May 30, 2011

54th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

The 54th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is up at Idaho Samizdat

Nuclear Green had coverage of the Third Thorium alliance conference

Edward Kee offered a talk titled, Global Nuclear Power Developments - Asia Leads The Way. Kee noted

Big stories here:
•China’s nuclear build programme is huge – has the potential to shape world nuclear industry for many decades

•Russia internal build of VVER designs will build credibility for export market

•India’s potential buy of imported LWR designs may change the competitive picture, if EPR, ESBWR, or ABWR (or all of these) get orders

•As new nuclear countries make selections, the aggregate world league table will be important

– countries will look for proven designs with real experience and low costs
– will seek a range of support from vendors (government vendors have edge)

Kee also noted that South Korea, China and India were all planning to sell reactors on the global market. Asian reactors cost less than European or American reactors with the Korean APR-1400 costing only 40% of the cost of the French EPR.

Colonel Paul E. Roege of the U.S. Army Capabilities Integration Center offered an interesting analysis of the logistic problems confronting the modern U.S. Army and the potential economic benefits of SMRs.

The military is willing to enable the construction of first of kind new nuclear reactors that would not require approvals from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The Pentagon, Roege said, could be able and willing to offer licensing capability for companies building LFTRs or other forms of innovative nuclear power reactors. Most thorium advocates agree that the NRC is unlikely in the near term to license alternative reactor designs – even ones, like LFTRs, that have been thoroughly proven out in operation. Given the military’s need for clean, modular, transportable energy sources for forward operating bases, the swiftest routes to a license could be through the Army, which has the regulatory authority to approve new reactors for military bases without NRC involvement. In the traditional licensing process, Roege said, “Innovative reactors are at the end of the line. That obstacle could potentially could be overcome if we pursue military applications.”

Energy alternatives to produce 50 MW of power in theater
• 3600 gallon per hour diesel fuel
• 5 million sq ft of solar array (~100 acres)
• 35ton/hr biomass (switchgrass)
• 50 ton nuclear reactor

Capacity Factor blog - The Australian blog "Capacity Factor" has an excellent summary of the passive cooling features of the proposed design for the NuScale Small Modular Reactor (SMR). It uses passive safety features. The concept is to put SMRs in very large, atmospheric-pressure water pools. Large enough that they can reject decay heat indefinitely by boiling away into the atmosphere

Nextbigfuture submissions :

1. Thorenco LLC presented a small transportable 40-megawatt-thermal at the third annual Thorium Energy conference. The Thorium converter reactor for multiple uses: producing electricity (15 megawatts), burning up high-level actinides from spent fuel, and producing low-cost, high-temperature steam (or process industrial heat).

2. Kirk Sorensen announced his new Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactor company Flibe Energy at the third annual Thorium Energy conference.Kirk has not disclosed details of funding for Flibe Energy (which is named for the mixture of lithium fluoride (LiF) and beryllium fluoride (BeF2) that is proposed, in molten-salt form as a coolant for LFTRs), but a Teledyne Brown executive attending the conference said that they are “fully supportive of Flibe Energy” in introductory remarks. Kirk also pointed out that, in addition to (and likely preceding) the product of commercial power, LFTRs offer several other revenue streams: in particular supply radioisotopes for medical applications. The only reactor producing medical radioisotopes in North America is due to shut down in the next three years.

Flibe Energy’s ambitious development program aims for first demonstration criticality in June 2015

3. Lawrenceville Plasma Physics reported that they are getting better repeatability and higher current beams with their dense plasma focus fusion project. Any small deviation from symmetry greatly reduced yield and repeatability.

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