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#501 2022-09-01 01:32:01

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 9,501

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Laboratory teaming up on a $9.25 million study to examine corrosion-resistant materials for use in Molten Salt Reactors

https://www.theregister.com/2022/08/11/ … lten_salt/

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#502 2022-11-21 09:39:34

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,052

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Not to be a political post as represented by article title as the Diablo Canyon plant is currently scheduled to shut down in two phases, with the first reactor going offline in 2024 and the second in 2025.

Biden gives PG&E $1 billion to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant open

which was already being delayed

Gov. Gavin Newsom has led a spirited push to keep the reactors humming another five years, saying they're badly needed to help the Golden State grapple with power shortages and worsening heat waves. Diablo Canyon supplied more than 8% of California's electricity last year — and 17% of the state's climate-friendly, carbon-free electricity

So, what does that buy?

The $1.1 billion in federal money comes from the infrastructure law passed by Congress and signed by President Biden last year. It should allow PG&E to pay back most of the $1.4-billion loan for Diablo that state lawmakers approved at Newsom's urging.

That state money is slated to help PG&E cover the costs of relicensing at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as maintenance, fuel purchases and additional on-site storage for radioactive waste needed to keep the plant running past 2025.

Final terms of the federal grant still need to be negotiated with PG&E. Officials at the U.S. Department of Energy say the money will be distributed over four years, from 2023 through 2026. It's designed to cover PG&E's projected losses from keeping Diablo Canyon open longer, so if the company's operating costs come in lower than expected — or its power-sales revenues are higher than expected — it won't get quite as much federal money.

If the plant fails to secure its federal license renewal — or any of the state permits it needs to keep operating — the funding spigot will be shut off.

The governor capitalized on those shifting tides, cajoling state lawmakers into approving a $1.4-billion loan designed to keep Diablo running through 2030.

But why now to change to nuclear?

The vote came during an intense heat wave, which saw state officials beg Californians to use less power during the hot evening hours — when solar panels and wind turbines stop generating — for a record 10 straight days.

So, the raw energy supply was exceeded without people cutting back when supplemental energy was not available.

Here is what the state of the us nuclear programs are up against

The U.S. had 93 operating nuclear reactors last year, which generated nearly one-fifth of the nation's electricity. Those plants could go a long way toward meeting President Biden's goal of 100% climate-friendly electricity by 2035.

But 13 reactors have shut down since 2013, often due to competition from lower-cost energy sources such as solar, wind and natural gas. In some cases, nuclear closures have led to more business for gas-fired power plants, causing climate pollution to rise.

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#503 2022-11-23 09:54:16

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,052

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Nuclear provides just 10% of the electrical energy but when all sources are combined its drops to just 4%

AA14sNvO.img?w=534&h=534&m=6

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#504 2022-11-29 06:25:18

Calliban
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From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Interesting results from experiments on reactions between sodium and CO2.
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a … 9317302728

Whereas water reacts spontaneously with sodium, releasing hydrogen; CO2 is non-flammable with sodium until temperature reaches almost 600°C.  This simplifies the use of S-CO2 power generation cycles.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#505 2022-12-03 11:08:05

Void
Member
Registered: 2011-12-29
Posts: 7,202

Re: Nuclear power is safe

I am no expert, but thought that the notion of nuclear, chemical methods to produce Hydrogen looks, like it would be good, at least for Space.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uTZWaJU6ho

Maybe educated people can give council on this.

Done.


Done.

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#506 2022-12-04 10:43:59

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Nuclear power is safe

The interesting thing about hydrogen, or a hydrogen derived synthetic fuel, is that the reactors do not need to be anywhere near the consumers.  And a huge amount of synfuel is needed.  Very low cost power can be provided by large modular reactors, with power 1000+ MWe, built on barges.  These could be built using shipyard fabrication methods.  The barges would be floated into concrete pens.

Last edited by Calliban (2022-12-04 10:45:07)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#507 2022-12-04 11:10:01

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban re #506

Please continue developing your ideas! 

I am ** pretty sure ** that Russia has built at least one floating reactor, and I'm equally confident that China has done something similar.

