UPDATE. Adding a missed article.
From Idaho Samizdat Exelon and Entergy are retreating from new nuclear reactor builds
Costs, risks, and lack of a price on carbon all play in their decisions.
The potential MSR/LFTR cost advantages are discussed. The factory based mass production of small (about 100 MWe) LFTRs is mentioned, as is the usefulness of LFTRs in providing developing nations energy at very reasonable costs.
Given the diminished scale of LFTRs, it seems reasonable to project that reactors of 100 megawatts can be factory produced for a cost of around $200 million. Boeing, producing one $200 million airplane per day, could be a model for LFTR production.
The coal2nuclear conversion idea is reported.
One potential role for mass-produced LFTR plants could be repla ing the power generation components of existing fossil-fuel fired plants, while integrating with the existing electrical-distribution infrastructure already wired to those sites. The savings from adapting existing infrastructure could be very large indeed.
Research and development of the Indian AHWR300-LEU is proceeding at the
Baba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai. The Low Enrichment Uranium Advanced Heavy Water Reactor 300 MWe is a Generation III+ reactor with many advanced features. The AHWR300 is being designed for a 100 year life span.
Several features differentiate the new Indian design with past Indian PHWRs. They include:
• Using heavy water at low pressure reduces potential for leakages
• Recovery of heat generated in the moderator for feedwater heating
• Elimination of major components and equipment such as primary coolant pumps and drive motors, associated control and power supply equipment and corresponding savings of electrical power required to run these pumps
• Shop-assembled coolant channels, with features to enable quick replacement of pressure tube alone, without affecting other installed channel components
• 100-year reactor design life
The size and complexity of the Indian metal fueled fast breeder R&D program should give pause to any proposed IFR (Integral Fast Reactor) in the United States. The Indian’s appear to believe that the development of a commercial metal fueled fast breeder would be a very significant and expensive challenge. Indeed the Indian development program, if paralleled in the United States might run to costs as high as $50 billion.
After allowing for the benefits from improved energy efficiency, I estimate the world needs to generate roughly 10 terawatts (10,000 gigawatts) of electricity as “clean energy” worldwide by 2050 – a five-fold increase on the energy used today. The world’s current nuclear power capacity, amounting to 380 gigawatts of electricity, has been built up over 50 years. The goal of 10 TWe by 2050 would require a rate of building some 30 times faster.
Integral fast reactors and liquid fluoride thorium reactors have so far operated successfully only as demonstration plants and experimental reactors. Nevertheless, a 500-megawatt (0.5 gigawatt) fast reactor is to become operational in India during 2010.
A combination of third and fourth generation nuclear reactors is needed.
Lugar proposes $36 billion in additional loan guarantees for 2011 (for a total of $54 billion), equal to the amount requested in the 2011 DOE budget request.
The US invests about $5 billion right now for all energy research and development. the American Energy Innovation Council recommended an energy research budget for increasing $16 billion in 5 years so that we explore all energy technologies.
The other study that gives a broad picture of the energy world (particularly electric) is Edison Electric Institute’s 2009 Financial Review. For the numbers geek out there, the report has gobs of figures. For instance, at the end of 2009, the total assets of US shareholder-owned electric utilities who represent nearly 60 percent of total US capacity was more than $1.1 trillion, up 3% from 2008
If this Nickel64 theory is proven correct then the current low levels of nickel production (1.4 million tons) could still replace the use of half of the oil used in the world in a year (1.5 billion tons of oil is about half of the oil used.)
If you liked this article, please give it a quick review on Reddit, or StumbleUpon. Thanks
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.