Nuclear District Heating Review

Several nuclear reactor concepts dedicated to low-temperature applications without any turbine cycle have also been developed, and the construction of two Chinese heating reactor prototypes (NHR200-II and DHR-400) is happening now or will start soon. If realized according to schedule, the technology could become commercially available in the 2020’s, which makes nuclear energy a potential option for reducing the CO2 emissions of district heating in Finland as well.

In November 2017 the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) announced the development of a 400 MW pool-type DHR-400 heating reactor, after a successful 168-hour trial run using the “49-2” test reactor at the China Institute of Atomic Energy. The technology, sometimes referred to as “Yanlong”, is based on the earlier DPR studies. The first DHR-400 reactor unit has a construction license. In addition to district heating, the reactor is planned to be used for refrigeration and desalination of seawater, as well as material irradiation and isotope production.

There are also other non-electric uses for nuclear power.

Co-generation of heat and electric power becomes economically feasible when the generating station is located sufficiently close to a major population center. An IAEA report from 2000 lists 49 reactors in Bulgaria, Hungary, Russia, Slovakia, Switzerland and the Ukraine, that were primarily constructed for electricity production, but have also been used to serve district heating needs. The electric output of these reactors varies between 385–953 MWe, and heating capacity from 20 to 240 MW. Since high thermal efficiency for electricity production requires temperatures in the 300°C range, the supply temperatures for the district heating network are
also high, up to 150°C.

SOURCES- VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, A Review of District Heating Reactor Technology, Leppänen, Jaakko. Perspectives on Non-Electric Use of Nuclear Energy. Harri Tuomisto, Fortum, Finland
Written by Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com