A vision of a floating nuclear zone, fully secured from attack by a major Nation, seems conceivable.

Whatever Nation takes this on needs to have long term stability.

(th)

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#508 2022-12-04 12:00:04

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,052

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Sounds like an oil rig would be due to put the reactor on with a floating dry dock for the barge or tanker to dock with for loading of the cargo. Sure, some tanks and cooling on the oil rig is required to pre-condition and filter the fuel to be loaded onto the cargo ship but it's now away from concentrated populations to say not in my back yard to keep it from being built.

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#509 2022-12-04 12:59:37

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For SpaceNut re #508

A floating site for a reactor would have some advantages.

Such a system would be better able to handle variations in water level.

An oil platform that is floating might work well.

An oil platform that is fixed to the bottom of the water body is subject to earthquake and resulting tsunami events.

Please continue developing your ideas.  You and Calliban appear to be on a roll!

(th)

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#510 2022-12-11 21:55:31

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 7,469

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Nuclear power might be somewhat safer here in the US of A after President Biden's cross-dressing "non-binary" kleptomaniac "Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Office of Spent Fuel and Waste Disposition" appointee, Sam Brinton, has a warrant issued for his arrest after stealing luggage from two different women at two different airports.

As it turns out, diversity is not our greatest strength.  Who knew?

As it turns out, being of sound mind, making logic-based decisions, and having everyone else around you doing the same thing, without the use of thinly disguised threats or coercion, is our greatest strength.  Whenever that breaks down, no matter what the person involved looks like or "chooses to identify as", we have a serious problem that no amount of "diversity" will solve.

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#511 2022-12-25 17:44:12

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Nuclear power is safe

The BWRX-300 would appear to be an excellent powerplant for Elon Musk's Martian city.
https://nuclear.gepower.com/build-a-pla … w/bwrx-300

Compared to a PWR, operating pressure is only about 40% (75bar vs 200bar) because boiling water reactors have no steam generators, which require a temperature drop for heat transfer.  This imposes a higher temperature (and therefore pressure) on the primary side.  The BWRX-300 is simplified, requiring less steel and concrete per MW than other light water reactors.  This should make it lighter and easier to ship to Mars.  The BWR does seem to have some advantages over the PWR in terms of simplicity and elimination of unnecesary components.  But the turbine must be shielded because of gamma emissions from N16 decay in the steam.

Assuming that steel components for the first plant are shipped to Mars, we need to produce a Martian concrete that can be used to manufacture the concrete components of this powerplant.  I wonder if a powerplant built in an underground excavated space, could do away with a fair fraction of this concrete requirement?  It won't require a containment dome.  The turbine hall won't be a building.  It will be an excavated volume with the power generation equipment assembled on the stone floor of the cavern.

GE Hitachi are also working on a reduced moderation boiling water reactor that will breed sufficient plutonium to close its fuel cycle.  This may be important on Mars, as the abundance of uranium ores is unknown at present.
https://www.hitachi.com/rev/archive/202 … index.html

Once we have a Martian steel industry up and running, we can pay GE a licence fee and build BWR powerplants to their design specs in caverns under the surface of Mars.  Each powerplant will produce 300MWe and about 600MWth of waste heat.  That is enough to heat a lot of polytunnels.

Last edited by Calliban (2022-12-25 18:11:08)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#512 2022-12-25 18:49:09

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

for Calliban re nuclear power for fresh water for Phoenix, Arizona, and the region in general...

There is new activity in Arizona (and the region), as a new governor prepares to assume responsibility for the millions of residents who will be worrying (or should be worrying) about fresh water supply.

The outgoing Governor has finagled an offer from an Israeli company to prepare fresh water from the Sea of Cortez, for shipment to Arizona and California.

The NewMars forum has a contact right in the middle of the action, in Phoenix.  I'm hoping for updates as the weeks go by, and critical decisions must be made. Our contact is in favor of nuclear power, and Arizona has the largest nuclear reactor complex of any state in the US, but nuclear power is not popular with the general population.

