2017 and generate 210 MWe. It is expected to start commercial operation in late 2017. A proposal to construct two 600 MWe HTR plants - each featuring three twin reactor and turbine units - at Ruijin city in China's Jiangxi province passed a preliminary feasibility review in early 2015. The design of the Ruijin HTRs is based on the smaller Shidaowan demonstration HTR-PM. Construction of the Ruijin reactors is expected to start next year, with grid connection in 2021.

Nextbigfuture reader Goatguy posed the several questions about which choices would be better for improving the environment

(3a) Developing as much Wind/Solar as possible
(3b) Advocating for clean 3rd and 4th generation nuclear?

This is a darn hard one: we all know that nominally there is no safer, no cleaner and no more low environmental impact power than modern large-production nuclear. When we go with deaths-per-TWh, it is strikingly low. And safe. So … what is it: spend $100 billion on nuclear, or on PV and Wind?

It will take at least 20 years to ramp up and build enough solar or wind or nuclear generation to replace coal power.

Increasing the rate of spending on one choice causes supply chain problems which increase the cost. This is why it is best to spread bets and build several different types of non-fossil fuel solutions. There is also the bridging to pollution mitigation applied to existing coal plants which we will not be able to ramp up to replace for many years.

Replacing 12000 TWh of coal power and 40,000 TWh of oil power will take decades.

Coal to nuclear conversion can rapidly address 30% of CO2 emissions

Coal power is a major producer of global warming emissions Hoping that countries like China, India and Russia will act against their self-interest will not work. It is better to develop realistic solutions, like cleaning up coal.

China's first HTR-PM (pebble bed) reactor will be completed in late 2017 and generate 210 MWe. It is expected to start commercial operation in late 2017. A proposal to construct two 600 MWe HTR plants - each featuring three twin reactor and turbine units - at Ruijin city in China's Jiangxi province passed a preliminary feasibility review in early 2015. The design of the Ruijin HTRs is based on the smaller Shidaowan demonstration HTR-PM. Construction of the Ruijin reactors is expected to start next year, with grid connection in 2021.

The high temperature reactors can replace the coal burners at several hundred supercritical coal plants in China. The lead of the pebble bed project indicates that China plans to replace coal burners with high temperature nuclear pebble bed reactors.

HTR-PM are modular reactors that will be mainly factory mass produced. The first one is taking 6 years to make. The reactor module will head towards about two years to build when they are making them by the dozen.

Overall design of HTR-PM 600

Each NSSS module, identical to those in the demo plant in order to use proven engineering and realize standardization.
6 NSSS identical modules, coupled to one steam turbine for generation, forming one unit.
Maximally, auxiliary systems are shared by multiple modules.
Two unit at a single site.
Cogeneration is possible through steam extraction.

Technical advantages of HTR-PM 600

Inherent safety (no core meltdown) [fuel pebbles can be released by melting a passive plug when temperatures are too high. the pebbles then spread out and cool down below]
Capacity of emergency power supply system is small and allowed start-up time is longer
Elimination or simplification of emergency response, enhanced security
Simplicity: due to enhanced safety, safety-relates systems and auxiliary systems are eliminated or simplified.
Use beyond electricity generation: unique feature

The advantages of converting an existing coal power plant's boilers to nuclear

Boiler Swapping Offers Many Economic and Speed Advantages.

Swapping just the power plant's boiler preserves the power plant, its worker's jobs, its operating permits, the plant's access to cooling water, electrical grids and heavy transportation. What's not to like from a deal like this?

The Advantages of Swapping Out Supersized Boilers: Supersized Power Plants are job one: 2% of the world's 60,000 fossil fuel power plants, 1,200 supersized power plants, are making over 3/4 of coal's Global Warming. The world will never be willing or able to provide much money for Global Warming mitigation. This will enable us to re-use everything else at the power plant - including an already experienced workforce - a strategy much wiser than building the equivalent amount of generating capacity in new windmills.

1. Most of the equipment and all of the grid connections and land are already paid for

2. Already wired to our cities - no grid transmission line construction or permitting needed

3. Already have cooling water

4. Already have access roads

5. Already have railroad tracks

6. Usually have ample land for several additional future units

7. No construction delays. The new nuclear power generator can be built while the coal plant continues to operate

8. Already have proven operators who know the equipment

China has about one third of the most polluting coal plants. Replacing those 400 coal plants would address 10% of CO2 emissions.

China's plans to begin converting coal plants to walk away safe pebble bed nuclear starting in the 2020s

China’s HTR-PM (high temperature pebble bed nuclear reactor) project is squarely aimed at being a cost-effective solution that will virtually eliminate air pollution and CO2 production from selected units of China’s large installed base of modern 600 MWe supercritical coal plants.

It is a deployment program with the first of a kind commercial demonstration approaching construction completion and commercial operation by mid to late 2018. Major parts of the machinery will be able to be merged into the existing infrastructure.

The current critical path item is the completion of the steam generators — one for each of the two reactors. The shells and internals have been completed, but the final stages of attaching the piping to the thick-walled, large diameter pressure vessels will delay site delivery until sometime close to the middle of 2017.

Development challenges were overcome

Zhang Zuoyi gave an excellent overview of the design and testing challenges that the project has faced and overcome. Nearly every item on the list of critical steps for design and testing had been completed.

For example, the development effort included building four different prototypes for the helium circulators. The primary design included magnetic bearings, but the developers knew that they were well past the size limits of proven uses of magnetic bearings so they had a couple of fall back designs. They did not want the project to fail because of failure to deliver on a single component.

In another example, the reactor pressure vessels weigh in at 600 tons, making the act of installing them a very heavy lift that exceeded previously existing capabilities.

As operational experience is gained with the first unit (where two nuclear reactors feed one steam turbine), the developers will be building more boilers and installing them in configurations of six to twelve boilers providing steam to a single steam turbine.

China will replace coal burners with these high temperature nuclear units

In some cases, these nuclear boiler installations will be part of entirely new power stations. The more intriguing aspect of the concept, however, is the fact that the high temperature atomic boilers produce steam conditions that are identical to the design conditions for a large series of modern, 600 MWe steam plants that currently use coal as the heat source.

On March 20, 2016, the first of two reactor pressure vessels was installed at the demonstration HTR-PM high-temperature gas-cooled reactor unit under construction at Shidaowan in China's Shandong province. The twin-reactor unit is scheduled to start up next year. The vessel - about 25 meters in height and weighing about 700 tonnes - was manufactured by Shanghai Electric Nuclear Power Equipment. It successfully completed factory acceptance on 29 February and was dispatched from the manufacturing plant on 2 March. The pressure vessel arrived at the Shidaowan site on 10 March, plant owner China Huaneng Group announced the following day.

A proposal to construct two 600 MWe HTR plants - each featuring three twin reactor and turbine units - at Ruijin city in China's Jiangxi province passed a preliminary feasibility review in early 2015. The design of the Ruijin HTRs is based on the smaller Shidaowan demonstration HTR-PM. Construction of the Ruijin reactors is expected to start next year, with grid connection in 2021.

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