Energy From Thorium Discussion Forum

It is currently Aug 15, 2018 11:42 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Dec 28, 2013 2:16 pm 
Offline

Joined: Feb 28, 2011 10:10 am
Posts: 354
An article was published in the Observer (the Guardian) last week about future nuclear power plant capacity in the UK. An advisory body of the Department of Energy and Climate Change is talking of building up to 50 nuclear reactors in the UK:

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... ergy-plans

This appears to be very ambitious and is somewhat similar to what France did from the mid-1970s to the early 2000s. France now has 58 reactors operating.

BTW, the Guardian also has an interesting columnist, George Monbiot, with a nice article on coal vs. nuclear:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfre ... l-industry


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 28, 2013 4:02 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jun 19, 2013 11:49 am
Posts: 1543
It will never happen, any nuclear reactors built in Britain by the current administration or any administration likely to replace them will be built by throwing enormous public subsidies to private interests who will have no incentive to drive down the cost of energy.

They will demand many hundreds of billions of pounds for such a large reactor park (although I don't believe 75GWe is enough, we will likely need a 100GWe or more to displace all natural gas use domestically and deal with a rising population).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 1:45 am 
Offline

Joined: Dec 31, 2008 12:09 am
Posts: 236
Location: Berkeley, CA
A key recent development is that Toshiba is acquiring a majority stake in the NuGen consortia, with the goal of constructing AP-1000 reactors in the UK,

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/26/britain-nuclear-toshiba-idUSL3N0K50ML20131226

This is important because the Westinghouse AP-1000 uses the most modern modular construction methods of any of the reactors being proposed for construction in the UK, in particular the use of steel-plate/concrete composite structures that are factory fabricated and shipped by rail to sites for assembly.

These module fabrication factories, which are operating now in China and in Lake Charles, LA, use computer aided manufacturing methods quite similar to what is done in modern ship construction, to fabricate large numbers of individually unique sub-modules which, when assembled into full modules at a site, enable assembly a complete reactor. IKEA would be proud.

The high flexibility of these module fabrication factories means that they can also produce modules for new reactor designs, which will reduce the cost of constructing first-of-a-kind new reactor facilities. In some sense, with these technologies one can 3-D print brand new reactor facilities, at costs comparable to n-th-of-a-kind plants built with the same methods. Having this new module fabrication infrastructure in place will make nuclear-energy innovation significantly easier.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 6:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Jun 19, 2013 11:49 am
Posts: 1543
They won't ship by rail in the UK.
The loading gauge is just too restrictive.
It is far more practical to deliver by barge since all sites will be coastal which rather removes any size constraints.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 12:14 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 31, 2008 12:09 am
Posts: 236
Location: Berkeley, CA
E Ireland wrote:
They won't ship by rail in the UK.
The loading gauge is just too restrictive.
It is far more practical to deliver by barge since all sites will be coastal which rather removes any size constraints.


This is an important point.

AP-1000 has now been selected for the Kozloduy plant,

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-AP1000-for-Kozloduy-1612137.html

And they have selected a Czech company, Vitkovice Power Engineering

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/C-Westinghouse_bolsters_Czech_capabilities-2907134.html

to fabricate a mock-up of one of the major AP-1000 modules. The Czech Republic has not yet reached a decision on whether to select Westinghouse or Russian technology for new reactors, but having the module fabrication located in the Czech Republic could probably make a difference in this decision.

In down selecting to a gas turbine technology to study for NACC, where we ended up selecting a rail shippable, 60Hz GE F class turbine, it was noteworthy that the 50 Hz H class turbines sold in Europe tend to be significantly larger, but are only barge shippable.

The South Koreans have also implemented extensive modularization into their new reactor design, including steel-plate/concrete composite structures, for their new construction in the UAE, where again barge shipping will play a major role (as it does with the very large exports of petrochemical facilities from South Korea to the Middle East).

