Skip to comments.Small Nuclear Power Reactors
Posted on 05/01/2011 3:17:01 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
There is revival of interest in small and simpler units for generating electricity from nuclear power, and for process heat.
This interest in small and medium nuclear power reactors is driven both by a desire to reduce capital costs and to provide power away from large grid systems.
The technologies involved are very diverse.
As nuclear power generation has become established since the 1950s, the size of reactor units has grown from 60 MWe to more than 1600 MWe, with corresponding economies of scale in operation. At the same time there have been many hundreds of smaller power reactors built both for naval use (up to 190 MW thermal) and as neutron sources, yielding enormous expertise in the engineering of small units. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defines 'small' as under 300 MWe, and up to 700 MWe as 'medium' including many operational units from 20th century. Together they are now referred to as small and medium reactors (SMRs).
Today, due partly to the high capital cost of large power reactors generating electricity via the steam cycle and partly to the need to service small electricity grids under about 4 GWe, there is a move to develop smaller units. These may be built independently or as modules in a larger complex, with capacity added incrementally as required (see section below on Modular construction using small reactor units). Economies of scale are provided by the numbers produced. There are also moves to develop small units for remote sites.
This paper focuses on advanced designs in the small category, i.e. those now being built for the first time or still on the drawing board. Note that many of the designs described here are not yet actually taking shape.....
(Excerpt) Read more at world-nuclear.org ...
One Phrase: NIMBY (Not in my backyard). Done with arguement.
People can’t program their DVR’s or use the turn signals in their cars, but they can run nuclear power plants? Yeah, this’ll work....
Love the idea!
Bloomberg Business Week
Energy May 20, 2010, 5:00PM EST
Small Nuclear Reactors Are Becoming Big Business
The race is on to develop refrigerator-size reactors that could power small towns or plants
March 29, 2011
Singapore considers buried small nuclear reactors
New Scientist - Singapore, a tiny island country whose population would have no place to go in the event of a wide-scale evacuation, is giving buried nuclear reactors a closer look.
The thinking is that you could bury a small reactor in a shallow layer of bedrock, perhaps 30-50 meters underground. Then, if things at the plant go south for any reason, the granite will provide natural containment; simply cement in any access tunnels going down to the facility and walk away.
The idea was first floated last fall by Hooman Peimani an energy security specialist at the National University of Singapore. Countries with nuclear power typically build large-scale reactors 15 to 20 km away from heavily populated residential areas. Singapore, a country of roughly 700 square kilometers, doesn’t have a potential site even 3 km from residential areas, Peimani says.
Going underground would significantly increase the costs of any reactor. Peimani says only small reactors 30-50 megawatts in size, one-twentieth the size of conventional large-scale reactors, would be cost effective.
Dr Peimani is the head of the Energy Security Division at the National University of Singapore’s Energy Studies Institute. Last August, he presented a paper on the viability of underground nuclear reactors in Singapore at the Nuclear Power conference.
Earthquake prone areas or regions with high water tables wouldn’t work. The limitations would rule out much of Japan but wouldn’t preclude Singapore, Peimani says.
Singapore is currently dependent on natural gas imported from Indonesia and Malaysia for much of its electricity production but is building a massive liquefied natural gas terminal that would allow the country to import the fuel from anywhere in the world.
The Singapore government authorized a feasibility study for underground reactors last year without setting a timetable for completion. Peimani says recent events in Japan may help push the idea forward.
Bay Area has couple of small nuclear reactors
David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco Chronicle April 1, 2011 04:00 AM
Thirty-six “research and test” reactors are scattered throughout the United States, often on college campuses. Four are in California. They rarely draw attention except from the researchers, companies and government agencies that rely on them.
Development of Tiny Thorium Reactors Could Wean the World Off Oil In Just Five Years
Note: BANANA (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything) has replaced NIMBY.
One can only speculate about what would have been the path of development of nuclear power if the government hadn’t subsidized and therefore determined what was built and how. I always imagined that investors and developers would have started small and been much more innovative. Good thing the government didn’t run the computer business. We’d be using punchcards today.
I ran nuke plants for the Navy for 20 yrs. I could probably still do it.
Good thing the government didnt run the computer business. Wed be using punchcards today.
A very salient example. One which I've been citing regularly as testimony to the industries less oppressed by government interference blossoming with innovation and creativity, versus those too bureaucratically regulated and thus static. The latter examples include automotive transportation (NTSB), environmental mitigations (e.g. wetland restrictions, EPA), highways (FedHA), commercial aviation, restricted design by building codes, energy production.
A big part of the problem is lawyers who can only contribute negatively to most initiatives but with the irrepressible need to extract their cut from any endeavor (as in the tagline below). Obama being a paragon, along with many politicians.
The truly disturbing thing is that the youthful, those with the most potential for initiative and imagination, do not see it. For some misguided reason they embrace bigoted, judgmental, untalented, authoritarians. What happened to us? No fathers?
Very intersting! Thank yuou for posting that!
I would like one of those nuclear reactors that run subs to run my town.
Such small units would be the answer for settlements in areas like the Northwest Territories, and there’s plenty of water up there (understatement). ...also more than enough oil, which hasn’t been harvested since our WWII US Army engineer project (to get oil to Alaska in case needed against Japan).
It would also quickly make Canada and the USA much richer.
I’m a former Navy nuke as well. And what I’ve seen of the average Joe convinces me more than ever that there are some things you just do NOT entrust to the average person.
Amen to that.
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