Energy Information Administration Report: Double US Nuclear Power by 2030 to Meet Affordable Climate Goals

An 81 page pdf report from the energy Information Adminstration analysing the current Waxman Energy/climate bill

The EIA projected that to keep the costs of implementing the bill low for consumers — about $339 extra per household in 2030 according to their basic scenario — nuclear energy use would rise from 8 quadrillion BTUs a year to 16 quadrillion, or from 11.3 percent of total U.S. energy to 18.1 percent

The most affordable options for the consumer add 44-96 GWe of nuclear power by 2030. See the end of this article with charts and details.

The basic case above is showing an increase from 8 quadrillion BTU for nuclear energy going to 16 quadrillion BTU. (Double nuclear energy in the USA). Some say this cannot be done. What it would take is completing the development of annular fuel (dual cooled fuel). This fuel modification enables existing nuclear power plants to be uprated by up to 50%. The plants would safely generate 50% more power after the modification. Uprates are performed in 12-18 months of downtime.

Korea is researching the dual cooled uprating technology. The annular fuel technology was initially developed and is still being looked into by MIT and westinghouse. More details on regular uprating and this new uprating is later in this article (as well as the link before this sentence).

Faster and cheaper nuclear power plant construction is being deployed in South Korea and China. Construction using factory produced modules is shortening construction time to 36 months (overall construction is targeting 5 years).

Another possibility is starting in about 2020, the USA can start importing complete smaller reactors from China where the costs for reactor construction are 2-4 times lower. China will have pebble bed reactors which could be shipped to the USA. The first commercial scale pebble bed reactor should be completed in 2013 in China. Construction is starting Sept 2009. Russia is also developing floating reactors (first one completes 2011-2012) and a small shippable breeder reactor is being developed.

Main Analysis Cases

The ACESA Basic Case represents an environment where key low-emissions technologies, including nuclear, fossil with CCS, and various renewables, are developed and deployed on a large scale in a timeframe consistent with the emissions reduction requirements of ACESA without encountering any major obstacles. It also assumes that the use of offsets, both domestic and international, is not overly constrained by cost, regulation, or the pace of negotiations with key countries covering key sectors. In anticipation of increasingly stringent caps and rising allowance prices after 2030, covered entities and investors are assumed to amass an aggregate allowance bank of approximately 13 billion metric tons by 2030 through a combination of offset usage and emission reductions that exceed the level required under the emission caps.

The ACESA High Cost Case is similar to the ACESA Basic Case except that the costs of nuclear, fossil with CCS, and biomass generating technologies are assumed to be 50 percent higher. There is great uncertainty about the costs of these technologies, as well as the feasibility of introducing them rapidly on a large scale. Cost estimates for these technologies rose rapidly from 2000 through 2008 and have only recently begun to moderate. The actual costs of these technologies will not become clearer until a number of full-scale projects are constructed and brought on line.

The ACESA No International Case is similar to the ACESA Basic Case but represents an environment where the use of international offsets is severely limited by cost, regulation, and/or slow progress in reaching international agreements or arrangements covering offsets in key countries and sectors. The regulations that will govern the use of offsets have yet to be developed and their availability will depend on actions taken in the United States and around the world. It is possible that some significant portion of the potential international offsets will not be able to meet all of the requirements set forth in ACESA or, in meeting them, will make them uneconomical.

Uprating Existing Nuclear Reactors

The design of every U.S. commercial reactor has the excess capacity needed to potentially allow for an uprate, which can fall into one of three categories: 1) measurement uncertainty recapture power uprates, 2) stretch power uprates, and 3) extended power uprates.
1) Measurement uncertainty recapture power uprates are power increases less than 2 percent of the licensed power level, and are achieved by implementing enhanced techniques for calculating reactor power. This involves the use of state of the art devices to more precisely measure feedwater flow which is used to calculate reactor power. More precise measurements reduce the degree of uncertainty in the power level which is used by analysts to predict the ability of the reactor to be safely shut down under possible accident conditions.
2) Stretch power uprates are typically between 2 % and 7 %, with the actual increase in power depending on a plant design’s specific operating margin. Stretch power uprates usually involve changes to instrumentation settings but do not involve major plant modifications.
3) Extended power uprates are greater than stretch power uprates and have been approved for increases as high as 20 %. Extended power uprates usually require significant modifications to major pieces of non-nuclear equipment such as high-pressure turbines, condensate pumps and motors, main generators, and/or transformers.
Exelon’s uprate projects use proven technologies and are overseen by the US? Nuclear Regulatory Commission(NRC.) They fall into four general categories:

