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February 21, 2012

Allowing innovation in Nuclear Energy and increasing conventional nuclear power generation

Wired UK - the US's Nuclear Regulatory Commission may be split into separate branches for conventional and unconventional nuclear to expedite the revolution in new nuclear energy technology, and that up to $904 million (£650 million) of US government funding for small modular reactors may be opened up to all reactor types.

Helion Energy claims in a peer-reviewed research paper that they had developed a working "Fusion Engine" that had already "performed fusion" on a small scale by colliding together balls of plasma at high speed. The paper then went on to show that with $20 million (£12.6 million) and an engine only three times larger, they could achieve in less than two years what ITER, the $15 billion (£9.45 billion) international fusion project, hasn't been able to: break-even.

"the clear message we get from the government is that they just want people to work on solving the severe technical problems experienced by projects like ITER, and they are not interested in alternate solutions. "Even though in our version, seven out of ten of these problems don't exist; we don't solve them, we avoid them.

How to Expand Conventional Nuclear Energy

Nuclear power uprates could accelerated and expanded.
The US and most other countries could get a 10% boost from that.

Lightbridge and others are working on new annular fuel uprates which could increase the power of existing reactors by up to 30-50%

South Korea also working on annular fuel uprates.
For 20% gain without changing major systems.





So regular uprates first, for the next 5 years. Gain 10%. 80 TWh in the USA and 250 TWh worldwide.
Plus the build that is in the pipeline adding about 50 reactors worldwide in 5 years.

Then advanced uprates in the 2018-2025 timeframe.
Ramp up the build and get the modular reactors at the same time.
Put modular reactors on current nuclear plant land. Expand the grid there.
Look at swapping out coal burners and working out legislation to allow nuclear high
temp reactor swap outs.

In the USA
30% gain for the US from regular and advanced uprates. Nuclear plant life extensions to 80 or more years.
10% gain from new plants to 2025.

More Nuclear worldwide

China can get to 80-100 GWe by 2020. Can go to 200 GWe by 2025.

India, Russia, South Korea building out.

South Korea and China exporting cheap reactors will expand out the reactors in middle east and other countries.

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