I am advocating nuclear power on US turf to produce electric power to be shipped down to the Gulf of California, where the proposed Israeli plant would be located. I am unable to report on plans for how the desalination would be powered, because (to my knowledge) that has not yet been revealed.

I asked Google for help, and learned that the Israeli plant (or at least one of them) runs on natural gas. 

However, my search revealed something our Texas residents have NOT reported!

HomeBlogsEnergy ExchangeLowering Desalination’s Energy Footprint: Lesson...
Lowering Desalination’s Energy Footprint: Lessons from Israel
By Kate Zerrenner / Bio / Twitter profile / Published: January 30, 2017
IMG_8244
Kate Zerrenner and Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit standing in a desalination pipe at Sorek.

There’s an old expression that whisky is for drinking and water is for fighting over. The Legislative Session is upon us again in Texas, and count on water being an issue, as it always is in this drought and flood-prone state.

To start, this Session will see the approval of the 2017 State Water Plan (SWP), which is done in five-year cycles. In the five years since the last plan, Texas has gone from the throes of a devastating drought to historic flooding, which resulted in some reservoirs being full for the first time in 15 years.

Moreover, as more people move to Texas and climate change advances, there will be greater strain on the state’s water supplies. According to the SWP, Texas is already in a tighter situation than it was just five years ago: Surface water and groundwater availability will be 5 percent lower in 2060 compared to predictions in the 2012 plan, and existing water supplies are expected to drop by 11 percent between 2020 and 2070. Where are we supposed to get the water we need?

One place we could look to for ideas is Israel, which relies heavily on desalination – or the process of removing salt from water – to meet its needs. During Session, there will likely be calls to implement and fund desalination projects in Texas, which can help ensure water supplies in the future. But we need to take a page from Israel’s book, and create plans and policies that are thoughtful about reducing the technology’s energy footprint.

IMG_8246
Kate Zerrenner and Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit tasting desalinated water at Sorek.

Cutting desal costs in Israel

Sixty percent of Israel is desert, and the rest is semiarid. (Texas, in comparison, is about 10 percent desert.) The harsh, dry climate means ensuring water supplies is a top priority, and as a result Israel gets up to 75 percent of its potable water from desalination. To put that into perspective, the entire state of Texas currently produces about 123 million gallons per day with desalination, or roughly 465,606 cubic meters per day. The Sorek Desalination Plant outside Tel Aviv, one of many in the country, alone produces about 624,000 cubic meters per day/ 164 MGD.

I recently toured the Sorek plant, the largest desal plant in the world, which provides about 20 percent of Israel’s potable water. One of the things that struck me, other than the sheer size, was how energy was a front-and-center concern. Since desal plants need constant power – and a lot of it – energy is by far the most expensive part of running the plant. Groundwater desal is highly energy-intensive, and seawater even more so – power is estimated at about half of seawater desal plants’ entire operating costs.

Three tactics help ease these costs and maintain plant reliability:

On-site power generation: Two of the other biggest plants in Israel are located next to power plants, which means less energy lost during transmission and distribution, as well as greater reliability. One of those, Hadera, is located near a gas-fired power plant, which requires significantly less water than coal. Israel could further cut desal’s water footprint by installing no-water resources like wind turbines or solar panels on-site, as Texas is trying to do.
Energy efficiency: Israel is home to the two most energy-efficient desal facilities in the world: Hadera and Sorek, respectively. Sorek looks to reduce its energy consumption at every step of the process, like its energy recovery system, which captures energy from the brine stream that would have otherwise been wasted and uses it to power pumps. Unfortunately, U.S. desal plants tend to be behind the tech curve because the approval process takes so long. With a robust, more streamlined approvals process and newer technology, American plants could maximize efficiency as Israel does.
Taking advantage of smart pricing: Israel has variable electricity rates, meaning they change depending on the season, day of the week, and time of day. Sorek negotiated a lower electricity rate in exchange for participating in the demand response program – in this case, agreeing to do the most production at night when both electric demand and prices are lower. In fact, Sorek was built to be responsive to peak demand: It can change its operating capacity from 30 to 120-percent production in less than five minutes, in response to the electricity rate. Moreover, by enabling customers to alter their energy-use based on peak demand and pricing, Israel’s entire electric grid benefits from greater stability. Leveraging demand response could help desalination in Texas and other states that deal with drought, like California, be more energy- and water-efficient.
[Tweet “Lowering desalination’s energy footprint: Lessons from Israel”]

