Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

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macpacheco
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by macpacheco » Nov 27, 2016 6:30 am

Amur_Tiger wrote:My understanding is that fuel makes up a relatively small amount of even operational costs, nevermind the cost of initial investment ( and insurance based on long build times ).

From what I've heard and read about IMSR it should have a fairly easy time getting less cost per MWe in generation, especially if we're limiting scope to Western designs. It would actually be interesting to know just how much money would have to be spent on fuel and waste management to neutralize the advantage of halving the capital costs and workforce ( simpler passive safety suggests that staff on site should go down as well after all).

Edit:

Just to quantify this a bit more the AP-1000s in the US seem to be coming in at around 7 billion each. You'd need the largest IMSR to come in at less then 1.75 billion to beat capital costs at which point it starts to become economically attractive. How realisitc or not is that?
Conceptually if the core is 100% factory built and shipped in a single module and is substantially simpler than water cooled reactors, combined with thermodynamic efficiency around 50% (less thermal power produces same electricity), the concept does have a lot of potential.
The basic advantages of an MSR, combined with Dr LeBlanc extreme KISS design approach should succeed.
Unfortunately Terrestrial has been quite silent about the details for a design that could be submitted to the CNSC for approval in a year or two. They have little to gain by divulging their latest design choices and a lot to loose as competitors pick apart their design, trying to find problems everywhere (real or not).

I can only hope that CNSC actually makes their life substantially easier than NRC certification. Its one thing to offer an easier certification path, but until a vendor actually gets final approval, we can only hope that path will actually be substantially easier. They can always invent pot holes along the way, like the NRC does all the time.

I suggest studying on public general MSR advantages. Those substantiate a lot of reasons why Terrestrial should succeed. Fingers crossed.
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jagdish
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by jagdish » Nov 27, 2016 9:20 am

E Ireland wrote:It appears that new build CANDUs may be back on the agenda - Ontario Hydro has recently increased its estimate of its required quantity of reactor grade heavy water to allow for two new units, and with all but two of its reactors operating it appears the nuclear output drought is over. [The two that are still shut down are Pickering A units that were written off before the other units were overhauled and returned to service]
If the new CANDU's use Thorium-LEU fuel as in the study for Indian ahwr-leu, it could
1. Produce more power per tube
2. Have longer fuel life.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6OcA2 ... wYzlk/view
Vertical tubes are not necessary.

Amur_Tiger
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by Amur_Tiger » Nov 28, 2016 10:20 am

E Ireland wrote:It appears that new build CANDUs may be back on the agenda - Ontario Hydro has recently increased its estimate of its required quantity of reactor grade heavy water to allow for two new units, and with all but two of its reactors operating it appears the nuclear output drought is over. [The two that are still shut down are Pickering A units that were written off before the other units were overhauled and returned to service]
I wonder how much of that has to do with a desire to keep a lot of nuclear power on the grid when they're doing their overhauls.

jagdish
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by jagdish » Jan 25, 2017 3:00 am

TERRESTRIAL ENERGY PUTS NRC ON NOTICE: 2019 ADVANCED LICENSE SUBMITTAL COMING
IMSR seems to be proceeding well. It will not be a breeder but it could be the first commercial MSR.
Addition of a metallic thorium blanket in later versions could provide the necessary additional fissile in form of superior fissile U-233.

macpacheco
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by macpacheco » Jan 25, 2017 5:34 am

Not a breeder but 4x the burnup of PWR/LWR with lower enrichment levels plus 50% turbine efficiency.
Enough to replace every coal/gas/oil/old nuclear plant with IMSR and keep the same uranium mining and enrichment facilities.
I think they deserve far more love.
The real bottleneck is getting the first MSRs to market and make water cooled reactors 100% obsolete.
Once GE/Westinghouse/Areva/... gives up on doing water cooled reactors and start looking for MSR as the future, everybody that's doing MSR design today will have a job and great funding (if they want to submit to big corporations).
If Terrestrial fails, likely all MSRs fail, cause they're the only effort that is truly KISS based no ideology, just pragmatism.
Less dreaming more results, please !
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alexterrell
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by alexterrell » Jan 27, 2017 3:57 am

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Te ... 11701.html
Terrestrial said it intends to start "pre-application interactions" with the regulator this year and to make its licensing application in late 2019
How long will US regulatory approval take?
We could perhaps see this approved in 2024, and operating in 2027?

Terrestrial might have to choose where they focus, with efforts in Canada, USA, and the UK.

jagdish
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by jagdish » Jan 27, 2017 4:54 am

They may want to keep their choices open but focus on Canada.
With improved prospects of Keystone and Dakota pipelines, providing steam to soften bitumen sands could be the earliest profitable use. The first ever commercial MSR is a great landmark.

macpacheco
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by macpacheco » Jan 27, 2017 9:25 am

alexterrell wrote:http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Te ... 11701.html
How long will US regulatory approval take?
We could perhaps see this approved in 2024, and operating in 2027?

