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PostPosted: Dec 25, 2014 12:33 am 
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In the forum, generally we have taken an adversary position against other types of energy systems and focussed on same type of comments by votaries of other energy and thinkers and writers on energy in general. On the contrary, nuclear energy and molten salt can combine to provide an energy storage system not only to follow demand but also to accommodate intermittent renewable sources.
Nuclear energy can be effectively stored as heat in a suitable molten salt eutectic. This heat can be converted to electricity or other uses as and when required. Salts combinations are available for any suitable melting point. If we use 30-90 percent molten salt, the heat can be stored or used up at a constant temperature as phase change energy.


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PostPosted: Dec 25, 2014 2:43 am 
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Dar Jagdish,

a molten salt storage is indeed technical possible. It is realized for example in the Andasol solar thermal power plants. They use 28000tons of a NaNO3/KNO3 salt mixture to have a storage for 50 MW for a couple of hours. Due to nearly unlimited subsidies it works.

If you plan to use a FLIBE salt (Li7 enriched) with a nickel based structure material around it becomes an very very expensive energy storage.

Today the most economic energy storages are water based pump storages. These storages are done by blocking a valley in the mountains with a wall some pipes and water turbines/pumps and a river in a lower valley.

There is no conflict between solar/wind and nuclear but a conflict between solar/wind and the requirements of an economic and reliable energy supply that is vital for industrial societies.


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PostPosted: Dec 25, 2014 3:01 am 
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Jagdish. As an engineer when I look at a system I try and look at complexity, number of things that need to be developed, and cost, among other things when deciding what path to take.

Take the hypothetical case of an island with a 250 MW base load, and a 500 MW peak load. We could use a one core 250MWe ThorCon reactor, and a salt storage system that will supply enough storage, about 280,000 tons, to last one day of peaking power, the 250 MW above the reactors capacity. With this system you put in enough solar and wind to supply the load above the 250 MW base load from your reactor. You would still need a 250 MW gas peaking plant for the times there is little wind or solar for more than a day. You also need the new transmission lines from the solar, and wind farms to close to the loads. Now compare that with adding a second core and generator to the reactor. It would be hard to make a case that the system with nuclear, wind, and solar would be less complex, and cost less than nuclear alone.

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Although environmental groups say we must reduce CO2 to prevent global warming they can never mention the “N” word as part of the solution.


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PostPosted: Dec 25, 2014 10:36 am 
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Tom,
Now imagine an island with a 180MW baseload and a 400MW peak load that averages out to 245MW. Should you put in a second 250MW core or put in salt storage with some extra turbines?

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PostPosted: Dec 25, 2014 9:33 pm 
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Wind or solar would not get higher than 10-20%of total load. The variations between availability and demand could be easily covered by salt storage. If you start looking at worst situation, you get into negative thinking territory.


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PostPosted: Dec 26, 2014 11:16 am 
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For the west the reality will be an existing installed base of solar with promised made to support net metering (that is buy the surplus daytime generation at retail rates). Politically, this will be very hard to reverse. Hopefully, we can soon stop making such foolish promises that transfer money from the poor to the upper middle class but do so very inefficiently. But the reality likely is that future energy system will presume this is the installed base and you have to adapt to it. In such an environment with solar+wind variability exceeding the capacity of hydro + pumped storage to compensate any nuclear installs will have to compete with natural gas. Given that environment I do think a few hours storage of the nuclear power is both economic and sensible.

We still need to stop making the net metering promise and stop subsidizing the installation of solar and wind but it is not because of nuclear - rather it is because it is poor policy to install these in excess of the hydro capacity to compensate. They should be viewed as possible ways to extend the hydro capacity and nothing more.


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PostPosted: Dec 26, 2014 10:12 pm 
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They don't even extend hydro because, at least in the western United states, water is released/held for irrigation,flood control and to promote fish runs. It is never regulated for power production.