Desal in Texas

So, what does all this mean for Texas? In his recent book, Let There Be Water, Seth M. Siegel writes about how native Texan Lyndon B. Johnson shared former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s approach to water. Ben-Gurion saw the promise of desal and LBJ seemed to view the technology as the future for ensuring America’s water supplies, especially in dry areas like his own beloved Texas Hill Country. Today, Texas is home to the largest inland desal facility in the world, the Kay Bailey Hutchison Desalination Plant.

So! The point of my post here is to alert you to the potential opportunity to encourage nuclear power for the desalination plant proposed by the Israeli's to help to supply fresh water to Mexico, Arizona and California.

(th)

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#513 2022-12-26 18:42:20

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban and anyone else in the group who might be thinking about or working on nuclear power...

In correspondence with our Phoenix contact, I ran a search and came up with this document:

https://www.ncsl.org/documents/environ/ … rWaste.pdf

It appears to have been published after 2010, because it includes a reference to 2010, but otherwise I wasn't able to discover the publication date.

What is important (from my perspective) is that the document summarizes US development of nuclear reactors since 1945.

The number built is in excess of 100, and (about?) 99 remained in service at the time of publication of the document.

(th)

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#514 2022-12-27 13:43:36

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban specifically ... I ** just ** wrote a contact form message to an institution with a reputation for Libertarian thinking.

My message was (basically) a request for a pointer to anything their many authors might have written about dealing with fear that blocks adoption of nuclear energy to ease existing (and predicted) needs for energy, both in the US, the UK and around the world.

My sense, from scanning a book they just published, and from searching their web site, is that these folks are economists and policy wonks, and don't have any kind of Real Universe knowledge of physics, chemistry or anything else of a practical nature.

What they seem to have in abundance (pun intended) is faith in innovation.

From my perspective, innovation is all well and good, unless it is blocked by fear.  And we (humans) have a LOT of (justified) fear to contend with, as well as some (unspecifiable) amount of unjustified fear.

Adoption of nuclear power around the world is a Risk Management problem.

Your topic here is overly optimistic, because of factors known only to yourself.

The fact is there are people in this world with atomic weapons capable of extinguishing life on Earth several times over.

Nuclear reactors ** have ** failed, for a variety of reasons as humans progress along the learning curve.

I've said it before, and will surely say it again ... if humans want to expand out into the Universe, they ** must ** master nuclear power (a) and (b) human weakness that makes nuclear power dangerous.

(th)

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#515 2023-01-04 11:32:31

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban (and all readers)...

This article is an overview of power supply issues and solutions facing the US in 2023.  What is notable about ** this ** article is the favorable position taken by the author with respect to the potential value of SMR equipment to restart an electrical grid after if fails.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/energy-gap-n … 14699.html

This article provides an overview of the energy supply situation. it adds an insight that is new (to me for sure).

Nuclear reactors provide the startup current to re-activate a grid after it has gone down. Renewable energy sources (apparently) cannot do the job alone.

Carlsbad Current-Argus

The 'energy gap' nobody wants to tussle with

Dave Marston
Tue, January 3, 2023 at 12:39 PM EST

Many Western states have declared they will achieve all-renewable electrical goals in just two decades. Call me naïve, but haven’t energy experts predicted that wind, sun and other alternative energy sources aren’t up to the job?

Alice Jackson, former CEO of Xcel energy’s Colorado operation, was blunt at a renewable energy conference in February 2020: “We can reliably run our grid with up to 70% renewables. Add batteries to the mix and that number goes up to just 72%.”

Grid experts now say that Jackson’s number is 80%, but still, how will that utility and others produce that missing power?

Bill Gates and a raft of other entrepreneurs see the answer in small, modular nuclear reactors, pointing to the small nuclear engines that have safely run America’s nuclear submarines for decades.

