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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 07, 2015 9:42 pm 
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That law, imposed by the Socialists, will indeed likely be thrown out of the window if the Socialists lose the election in 2017. However, politics regarding nuclear energy is quite strange in France. On the left, only the Greens (EELV) are adamantly anti-nuclear. But this party has split and is only a marginal force in French politics. The French communists (PCF), on the other hand, have supported nuclear energy.


Well I don't know what is the strategy of the socialists. Maybe they just want to "keep in touch" with the greens and some other anti nuclear left political parties in case they need them in the future (like they did in 1997).

Maybe Fukushima has lowered the confidence of the public about the safety of the industry and so the politicians have to deal with it.

One thing that seems to be accepted by the medias and the establishment is that renewables are good. In France the electricity production is decarbonized since several decades, at relatively low cost and little environmental impact, thanks to nuclear energy, but some people want to replace a part of the nuclear production by renewables (which uses dozens times the amount of material inputs and hundreds of times the area of nuclear energy) just because ... you know ... renewables are cool and it is the future !

Shut nuclear power plants which work and use the rare money to replace them with renewables ... seriously that makes no sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 07, 2015 10:18 pm 
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The French are sitting on enough generating capacity to make electricity one of their biggest exports in Cash terms.

If it hadn't have been for the stagflation of the 70s the CEGB might have followed suit, but the 15% inflation seriously screwed up the economics of the AGR programme (in hindsight the SGHWR was probably the less ambitious design). And then when it finally got the PWR programme on track Thatcher came along and shredded it in favour for a dash for gas, in order to ensure that her privatisation plan would result in reduced electricity prices in order to make it impossible for Labour to run on a renationalisation platform.
(Natural Gas fueled turbines were not permitted until privatisation, which is why early CEGB turbine plant ran on propane for peaking power).

Chernobyl actually had very little effect on the collapse of the British nuclear programme.
And our own nuclear accidents resulted in surprisingly little paranoia.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 08, 2015 12:37 pm 
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Yep, being cost competitive with coal and gas is vital for new nuclear. Let us hope that MSRs can achieve this.

The designs made by all the start-up seem to be in agreement with the current paradigms of the economy : low capital costs, vessels, low power and built in assembly line to minimize the financial risks, etc... (but they lose the economy of scale, at least for now).


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 08, 2015 1:51 pm 
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fab wrote:
Yep, being cost competitive with coal and gas is vital for new nuclear. Let us hope that MSRs can achieve this.
Heck, even GEN III+ reactors could achieve this if they were built in similar numbers.

If Westinghouse were to start one new 4-plex of AP1000s every month, somewhere in the world, and had a guarenttee that this would continue for a minimum of 15 years, the cost of AP1000s would plummet.

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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 08, 2015 3:58 pm 
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Heck, even GEN III+ reactors could achieve this if they were built in similar numbers.


That is true but it seems that MSRs have the potential to be cheaper that ESBWR and AP1000.

For example the amount of steel per MW for the thorcon design is nearly 3 times less that it is required for an AP1000 (see page 26 of the doc http://thorconpower.com/slides/hanford_2015.pdf )


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 08, 2015 11:48 pm 
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Problem is MSRs tend to require more expensive steels than the relatively low alloy materials used in PWRs.

Hastelloy is a lot more expensive than carbon steel.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 09, 2015 9:58 am 
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The amounts of steel that are specified page 26 seem to be carbon steel if I am not mistaken.

When we look page 28 we have the amount of steel for 1 GW : 14640 tonnes which corresponds to the 14.7 metric tonnes of steel per MW in page 26.

And under that we have the amounts of stainless steel and superalloys which are relatively low. I guess that LWRs must use a lot of stainless steel for the pipes (which is maybe taken into account in the page 26 numbers).


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 09, 2015 4:24 pm 
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ThorCon requires 265 tons of High nickel alloy per GWe.
Also 4 tons of TZM, 1427 tons of SUS 316 and 758 tons of SUS304 per GWe.
The remaining 16,771 tons is low alloy steel.
These are nucelar island only numbers.

But what's really important is that ThorCon has nil rebar.
Reinforced concrete is the devil incarnate.
a) Almost impossible to automate,
b) Slow and difficult to parallelize.
c) Nearly impossible to fully inspect.
d) Extremely difficult and expensive to repair.
Comparing steel tons without making the distinction between rebar
and steel plate/beams is meaningless.

