Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

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PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 2:19 pm 

Joined: Dec 14, 2006 1:01 pm
Posts: 380
Over on the section devoted to applications, there's a technical discussion of district heating, in it's own topic. One of the guys from Finland said that vacuum clad pipes have economically transported heating water over 100 Km. And- that wasn't the limit. It's just what he knew had been done.

I've worked as a safety engineer, though not with reactors. A defensible safety criteria for siting might be to multiply fractions of dilution, plume direction from prevailing winds, and release probabilities. The acceptance criteria would be the national standard for exposing uninformed civilians.

Most reactors seem to be 10-30 Km from cities, well within district-heating range.

Modern passively-safe reactors have five layers of containment, with each layer having a failure probability below 1x10^-5 per hour. The resulting 1x10^-25 failures per hour is more than enough so that people can keep it repaired.

This release probability is so low that downtown should be fine. Embrace the Atom!

I think the real issue is political, to look safe. So put it in a nice rustic location a few hills over from the city, next to water. It's really a pity about the extra costs this brings.

PostPosted: Jul 11, 2009 2:46 pm 

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
Posts: 3068
You can't multiply those 5 10^-5 together unless they are independent. By the time you get down to probabilities of 10^-25 there are very rare events (but much more common than 10^-25) that would blow out multiple barriers at a time. We have very little data for such rare events so estimates of probabilites are not very close.

In such a case as a policy person I would push to have you site the reactor away from people, despite the analysis results showing a low probability.
I don't think heating losses for district heating would be enough to convince me to permit a siting inside a city.

I would guess the main argument against siting inside the city also has to do with evacuation planning and notification etc.
If I were an owner I would prefer to site a plant along the main transmission line coming into the city but far enough out that I don't have neighbors that need lots of notification and where I can buy some land cushion around me for physical security. Preferably it would also be reasonably close to a rail line.

By the way, I think these arguments hold even for 100 MWe reactors.

Also, one might want to follow the model of the railroads and Disney and buy a nice chunk of land for an industrial park with nice power provisions.

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