Here’s what we know about these efficient reactors: They’re built in factories, and once in operation they’re cheap to keep going. Each module is typically 50 megawatts, self-contained, and installed underground after being transported to its site. The modular design means that when more power is needed, another reactor can be slotted in.

Breakthrough features include safety valves that automatically send coolant to the reactor if heat spikes. This feature alone could have eliminated disasters like Fukushima or Chernobyl, where water pumps failed and cores started melting down.

If small nuclear modules don’t fill the renewables gap, where else to find the “firm power” that Jackson says is needed? The Sierra Club calls on pumped hydro and geothermal as sources of reliable electricity you can just flip on when renewables slow down. But the best geothermal spots have been taken, and pumped hydro has geographic limits, and environmental resistance.

Another proposal is linking grids across the country for more efficiency. The idea is that excess wind blowing in Texas could be tapped after the sun goes down on California’s solar farms. This holds incremental promise but progress has been routinely blocked by conservative lawmakers.

There’s also the cost argument — that renewables are cheaper. In a fossil-fuel-dominated grid that’s true. However, MIT points out that as renewables dominate the grid, on-demand forms of power rise in value.

The extreme danger to the grid is the dreaded “dunkelflaute,” a German word for cloudy, windless weather that slashes solar and wind power generation for weeks.

So the problem remains: To avoid rolling blackouts, we need reliable power at the right times, which are usually from 5-8 p.m. That’s when people come home and fire up their gadgets and appliances.

The increasing demand for electricity only adds to the problem: A 2020 Washington Post article predicted that electrification of the economy by 2050 would result in a usage bump of 38%, mostly from vehicles. Consider Ford’s all-electric F150 Lightning, cousin to the bestselling gasoline F150. The $39,000 entry-level truck was designed to replace gasoline generators at job sites, meaning vehicle recharge happens when workers go home, just as renewables flag.

This calls into question what many experts hope car batteries can provide — doing double duty by furnishing peak power for homes at night.

Longer-lasting storage batteries have long been touted as a savior, though Tara Righetti, co-director of the Nuclear Energy Research Center at the University of Wyoming, has reservations. “There are high hopes that better batteries will be developed. But in terms of what is technically accessible right now? I think nuclear provides an appealing option.”

Meanwhile, small nuclear reactors are underway, with Bill Gates’ TerraPower building a sodium-cooled fast reactor in the coal town of Kemmerer, Wyoming. One 345-megawatt reactor, which generates enough electricity for 400,000 homes, will be paired with a molten-salt, heat storage facility.

Think of it as a constantly recharging battery in the form of stored heat. In the evening as renewable power flags, it would pump out 500 megawatts of power for up to 5 hours.

These reactors also tackle the little-known problem of cold-starting the electrical grid after an outage. In 2003, suffering a blackout, the Eastern grid could not have restarted with renewables alone.

However we choose to close the energy gap, there’s no time to lose. Wild temperature swings have grid operators increasingly nervous. California has come close to rolling blackouts, and temperatures in the West now break record after record.

As our climate becomes more erratic, reliable electricity is becoming a matter of life and death.

Dave Marston is the publisher of Writers on the Range, writersontherange.org, an independent nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. He lives in Colorado.

This article originally appeared on Carlsbad Current-Argus: The 'energy gap' nobody wants to tussle with

(th)

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#516 2023-01-21 15:03:23

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/u-ap … 11491.html

Reuters

U.S. approves design for NuScale small modular nuclear reactor

Timothy Gardner

Fri, January 20, 2023 at 3:30 PM EST

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - The U.S. nuclear power regulator has certified the design for the NuScale Power Corp's small modular reactor, the first such approval in the country for the next generation technology.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's approval, published in the Federal Register late on Thursday, clears a hurdle for NuScale. The company plans to build a demonstration small modular reactor (SMR) power plant at the Idaho National Laboratory. NuScale says the six-reactor, 462 megawatt Carbon Free Power Project will be fully running in 2030.