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PostPosted: Dec 26, 2014 11:20 pm 
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Which is a simpler system, two molten salt reactors or a molten salt reactor backing up some sort of wind, sun and maybe even pumped hydro thing? I think in most cases it will be simpler to use the molten salt reactor. (This is, of course, assuming one ever gets built.) The Keep It Simple idea often works.

Having wind turbines and a molten salt reactor is like extra parts.

"Parts left out cost nothing and can't fail" - Charles F Kettering

Other Kettering quotes, worth a look:

http://www.todayinsci.com/K/Kettering_Charles/KetteringCharles-Quotations.htm


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PostPosted: Dec 27, 2014 12:14 am 
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Hmmm... I have an issue with the "all of the above" answers that people give to avoid facing the reality of energy systems. Assume that was the public answer for transportation. I would need horses, camels, donkeys, cars, boats, airplanes, blimps, bicycles, tricycles, and a few rickshaws, and maybe some other things I can not think of this moment. A better answer would be what is the situation, what is the need, and this is the answer that optimizes the economics to meet your needs. Typically that would involve some mass produced components to reduce the price. I don't know, maybe something like bicycles and cars would meet my needs and any additional requirements would be up to me to decide and pay for -- without asking you to subsidize my new Gulfstream 650 jet, just because I want it and have some emotional reason to think so...

We do energy sort of backwards. Let's see, we have wind, and oh yeah, you have to have solar, and your car needs biomass, etc. Oh, you live in Germany? That latitude thing is bothersome. Well, no matter, your neighbor will pay for the extra cost. But wait a minute, I live in the USA and I have to pay extra costs as well, for one off designs with cost overruns, wind and solar at retail price when I don't need the kW-hrs at that time -- so some other guy can make some money, and all the while I seem to remember my grandfather complaining about when he could not water the horses because the wind was not blowing the windmill. And those pesky nuclear engineers want to provide base load and even some of the load following -- why, that would make electricity affordable for far more people, and our economy would have an advantage in the world's marketplace. "Best of Class" needs to keep out of the limelight and be demonized.

"All of the above" guarantees an un-optimized and more costly solution. How can that not be true? It seems to be people say "all of the above" as a way to dodge the energy question and avoid real analysis. I always feel the need to scream my car does not like to graze on corn and no one who studies it would disagree.

No doubt there are wonderfully thought-out technical reasons for "all of the above" and the need to adopt that credo for even more things. I wonder if it works for golf -- I play a lot of golf... if I used "all of the above equipment," including crappy cheap clubs and balls as well as the expensive stuff too, I could pay more to have it all, and get inconsistent poor performance with the game I enjoy so much. "All of the above" does not actually make sense to me. The best answer that makes economic sense including the environment seems such a better statement.


Last edited by rc1111 on Dec 27, 2014 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Dec 27, 2014 12:17 am 
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KitemanSA wrote:
Now imagine an island with a 180MW baseload and a 400MW peak load that averages out to 245MW. Should you put in a second 250MW core or put in salt storage with some extra turbines?
Jagdish. Lets use your hypothetical case. We have a one core ThorCon reactor that can deliver 250 MWe. Its thermal output, that is heating salt, is 550 MWt, (their spec), I will also assume that the night time load is level at 180 MWe, ( I assume electric vehicles will charge at night), and the day time load is a sinusoid peaking at 400 MWe. During the 12 hours of daylight we need an average of 83 MWe more than our night time output. If we had your thermal storage system we could employ the unused thermal output from the reactor at night to supply the needed heat for your storage system. This leaves us about 13 MWe, average, short. Wind and solar could make up this shortfall, however this would also require new transmission lines, and a backup gas turbine plant, and its fuel supply, and that system has no room for growth except by adding more storage, wind machines, and solar farms.

Now by just adding one core to the ThorCon plant, which takes a few weeks, we have a system that does everything, and has 20% margin for growth built in. This is what I mean when I say look at complexity, the KISS principle.

Edited to fix unit prefixes. Milli Watt reactors are for ant colonies :oops: .