Terrestrial might have to choose where they focus, with efforts in Canada, USA, and the UK.
Unlikely. The current status quo is that the NRC has to first write its molten salt regulations before a licensee can even actually write its regulatory application.
For instance, will the NRC might require a drain tank ? Terrestrial isn't going with a drain tank. Transatomic and Flibe seem to be.
Who will pay for the tens of millions US$ required to fund the writing for those regulations ? Who outside the NRC will review and submit criticism (and then pay for those criticisms to be reviewed) ?
Any down to earth person should be quite skeptical the NRC will actually provide a viable pathway to MSR certification before 2020.
I interpret that statement from Terrestrial as a means to put pressure on the NRC to get its act together.
My expectation is that Terrestrial might have its first IMSR operating at full power in Canada at the same time its actually able to submit their design for certification in the USA, because the NRC's act on MSR will still be messed up for a long time.

US citizens should be writing to their congress man/woman and senators demanding NRC framework for MSR certification mimics Canadian and UK regulations (performance based, limited up to say 1000MWt power).
In a performance based framework, the NRC would just write up a list of broad safety requirements that must be met, leaving it up to the licensee to find the best way to meet those. Once the NRC gains insight into MSR operations, safety profile, then it can write a set of specific ways MSRs must achieve safety, which would be required before high power MSRs can be certified (above 1000MWt in that example).
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jagdish
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by jagdish » Jan 29, 2017 3:15 am

They could build the plant in Canada and export the power to the US. May be simpler unless politically resisted.

jagdish
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by jagdish » Feb 23, 2017 11:51 pm

http://analysis.nuclearenergyinsider.co ... plans-2017
Terrestrial are planning sites in the US in addition to Canada.
The layout of IMSR 400 contains salt storage for heat which may help in load following. If it becomes popular for as low cost as claimed, there could be future developments. They could introduce pyro-processing and proceed to breeders.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Feb 24, 2017 1:18 am

jagdish wrote:They could introduce pyro-processing and proceed to breeders.
That is wishful and delusional thinking. They will never achieve breeding unless they have designed the capability in from the outset.

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TerjeP
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by TerjeP » Sep 03, 2017 7:24 pm

I just read this whole discussion again from the beginning. One point that I don't think got drawn out enough is that as soon as one MSR gets licensed and becomes operational the regulatory and investment path for other designs ought to get simpler. Simply because more players will have experience and confidence in the feasibility and practicality of an MSR. So while I fully accept the point Kirk makes that you can't get from an IMSR to a breeder in any incremental fashion and any breeder needs to be designed as a breeder from the outset there is none the less still some logic to the notion that an IMSR, if commercialised, still takes us one step closer to an LFTR. If the IMSR is a commercial success then it brings to market all manner of suppliers who will deal in producing specialist salt in quantity, regulators with insight and all sorts of incremental benefits that those commercialising an LFTR can then leverage.

Of course the LFTR may be too close to commercialisation itself to benefit from this early improvement to the commercial environment. Or the IMSR may be so cheap that it negates the business case for the LFTR. But I suspect that these are less likely.

So in summary I agree with Kirk that an IMSR will not evolve incrementally into a breeder. But I think the successful commercialisation of any MSR will improve the commercial and regulatory environment for the commercialisation of other MSR designs, including breeders.

Kurt Sellner
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by Kurt Sellner » Sep 05, 2017 12:55 am

TerjeP wrote:Or the IMSR may be so cheap that it negates the business case for the LFTR.
I believe that IMSR and LFTR solve sufficiently different problems that there is room in the market for both. Given the similarities though success for one should breed success for the other. There are a half dozen or so companies I know of working on their own molten salt reactors, and while all of them are a variation on a theme they all have a variation on the problems they are trying to solve.

A few non-technical problems needed to solve is getting the materials, expertise, a site, and government approval. These non-technical problems will dictate certain compromises, at least until the first one is built. After the first one is built then the materials, expertise, sites, and government approval should come more easily.

There are a lot of milestones that I'm sure every company is competing for right now. Being first is certainly one of them, and a very objective goal. Being best is another, though subjective, goal. There's a big enough market that I think that all of them, or most of them anyway, can claim some success fairly soon.
Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.

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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by jagdish » Sep 05, 2017 11:55 pm

Success of IMSR could pave the way for better MSR designs once the handling and processing of molten salt fuel is a normal practice. A successor version could be a fast MSR. Thorium could then only be a source of a better fissile U-233.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Congratulations to David LeBlanc (ORNL)

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Sep 06, 2017 6:25 am

What problem does IMSR uniquely solve that is distinct from LFTR?

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