There are significant questions about rising costs of the demonstration plant, expected to provide electricity to the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). NuScale said this month the target price for power from the plant is $89 per megawatt hour, up 53% from the previous estimate of $58 per MWh.

Backers of next generation reactors including President Joe Biden's administration and many Republican lawmakers, say they are crucial in curbing climate change. NuScale says they will be safer than today's far larger conventional reactors, but the reactors, like conventional nuclear plants, are expected to produce highly toxic waste, for which no permanent fix has been developed.

The U.S. Department of Energy has provided more than $600 million since 2014 to support the design, licensing and siting of NuScale's power plant and other small modular reactors. NuScale and other companies that succeed in building next generation reactors could receive for the first time lucrative production tax credits contained in last year's Inflation Reduction Act signed by Biden.

"SMRs are no longer an abstract concept," said Kathryn Huff, assistant secretary for nuclear energy at the Energy Department. "This is innovation at its finest and we are just getting started here in the U.S."

NuScale also hopes to build SMRs in Romania, Kazakhstan and Poland, despite concerns from nuclear safety experts who say Russia's invasion of Ukraine and occupation of the Zaporizhzhia plant should make the industry think seriously about developing plants in the region. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio)

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#517 2023-01-23 19:35:17

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

https://www.yahoo.com/news/small-modula … 00089.html

Here is another view of the recent progress made by NuScale, and reporting of remaining hurdles to overcome.

Costs are rising, and there is a problem with the size of the reactor approved, vs the one to be built.

Close this content, you can also use the Escape key at anytime
Canary Media
A small modular nuclear reactor just got US approval — a big milestone

Eric Wesoff
Mon, January 23, 2023 at 4:39 PM EST
NuScale Power, a pioneer in small nuclear reactors, cleared the ultimate U.S. regulatory hurdle in civilian advanced nuclear last week — and in doing so provided some hope for the long-heralded nuclear renaissance.

In a historic ruling, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission certified the design of NuScale’s 50-megawatt power module, the first small modular reactor and just the seventh reactor design ever approved for use in the U.S.

It’s a big moment: Utilities can now reference NuScale’s small modular reactor design when applying for a license to build and operate a reactor. NuScale and the Department of Energy spent more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars getting through this regulatory gate.

Getting small
The scaled-down and reproducible nature of a small modular reactor is a potential solution to the nuclear industry’s long-standing record of cost and schedule overruns. Lowering power output and size theoretically enables small modular and micro solutions that can be constructed less expensively off-site using fewer custom components with lower total project costs.

- ADVERTISEMENT -

Jigar Shah, the director of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office, spoke about SMRs and building trust between industry and regulators with Marc Bianchi on an episode of Cowen’s Energy Transition Podcast in September. Shah said, “We have to get those EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] contractors to understand that this is different, that the amount of civil works here is far lower than the civil works for an AP 1000,” a widely deployed large-scale nuclear reactor design. “Most of the manufacturing is done in a factory and…the civil works here are 80 percent less for these designs than for a traditional nuclear power campus.”

But even NuScale’s design, a small reactor that bears some resemblance to existing light-water reactors, posed challenges to the approval processes of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). NuScale said back in 2020 that it had spent over $500 million and expended more than 2 million labor hours to compile the information needed for its design-certification application.

Cost targets raised
NuScale’s unprecedented design approval is a good reason for stakeholder celebration — but the company isn’t out of the woods just yet. It’s already had to revise its projected project costs and hit a regulatory snag.

NuScale has an agreement to build a first-of-its-kind 462-megawatt project in Idaho with Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), a group of 50 municipal utilities across seven Western states. Higher materials costs, interest rates and inflation have already forced NuScale to raise its projected cost from $58 per megawatt-hour to $89 per megawatt-hour; UAMPS’ project management committee approved the cost increase earlier this month.

Today’s financial landscape is a challenge for every project developer, but nuclear projects have a well-documented history of this type of cost expansion — and this announcement marks a budget increase before a single bucket of dirt has been moved. An analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis recently argued that UAMPS members “should consider backing out of contracts that require them to cover the rising costs of the NuScale SMR” and noted that a “Nevada geothermal proposal has the potential to be a less expensive, more certain option.”