* “Measurement uncertainty recapture” (MUR) uprates, in which more accurate metering allows more precise reactor operations and more electrical output. MUR uprates increase reactor thermal power and require NRC approval.
* Extended power uprates, in which reactor power can be safely increased by up to 20 % after careful, rigorous analysis, equipment upgrades and NRC approval.
* Generator rewinds, in which replacing certain generator components with new copper makes it possible for the generator to produce more electricity. Power plants will continue to meet all NRC license basis requirements.
* Turbine retrofits, in which advanced technology has allowed production of new and better shapes and sizes of turbine parts, such as blades, rotors and casings. These new parts make the turbines more efficient, akin to improving the gas mileage on an automobile by using computer-controlled fuel injection rather than a carburetor. Power plants will continue to meet all NRC license basis requirements.

An approximate 38-megawatt increase in output at an Exelon Nuclear plant last week launched a series of planned power uprates across the company’s nuclear fleet that will generate between 1,300 and 1,500 MW of additional generation capacity within eight years.

Annular Fuel (Dual Cooled Fuel) Progressing to Implementation in Korea

There is advanced nuclear fuel technology under development which could enable a significant increase in nuclear power generation. The technology is referred to as annular fuel or dual cooled fuel. The new fuels could enable ultra power uprates for existing pressure water reactors of from 20-50% by safely enabling a higher power density and uprates for existing boiler water reactors by 20-30%.

Annular fuel is especially well suited for pressurized water reactors, which make up 60% of the world’s 443 reactors. The designer, MIT Professor Pavell Hejzlar says that utilities in the U.S., Japan, and South Korea have expressed interest in his design. The annular fuel would boost power by up to 50%. Nanoparticles in fluid would boost power by 20% for existing reactors and 40% for new reactors. Cross-shaped spiral design would boost boiler water reactors by 30%. The MIT fuel is thin walled donuts with pellets inside and using nanoparticles in the fluid.

Korea is studying MIT’s annular fuel and they think can achieve 20% uprates with minimal changes to the existing plants.

Research abstract on the work to resolve the details of implementing annular fuel for Korean reactors

Technical paper on Korean annular fuel research

Annular fuel allows PWR (what is PWR) power density to be raised by 50% within current safety limits. The sintered fuel pellets appear viable with appropriate manufacturing need lead tests. Annular fuel uprating is economic, depending on plant remaining lifetime, with IRR (pls spell out IRR) from 20% to 27%

A Potential of Dual Cooled Annular Fuel for OPR-1000 Power Uprate
T-H Chun, C-W Shin, W-K In, K-H Lee, K-H Bae, K-W Song (KAERI-Korea)

A highly promising concept of externally and internally cooled annular fuel for PWRs was studied earlier by MIT to increase the power density substantially. The reference plant of the study was the standard Westinghouse PWR. The purpose of this study is to evaluate a potential of the annular fuels for the OPR-1000 in Korea in terms of power uprate along with different constraints. The constraints are those considerations like more adaptive to the existing power plants by means with fewer changes on the plant system components and less impact on the current fuel design practice. Specifically, first of all, the fuel array configuration has to be structurally compatible with the current solid fuel in the operation of current control rod driving mechanism. Others are no reactor coolant pump changes, same core outlet temperature in standpoint of the plant system and operation, and 3 batch reload, fuel enrichment less than 5 w/o, maximum fuel burn-up less than 60 Mwd/kgU for the fuel management scheme. In this paper a proposed annular fuel for OPR will show the satisfaction of power uprate up to 20% through the reactor physics analysis, thermal-hydraulic analysis and safety analysis.

Structural integrity of the components of a dual-cooled fuel rod is studied in this paper. The investigated topics are: i) the thickness determination of a cladding tube (especially outer tube of a large diameter), ii) vibration issue of an inner cladding tube, iii) design concern of plenum spring and spacer.

