Monday, July 19, 2010

10th Carnival of Nuclear Energy at NextBigFuture

Brian Wang -- founder of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy -- presents the 10th Carnival at his home website. This carnival looks at topics from Thorium energy to climate science to shale gas to China's stockpiling of uranium to the future of nuclear energy projects -- including small modular fission reactors and fusion projects.

Entry number 5 from Power Industry Trends is a synopsis of small modular fission reactor projects, aiming to overturn the calculus of nuclear power.
The players:

-Small modular reactor currently rated at 45MWe with up to 24 units at single location (1080MWe)
-36 months from first concrete to power

-Passive cooling systems using natural circulation
-Proven LWR design which should provide faster regulatory review as it is not novel technology
-24 month refueling cycle
-500 tons as shipped via barge, truck or train, forged and fabbed at any mid-size facility
-Estimated cost advantages due to: simplicity, modular design, volume manufacturing and shorter construction times
-Filing with NRC for design certification in Q2 2012. NuScale expects the first nuclear facility will be operational sometime in 2018.
Data from Nuscale website

B&W mPower
-125 MWe to 750 MWe or more for a 4.5-year operating cycle without refueling
-Proven ALWR design which will reduce regulatory review time
-Design Certification submittal in 2011
-Letter of intent recieved from Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to begin the process of evaluating a potential lead plant site
Data and picture from B&W website

ARC-100 Advanced Reactor Concepts
-Sodium-cooled, metal fueled, fast-reactor currently rated at 50-100MWe
-Sodium Cooled primary to super critical CO2 secondary Brayton Cycle
-Based on technology proven by over 30 years of successful operation of EBR II, an experimental program operated by the U.S. government
-20 year (yes year) refueling cycle
-Proliferation proof fuel system
-10 acre footprint and less than 24 months construction time
-Target cost of $0.05 per KWh for electricity production
-Initial discussions with NRC, but no date for design certification submittal
Data from Advance Reactor Concepts website

Hyperion Power Module (HPM) or Mini Power Reactor (MPR)
-Formerly the Comstar reactor invented by Dr. Otis "Pete"' Peterson at the United States' famed Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico. Through the commercialization program at LANL’s Technology Transfer Division, HPG was awarded the exclusive license
-Each liquid metal PbBi cooled HPM-based electric plant generates 25MWe and can be configured for steam only, co-generation, or electricity only. Two or more modules can be "teamed" together.
-$50 million for one 25Mwe module
-Fits into a standard fuel transport container, Transported via ship, rail, or truck. Total mass < 20 metric tons -Produces power for 8-10 years and entire reactor module is replaced -Expect design certification submittal to NRC within a year -150 purchase commitments from customers such as mining and telecom companies, provided its technology gets licensed for operation -Meets all the non-proliferation criteria of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) as the entire module is fueled and sealed in the factory and returned to the factory once expended. -Alternate Energy Holdings Inc (AEHI) has signed a MoU with Hyperion Power Generation Inc of New Mexico which the companies have described as "the beginning of a joint venture" to build and market Hyperion's modular reactors around the world Data from Hyperion website _Several other SMR projects along with links provided at: PowerIndustryTrends

It seems as if small modular reactors are the most likely breakthrough nuclear energy product over the coming two decades. It is now a matter of the dozen or so companies behind the SMR projects to bring their products to market-ready condition, and for the nuclear regulatory agencies of various nations to get off their butts and certify the products that are ready for market.

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