With barge shipping playing a larger role in Europe, I would expect that Westinghouse may perform more pre-assembly of its submodules and gain the benefit of being able to install more equipment at the factory, but would be surprised if they move from their strategy of making the fundamental submodules rail shippable.

It is still difficult to say, in the evolution of nuclear technology, what mammal species will eventually end up displacing the water-cooled dinosaurs. But whatever the technology or technologies end up being, they will need to start out relatively small. Charles Forsberg has made an important observation that high thermal efficiency eliminates the earlier logic for siting nuclear plants near bodies of water. This, plus the practical constraint that novel reactor technologies must start out at smaller size, suggests that FHR/MSR/LFTR reactor concepts should focus on maintaining rail shippability for all components, even if in some markets barges will end up being the more practical solution.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 12:51 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jun 19, 2013 11:49 am
Posts: 1543
The increasing centralisation of grids is going to push reactor power outputs even higher than they are now in the long term (this was noticeable even 15 years ago where a 1GWe plant was considered to be a large design and not a small one).

I don't think modularity is ever going to overturn the huge economies of scale inherent in large LWR units.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 12:56 pm 
Offline

Joined: Apr 28, 2011 10:44 am
Posts: 250
Having spent many years in shipyards,
I can say with some confidence that if you insist on
rail shippable blocks, you will destroy much of the economies and quality control
of block construction.

The yards work very hard to get the blocks
up to 200 to 300 tons before moving them to the building dock.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 1:38 pm 
Offline

Joined: Apr 28, 2011 10:44 am
Posts: 250
Block contruction as practiced by the shipyards
is much more than welding a bunch of plates together
before erection. Each block is pre-piped, pre-wired, pre-coated,
and inspected and tested at sub-assembly, assembly, and block stages.
Mistakes are caught early when they can easily be corrected and normally have no impact
on the overall construction time.

A constraint like rail shipability makes no sense at all,
certainly not until we have saturated the barge accessible sites.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 5:24 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 31, 2008 12:09 am
Posts: 236
Location: Berkeley, CA
These are interesting points. The AP-1000 modules weigh between 300 and 700 tons or so, and are assembled on site from factory prefabricated, rail-shippable sub-modules and then moved into position with heavy lift cranes.

If one has barge access, one could assemble modules at the factory site and then ship by barge to the construction site.

The issue remains that FOAK non-water-cooled reactors will have a difficult time entering the market if they attempt to compete directly with large ALWRs built at sites with barge access.

The market for LWR SMRs will be primarily utilities seeking to add capacity in smaller increments and to obtain more favorable financing terms by having less capital at risk during construction. This market will also be more favorable to FOAK non-water-cooled reactors. But the question remains what the most favorable early economic niches will be for non-water-cooled reactors. Dry, inland sites with rail access is a market where they would be more competitive. Likewise, if they can provide unique services such as peaking electricity or process heat, that LWRs cannot, this also creates an early market that will be more willing to take the technical risks associated with new fuels and materials in non-water-cooled reactors.

The capability to scale reactors from lower power to higher power, while maintaining passive safety, is also important, as with experience at lower power levels larger versions of the same reactors can compete with ALWRs. Both molten salt and sodium technologies have this ability to scale to larger size while maintaining passive safety.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 6:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
Posts: 3065
At least in California, I expect that finding a new nuclear reactor site on any large body of water is going to be very difficult. We will have much less public resistance if the reactors are placed out of site, in relatively unpopulated rolling hills rather than on prime coastal real estate.

I expect it would be much easier to get people agitated and protesting a power plant that one can see from the coast than one in the middle of no-where.

So I'm thinking either rail shippable or perhaps a short custom built, wide rail run from a barge point - just far enough to get out of sight (and in California out of the coastal commission authority).


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 6:23 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 14, 2008 3:12 pm
Posts: 5048
Lars wrote:
At least in California, I expect that finding a new nuclear reactor site on any large body of water is going to be very difficult. We will have much less public resistance if the reactors are placed out of site, in relatively unpopulated rolling hills rather than on prime coastal real estate.