A Study on the Structural Integrity Issues of a Dual-Cooled Fuel Rod
Hyung-Kyu Kim*, Kang-Hee Lee, Young-Ho Lee, Kyung-Ho Yoon, Jae-Yong Kim, Kun-Woo Song
Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute,

Irradiation Test of Dual-cooled Annular Fuel Pellets
Yong Sik Yang1, Dae Ho Kim1, Je Geon Bang1, Hyung Kyu Kim1, Tae Hyun Chun1, Keon
Sik Kim1, Chul Gyo Seo2, Hee Taek Chae2, Kun Woo Song1 Innovative Nuclear Fuel Division,

Thermo-mechanical analysis of a dual cooled annular fuel behavior
Ju-Seong Kima, Yong-Soo Kima+, Yong-Sik Yangb, Je-Geon Bangb, KunWoo Songb
a Hanyang University, bKorea Atomic Energy Research Institute,

The maximum temperature of the annular pellet turn out to be below 700_, even in 200% power up-rated conditions, pellet temperature remains below 950_. Furthermore in accident conditions, sub-channel local boiling occurs, pellet temperature is still below 1000_ that is very small value compare to existing solid fuel.

EIA Cost Estimates for the Different Cases

The energy bill increases the cost of using energy. Using more nuclear energy reduces the cost to the economy. The limited case where you do not use nuclear is the most expensive and the ones where you add more nuclear power are more affordable.

ACESA increases the cost of using energy, which reduces real economic output, reduces purchasing power, and lowers aggregate demand for goods and services. The result is that projected real gross domestic product (GDP) generally falls relative to the Reference Case. Total discounted GDP losses over the 2012 to 2030 time period are $566 billion (-0.3 percent) in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range from $432 billion (-0.2 percent) to $1,897 billion (-0.9 percent) across the main ACESA cases (Table ES-2). Similarly, the cumulative discounted losses for personal consumption are $273 billion (-0.2 percent) in the ACESA Basic Case and range from $196 billion (-0.1 percent) to $988 billion (-0.7 percent). GDP losses in 2030, the last year explicitly modeled in this analysis, range from $104 billion to $453 billion (-0.5 to -2.3 percent), while consumption losses in that year range from $36 billion to $180 billion (-0.3 to -1.3 percent). The estimated 2030 GDP and consumption losses in the ACESA No International/Limited Case, at the top of these ranges, are nearly or more than twice as large as those in the ACESA No International and High Cost Cases, which have the next highest level of impacts.

Consumption and energy bill impacts can also be expressed on a per household basis in particular years. In 2020, the reduction in household consumption is $134 (2007 dollars) in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range of $30 to $362 across all main ACESA cases. In 2030, household consumption is reduced by $339 in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range of $157 to $850 per Energy Information Administration / Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the ACESA of 2009 Energy Information Administration / Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the ACESA of 2009 household across all main ACESA cases. By 2030, the estimated reductions in household consumption in the ACESA No International/Limited Case, at the top of these ranges, are approximately double the impacts in the ACESA High Cost Case, which has the next highest level of impacts


Increases in energy prices impact households not only for the energy used in the house, but also for transportation costs and products they buy on an everyday basis. Several provisions in ACESA direct that the funds generated from emissions allowance auctions or the sale of freely allocated allowances be used to ameliorate the adverse impact on households. In addition to the funds generated for low-income households through the auctioning of 15 percent of the allowances allocated each year, local electricity and natural gas distribution companies are also directed to use freely allocated allowances to minimize the impact on residential energy consumers. These provisions, along with the energy efficiency programs such as building codes, partially shield residential consumers from significant increases in energy expenditures for uses Energy Information Administration / Energy Market and Economic Impacts of H.R. 2454, the ACESA of 2009 inside the house. Transportation costs, however, do increase significantly on a per-household basis since there are no provisions designed to dampen motor gasoline price impacts.

As a result of the provisions in ACESA, the average household can expect increases in the cost of the energy they use to heat and cool their homes as well as the cost to operate their vehicles. Figures 24 and 25 depict these cost increases as well as the increase in the cost to purchase more energy-efficient equipment as a result of more stringent building codes. Since the building codes affect only new construction on an annual basis and the annualized cost (over 15 years) is spread out over all households in Figures 24 and 25, the impact of the increase in this cost is relatively small. Based on the three cost measures represented in Figure 24, households can expect an increase of $165 in 2020 in the ACESA Basic Case, with a range of $103 to $767 across the ACESA main cases. Increases in light-duty vehicle energy expenditures account for about 81 percent of the increase in 2020 in the ACESA Basic Case. In 2030, the cost to the consumers increases to $501 per household in the ACESA Basic Case, with the non-transportation costs accounting for about 52 percent of the increase (Figure 25). In 2030, the increased costs to households range from $263 to $1,870 across the ACESA main cases. The higher cost impacts in 2030 are stimulated by the rising allowances costs and the phase-out of the freely allocated allowances to electricity and natural gas distribution companies that begins in 2025.