Another challenge is that NuScale’s NRC design approval is for the company’s 50-megawatt module, whereas NuScale plans to use six uprated 77-megawatt modules in the Idaho project. This means there will be additional regulatory churn and intrigue. The NRC is expected to review the uprating application this year. The plant, meanwhile, is slated to begin operation with one module in 2029.

It’s not technology that’s preventing the deployment of new nuclear; it’s cost and regulatory uncertainty. Shirly Rodriguez, advanced reactor lead systems engineer at GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, told the Clean Air Task Force in a recent interview, “There are over 72 small modular reactors waiting to be deployed, but we cannot deploy them if we don’t have the regulations to support them.”

Perhaps NuScale will achieve success faster abroad. The company has signed agreements to deploy SMR plants in 12 countries, including Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic and Jordan.

(th)

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#518 2023-01-23 20:05:04

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 29,052

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Maybe they will design a 5 to 10 kw system in the future.

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#519 2023-01-25 12:45:20

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For SpaceNut re #518

Thank you for this interesting thought .... That size system would supply a home or small business.

If you were to increase your expectations just a little bit, you could include energy to ;purify water and clean the air, so that materials used for daily living are recycled in the property, instead of being discharged to the outer community.

This concept is ** required ** on Mars, so I am advocating developing it fully here on Earth.

(th)

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#520 2023-01-25 12:53:57

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

This post is for Calliban, who's been present on the forum in recent times ....

Chances are good (95+%) that you are aware that the US regulatory agency responsible for nuclear energy recently approved a 50 MW design for NuScale.

Are you also aware that the first plant in planning would use four 77 MW copies?  I'm going to estimate (80+%) for that.

4 * 77 >> 308 MW

My observation is that 6 50's would achieve the total MW.

So here's the question that (probably) no one in range of this forum can answer....

Why not build 6 of the plants that received approval, and obtain approval for the 77 MW design later?

50 MW plants need to be replicated like pancakes (hotcakes in some regions).

SpaceNut's request is for 10 Kw (per household?)

A 50 MW plant would serve 5000 households.

That's a small city or large town in the US.

Those are currently served by small coal plants (or gas where gas is available).

How fast can the 50 MW design be replicated?

Are there limits on availability of fuel?

Can security be built up as the plants are installed/

(th)

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#521 2023-01-28 15:03:16

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Here is another snippet about the NuScale reactor ...

According to the NRC's statements in August, NuScale's SMRs were the seventh certified for use in the US, but this final ruling means they're the first design to get approval for construction and operation by utilities. The new rule will go into effect on February 21, after which point commercial applications for construction and operation of NuScale SMRs can begin.

Diane Hughes, Nuscale's VP of marketing and communications, told us the approval makes the VOYGR SMR "a near-term deployable solution for customers."

The first VOYGR facility is set to open at the Department of Energy's Idaho National Laboratory in 2029 and will consist of six modules. As part of the plant, dubbed the Carbon Free Power Project, will utilize VOYGR SMRs uprated to produce 77MW instead of the current 50.


Continue reading

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/smallbu … 7b094101a6

It would appear that an entity with the funds available  could apply to license/build one of these.

(th)

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#522 2023-02-09 10:58:41

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 3,483

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Estonia selects the BWRX-300 as the basis for the country's first nuclear powerplant.
https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Arti … clear-powe

This powerplant is impressively compact for the amount of power it produces.  Compared to competing SMRs, GE claim it will use 50% less concrete.  A 300MWe unit, sufficient for a city of 300,000 - 600,000 people, would fit on afootball field with space to spare.  It is a scaled down version of the ESBWR.  The smaller size and modularity are expected to make it easier to build, with projected build time of 24-36 months.  This compares very favourably to the >1decade construction time for the French EPR.  Hopefully, no more of these monstrosities will be built.  The UK Hinkley C has been an economic disaster, costing up to £30bn, for a 3.4GWe plant.  There have been similar cost over runs in France and Finland.  The EPR is technically difficult to build.  No more should be constructed.