I expect it would be much easier to get people agitated and protesting a power plant that one can see from the coast than one in the middle of no-where.

So I'm thinking either rail shippable or perhaps a short custom built, wide rail run from a barge point - just far enough to get out of sight (and in California out of the coastal commission authority).


There appears to be plenty of low population density coastline between Monterey and San Luis Obispo. The Diablo Canyon NPP is on the south end there already. Bit further north are big state parks like the Limekiln State Park, that conveniently shelter the backland. Put some tall trees around the NPP on the coast, no one will even see it.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 7:17 pm 
Offline

Joined: Aug 29, 2008 4:55 pm
Posts: 495
Location: Idaho Falls, Idaho
put it in Tijuana, Where everyone from the USA can see it but no one can protest it without fear of getting their heads cut off.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 7:32 pm 
Offline

Joined: Jul 28, 2008 10:44 pm
Posts: 3065
Cyril,

Diablo Canyon managed to get a 99 year lease on the land but were not able to actually purchase it.
That undeveloped coastal land is still going to be quite contentious - Californians are in love with their coast line. But go inland by 1 mile and I bet much of the contention fades.

Another possible location would be Camp Pendelton - federal lands, lightly populated, plenty of security, and go inland by 1 mile and no one will see it. Good access to service both San Diego and LA (reuse the existing transmission line right of way from San Onofre).



Ida-Russkie,
Given the gang warfare in northern Mexico I'm not sure I would support putting a nuclear power plant there unless it was on an easily defended island.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 8:45 pm 
Offline

Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am
Posts: 2235
The Russians are building nuclear plant in Turkey and just selling power. It is similar to what the French are doing in UK but the French have very high rates.
Such foreign owned plants could be built on isolated islands. The Russians are also building small floating power plants. I am sure that they could build medium sized plants on one or more barges. The clients could just pay for power and leave safety and regulation to owner/operators.


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Dec 29, 2013 9:48 pm 
Offline

Joined: Dec 31, 2008 12:09 am
Posts: 236
Location: Berkeley, CA
The fortunate point is that there is a very wide range of markets for nuclear power, each with unique conditions. This means that multiple approaches/strategies for nuclear power can, and will be attempted.

In this environment, it's difficult to see how the large evolutionary ALWRs like the EPR can survive, unless (like the AP-1000) they adopt cost-reducing features such as passive safety.

There are multiple reasons why the evolutionary framework is likely to favor smaller reactors during this transition period. Smaller reactors have the benefit of shorter construction times, which in analogy to fruit flies, allows evolution to happen faster. Smaller reactors also have a scale disadvantage, which requires them (to survive) to do some things much better than large reactors if they are to be built at all.

There is a list of things that smaller reactors might do better than big reactors, that includes a list of flexibility abilities that make these reactors acceptable for applications such as process heat and peaking power production.

Designers of small reactors also have very strong incentives to find approaches to simplify their designs, because in the end design simplification is the best strategy for small reactors to compete with large reactors. So there has been a major thread under the NACC topic about eliminating intermediate loops in FHRs. FHRs should hate having dirty intermediate salts around, that could contaminate the primary salt with neutron-absorbing salt if an IHX leaks, and thus should love the elimination of intermediate loops. But for small FHRs, elimination of the intermediate loop is probably an issue for survival, while really big FHRs could probably live with an intermediate loop. So small reactors are more likely to drive important technology advances than large reactors (look at the list of major regulatory issues that LWR-SMRs are likely to affect, ranging from control-room staffing to licensing fees).

So there is a reason to support a nuclear energy ecosystem that has roles and support for smaller reactors. Any nation that develops markets that rely upon small reactors will gain a lot in its ability to lead in innovation and improvement of nuclear energy technology, in general.


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 26 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group