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Although environmental groups say we must reduce CO2 to prevent global warming they can never mention the “N” word as part of the solution.


Last edited by Tomswift on Jan 03, 2015 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Dec 27, 2014 1:26 am 
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For greenfield deployments (places where there is little existing power plant generation) I think nuclear can meet the whole demand cost effectively. I expect this will entail some heat storage since the peaks are typically only two hours a day and it seems cost ineffective to build nuclear power plant capacity that only gets used a couple of hours a day.

However, in the US, Europe, and Japan we already have a lot of electrical power generation. And I suspect politically we will not turn off the solar panels nor will we shift the costs they impose on the grid to them. (Not that I think this best, right or fair). Given that environment we may well need thermal storage with the nuclear power plants. One significant cost disadvantage we (nuclear) has is that it is socially acceptable to put in a gas pipeline and power plant close to a city and accept tens of deaths a year as a result - but for nuclear we often place the plants long distances from populations despite a death rate of a few per century. If we use thermal storage at nuclear plants that are far from the load the transmission line expenses to handle the surge load will be problematic.


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PostPosted: Dec 28, 2014 10:59 am 
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"but for nuclear we often place the plants long distances from populations despite a death rate of a few per century. If we use thermal storage at nuclear plants that are far from the load the transmission line expenses to handle the surge load will be problematic."

OK - You build this nuclear plant out in a less populated area. It's a big investment. You make deals with the local populace to get the thing built. You may buy them a new school or even give them free cable TV. In addition the investment of billions of dollars makes the nuke plant pay the lion's share of the property taxes.

With low property taxes, people see a real advantage to building homes near the nuclear plant. People living there means services are needed like stores and barbershops. People move in to provide those services. Nuke plants pay well so the living is quite good for many.

Areas with nuclear plants are not packed in like old cities and have the goods and services you want and need. It is kind of an unwritten benefit of nuclear power. (At least in parts of the US)


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PostPosted: Dec 28, 2014 2:05 pm 
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Dear Eino,

this is about the same in other parts of the world.

In Germany the nuke operators have to pay local taxes (Gewerbesteuer). As they are usually the big payers of this tax the small communities built nice schools, public libraries, public pools and whatever. Now as the nukes gets shut-down by the green socialist politicians (anti nuclear, climate hoax, no genetic modified food...) these communities suffer a lot and are in financial trouble.

In Switzerland where I`m living now the shut down of the nukes is planned for 2019 - about 2040. The communities will face the same challenges.

The difference is that central Europe is densly populated. 400 (1 block) to 800 (double block) nuke workers plus contractors does not Change a lot concerning services and retail.


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PostPosted: Dec 29, 2014 9:07 pm 
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Eino wrote:
Which is a simpler system, two molten salt reactors or a molten salt reactor backing up some sort of wind, sun and maybe even pumped hydro thing? I think in most cases it will be simpler to use the molten salt reactor. (This is, of course, assuming one ever gets built.) The Keep It Simple idea often works.

Having wind turbines and a molten salt reactor is like extra parts.

"Parts left out cost nothing and can't fail" - Charles F Kettering

Other Kettering quotes, worth a look:

http://www.todayinsci.com/K/Kettering_Charles/KetteringCharles-Quotations.htm



"A problem well stated is a problem half-solved. "

I plan to add that to an opening slide in my future Black Belt project presentations...

Good stuff...


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PostPosted: Dec 31, 2014 11:41 am 
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Tomswift wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
Now imagine an island with a 180MW baseload and a 400MW peak load that averages out to 245MW. Should you put in a second 250MW core or put in salt storage with some extra turbines?
Jagdish. Lets use your hypothetical case. We have a one core ThorCon reactor that can deliver 250 mWe. Its thermal output, that is heating salt, is 550 mWt, (their spec)...

Tom, I'm pretty damn sure that ThorCon's specifications are NOT for a 250 MILLIwatt reactor.
Would you please use proper notation?

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