Areva's EPR troubles

jon
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jon » Jan 28, 2016 1:47 am

Somebody online was quoting a paper by Derek Abbott ( Adelaide University ) that need for rare metals, including zirconium, would prevent nuclear scaling up. I responded that nuclear only uses about 1% of world Zr, so could go from 5 to 50% of world power production with only a 10% increase in its output. However it looks like Lightbridge's fuel would raise demand a lot, and hafnium separation raises the price for it by about 10x. Molten salt fuels still rule, longer term.

E Ireland
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by E Ireland » Jan 28, 2016 3:08 pm

Hafnium separation dominates the price of zirconium to such an extent that a doubling in raw zirconia costs would have almost no effect on the cost of cladding.
So the conclusion is the opposite to one you draw.

And if cladding is expensive there is always recovering it by OREOXing spent fuel to separate the uranium powder from the cladding hulls.

jon
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jon » Jan 28, 2016 9:49 pm

If zirconium made up half the meat of the fuel rods, instead of just the cladding, they'd need to purify the hafnium out of that, plus they have a spacer at the centre of the cruciform rod which would probably also be zirconium. If they reprocessed, they'd get about a ten percent bonus of zirconium from the fission products too, but I thought their proposal was once through high burn-up.

E Ireland
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by E Ireland » Jan 29, 2016 10:11 pm

Yes, but there is little reason for hafnium seperation prices to rise in the long term in real terms just because production has increased. It is just an industrial process.

And the cost of the raw zirconium is a negligble fraction of the completed fuel elements and is thus tolerant of enormous escalation in prices.

jon
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jon » Jan 30, 2016 3:59 am

Yes , I'm having more trouble figuring out how Lightbridge claim to get better utilisation of the uranium. If they take the enrichment up from around 4% to about twenty, assuming similar tail fractions, don't they need five times as much uranium? No problem if they use the thorium blanket option, but going from 18 month refueling to every two years, with ten percent or so extra power rating, it doesn't look like as good a return on the mining expenditure, even if it makes sense overall.

macpacheco
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by macpacheco » Jan 30, 2016 1:58 pm

jon wrote:Yes , I'm having more trouble figuring out how Lightbridge claim to get better utilisation of the uranium. If they take the enrichment up from around 4% to about twenty, assuming similar tail fractions, don't they need five times as much uranium? No problem if they use the thorium blanket option, but going from 18 month refuelling to every two years, with ten percent or so extra power rating, it doesn't look like as good a return on the mining expenditure, even if it makes sense overall.
Thorium flattens the power curve over time, that means more neutrons to breed and fission plutonium, and more neutrons to more fully fission the U235, and to breed and fission U233 too.

U238->Pu239->fission is a net loss of neutrons in the thermal spectrum, makes 1.9, consumes 2
Th232->U233->fission is a net produced of neutrons in the thermal spectrum, makes 2.3, consume 2 (at least before real world reactor losses, and losses due to Pa233 absorption).
And the very important advantage that when U233 doesn't fission it eventually becomes U235, much better fuel than (U238->Pu239->Pu240->Pu241) chain.

This means higher burnup, higher accumulation of fission products before the reactor can't sustain criticality any more.

Thorium produces less Kr and Xe, reducing some neutron losses (listen to Thor Energy ThEc in switzerland presentation).

As I understand, Lightbridge is planning to have a mix of Th232 pellets and LEU fuel, which avoids the challenge of throwing U232 contaminated fuel back into the enrichment pile. Makes reprocessing more interesting.
Looking for companies working to change the world.

fab
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by fab » Feb 01, 2016 10:50 am

First Taishan EPR completes cold tests.

http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN-Fi ... 02164.html

alexterrell
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by alexterrell » Feb 01, 2016 2:34 pm

jon wrote:'...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 ?
Sounds too good to be true ......

If France's existing reactors were subject to a 20% upgrade, the increase about the same as Germany's production of wind and solar power in 2015.

I assume it would need a higher flow rate. Can existing pumps achieve this?

paul wick
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by paul wick » Feb 01, 2016 8:44 pm

Lightbridge claims a 10-17% uprate in existing reactors, depending on what an operator replaces at an outage. The 30% figure is for new-build, such as a hypothetical EPR-New Model. The 10-17% claims are apparently credible, as Lightbridge has a grouping of 4 of the largest nuclear utilities in the US jointly lobbying the NRC to get this technology approved. Apparently the new rules enacted by the EPA to comply with GHG reductions strongly favors nuclear plant uprates. Perhaps by accident, I don't know. The EPA seems to be doing nothing about the ridiculous regulations mandating priority to erratic wind/solar output on the grid, at the expense of nuclear plants. Nor does it seem to be concerned that the "Shale Gas Miracle" is a Ponzi Scheme, whereby Free Money from the Federal Reserve Bank via the ZIRP, or Zero Interest Rate Policy, has led to a tsunami of malinvestment in the fracking sphere; a consequent tsunami of overproduction of gas; gas sold at $2 mmbu where even the best fracked gas does not break even until $6-7 per mmbtu. And so, the losses are concealed by rolling over the old junk bonds with new ones. An infinite Punch Bowl of Easy Money. Until the music stops and the dumb money gets wise. Which is soon. The Junk Bond Bankruptcies are going to be epic in the fracked oil and gas sphere. And all the brilliant executives and politicians like Barbara Boxer, who lobbied to close down their nuclear plants in favor of cheap natural gas, will be shown to be the sociopaths that they are, as natural gas prices go through the roof and poor people's bills follow suit. Excuse my rant. That's all.

jagdish
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jagdish » Mar 08, 2016 3:00 am

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ation.html
It looks like neither the British nor the French can afford the EPR @ 9 billion pounds apiece. Prism @ 400-500 million pounds would be a better deal. Could be even cheaper by the dozen!

jagdish
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jagdish » May 05, 2016 2:03 am

Another disheartening view on EPR.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/ ... e-bad-deal
It looks as if France has lost out to Russia with its VVER alternative.

jagdish
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jagdish » May 08, 2016 10:57 pm

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/201 ... ley-point/
With so much Chinese funds to the rescue, it may be worthwhile to give the construction contract to the Chinese. They could do it for much less.
The edF could be associated to operate it later.

E Ireland
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by E Ireland » May 09, 2016 9:43 am

I'd rather not have any Chinese Government influenced people near it at all really.

jagdish
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Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jagdish » May 10, 2016 5:23 am

Fortunately or unfortunately, the Chinese are the source of all economic manufacture in the world. They have a high construction program which could go upto 8 tractors per year. Do It Yourself could be the only justification for not accepting Chinese construction.

jagdish
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Joined: Apr 19, 2008 1:06 am

Re: Areva's EPR troubles

Post by jagdish » May 13, 2016 12:06 pm

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016 ... ord-howell
The British also sees the possibility;

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