Interesting factoid. Most PWR containment rebar is 2.25 inches thick.
This is almost exactly the diameter of a standard American beer can.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Dec 09, 2015 8:20 pm 
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I thought steel plate construction had seen the end of large scale use of rebar?


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Jan 20, 2016 2:58 pm 
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A Quantum of Solace for Areva:

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Ol ... 01164.html

2-3 years from start of I&C testing to start up seems a rather long time.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Jan 24, 2016 12:43 pm 
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More solace: it finally appears that the 6-EPR deal in India will be signed: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/indi ... 691088.cms

And: http://www.reuters.com/article/edf-nucl ... SL8N1554S4
wherein building a total of 30 in France to eventually replace their current 58 reactors is envisaged. Two by 2030 which are to be the EPR-New Model, design work for which is to be complete by 2020.

Of note: the recent MOU of Areva and Lightbridge to work toward a JV. In so far as Lightbridge's new metallic fuel rods promise a 30% uprate, this would make EPRs 2 gigawatts/electric. As well, it is possible that Areva will shuck some of the needless redundant safety systems that appear to be a result of Areva/Siemens capitulating to the German Green Party. Afterall, the new fuel rods are said to operate at 1000*C less than conventional oxide rods' internal temperature, rendering huge safety advantages, especially in the event of a coolant disruption. As well, overall costs per Megawatt should go down considerably. Especially if they could add more modularization like the AP1000, perhaps.

This discussion between Lightbridge and Areva has been going on for over a year, as comments in Lightbridge online Reports to Shareholders indicate.

Nonetheless, I suspect the agreement between China General Nuclear and China Offshore Oil to "bring about an organic fusion of nuclear technology and offshore oil technology" may herald the commercialization rather soon of the type of design being developed at MIT for offshore nuclear plants built in shipyards with virtually no concrete and rebar, at fast, modular rates of construction. And if so, it will cut construction and siting costs enormously. This could be very disruptive to all long range plans for land-based PWRs, including Areva's plans.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Jan 24, 2016 3:42 pm 
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I just wonder how these plans of government-owned EDF, to build 30 EPR-NM reactors, with perhaps a rating of 2 GWe each, can be aligned with the plans of the French government to reduce the share of nuclear to 50% of the electricity mix (it is approx. 75% at the current moment). These 30 new reactors would equate to 60 GWe, which is slightly less than the current nuclear capacity of 63 GWe. This can only be explained if a huge rise in electricity demand is expected in France.

Furthermore, I wonder what this will mean for the French Generation-IV reactor designs, like ASTRID, a sodium-cooled fast reactor, which is likely going to be built. Somehow it is sad if EDF still expects to construct a Generation-III design (the EPR) by 2050. It is to be hoped that the Generation-IV reactors will be ready for deployment by 2040-2050, including the MSR, which is everybody's favorite on this forum.


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Jan 25, 2016 1:14 am 
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'...Lightbridge's new metallic fuel rods promise a 30% uprate, this would make EPRs 2 gigawatts/electric. '
Is this supposed to be through higher operating temperatures, or higher flow rates, or both ?


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Jan 26, 2016 1:04 pm 
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I just wonder how these plans of government-owned EDF, to build 30 EPR-NM reactors, with perhaps a rating of 2 GWe each, can be aligned with the plans of the French government to reduce the share of nuclear to 50% of the electricity mix (it is approx. 75% at the current moment).


Well this depends a lot of future politics.

Quote:
Furthermore, I wonder what this will mean for the French Generation-IV reactor designs, like ASTRID,


ASTRID is a demonstration plant and a mean to keep the experience in the sodium fast reactor field. They don't expect to build a lot of sodium reactors before 2040-2050.

Quote:
'...Lightbridge's new metallic fuel rods promise a 30% uprate, this would make EPRs 2 gigawatts/electric. '
Is this supposed to be through higher operating temperatures, or higher flow rates, or both ?


I suppose that they will primarily increase the flow rate (the margin to ebullition is diminished if they increase the temperature).


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 Post subject: Re: Areva's EPR troubles
PostPosted: Jan 27, 2016 8:13 pm 
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I just looked at LightBridge's description: http://www.ltbridge.com/fueltechnology/generaloverviewoflightbridgesmetallicfueltechnology
The flow rate has to increase, because the fuel has a more efficient thermal coupling.


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