An SMR in the 300MWe size range would fit well with the needs of city distict heating systems.  They could be built relatively close to cities and could function as combined heat and power plants.  A 300MWe plant will generate 600MW of waste heat at 30°C.  That is sufficient to meet the heating needs of ~250,000 urban homes.

Given how compact the modular BWR is, I wonder if we could develop a scaled down BWR to power a Martian base?  Waste heat is something we can use to heat agricultural polytunnels.

Last edited by Calliban (2023-02-09 11:11:16)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#523 2023-03-01 15:33:29

tahanson43206
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Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/west … 38682.html

Investors(clients) are hanging in despite rising projected costs

Reuters
Western US cities vote to move ahead with novel nuclear power plant

Timothy Gardner

Tue, February 28, 2023 at 4:51 PM EST

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Plans for the first U.S. small modular nuclear power reactor got a boost on Tuesday as some Western U.S. cities vowed to continue with the NuScale Power Corp project despite a jump in projected costs.

Stay ahead of the market
NuScale plans to build a demonstration small modular reactor (SMR) power plant at the Idaho National Laboratory. If successful, the six-reactor, 462 megawatt Carbon Free Power Project will run in 2030.

NuScale said in January the target price for power from the plant is $89 per megawatt hour, up 53% from the previous estimate of $58 per MWh, a jump that raised concerns about whether customers would be willing to pay for the power it generates.

But the consortium of cities in Utah, Idaho, New Mexico and Nevada called Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems, or UAMPS, greenlighted the project's budget and finance plan with 26 of 27 approving.

The consortium originally had 30 members but three dropped out

starting in 2020 amid rising costs and delays.

The next step, an application to construct and operate the plant, is expected to be submitted to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission early next year.

Mason Baker, the UAMPS chief executive and general manager, said the cities felt the project remained viable because rising prices for steel, copper, and cable were not unique to NuScale.

"The project will support our decarbonization efforts, complement and enable more renewable energy, and keep the grid stable," Baker said. "It will produce steady, carbon-free energy for 40 years or longer.

Backers of next generation nuclear power technologies, including the Biden administration, believe small modular reactors can be built quickly once scaled and will be crucial in curbing climate change.

Critics say the technology is too expensive compared to renewable energy and energy storage and that the reactors will produce radioactive waste, a problem that has boosted costs for traditional nuclear plants.

The U.S. Department of Energy in 2020 approved $1.35 billion over 10 years for the project, subject to congressional appropriations. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner Editing by Marguerita Choy)

(th)

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#524 2023-03-01 15:46:40

Terraformer
Member
From: Ceres
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,821
Website

Re: Nuclear power is safe

This implies that the rise in cost is a consequence of rising materials cost? So if the rise isn't temporary, but a permanent increase due to higher demand and lower production, the expected cost for nuclear will go up. Maybe not much higher than $100 a MWh, but that's still pretty high if we're trying to run everything off it...

A far cry from "too cheap to meter", which I can only plausibly see happening (for a planetbound society) in regards to low temperature heat.


"I'm gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy." - If this forum was a Mars Colony

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#525 2023-03-01 16:08:54

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 17,525

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Terraformer re #524

Thanks for noting the announcement reported in #523

There may be more than one factor going into the adjustment of estimated delivery cost.  This is an opportunity for a NewMars Detective (if we have one) to try to discover what factors might have caused the finance department (possibly plural) at the lead investor to hedge it's bets.  This is the first reactor, so costs estimated now to achieve a return on THAT investment may be higher than will be necessary when risks are retired.

A significant risk is the lack of US Government approval for the larger reactors planned for the first installation.  The US Government has approved a 50 MW design, but (my understanding is) the project calls for 6 70 MW reactors.  The increased cost estimate might easily take into account the uncertainty about securing the higher power approval.

I wondered when the 50 MW approval was secured, why the project managers did not simply increase the number of 50 MW plants to match (or exceed) the planned 420 MW of the 6#70 design.

8 plants would have delivered 400 MW, but there may have been (must have been reasons) why the designers decided to go with 6 * 70.

I hope we have a member (or two or three) who can discover more information about the changes.

(th)

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