Please support this Forum and Neven's Blog

Author Topic: Nuclear Power  (Read 70981 times)

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 8110
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #300 on: February 28, 2017, 02:48:09 AM »
U.S.:  Record Nuclear Shutdowns Seen Boosting `Pummeled' Natural Gas
More U.S. nuclear reactors will close for refueling this spring than at any time in nearly two decades creating a power shortage that may lift beaten-down natural gas.

Operators plan to shut 34 reactors, or more than a third of nuclear generating capacity, to replace fuel rods from March through May, according to Michael Rennhack, president and chief executive officer of www.NukeWorker.com, a website that advertises jobs in the sector. That would be the most for the time of year in data going back to 2000, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and projections from Rennhack.

The closures may be good news for gas, the worst performer in the Bloomberg Commodity Index as generators that burn the fossil fuel run harder to make up for the nuclear shortfall, according to Kyle Cooper, director of research with IAF Advisors in Houston. The power plant and heating fuel has tumbled about 28 percent this year as weak demand amid unseasonably warm weather has allowed a glut in supplies to persist.

"Natural gas has been pummeled by bad-weather forecast after bad-weather forecast, so this is the first glimmer of hope in a while," Cooper said by phone Friday. "This could provide some enthusiasm for the market." ...
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-27/record-nuclear-shutdowns-seen-boosting-pummeled-natural-gas
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

tombond

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #301 on: March 06, 2017, 01:24:18 AM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltfa8sSwZTA

A very interesting video where Paul Howarth, CEO of the National Nuclear Laboratory in the UK talks about the UK Government journey towards achieving 60% emissions reduction by 2050 and 80% by 2080.

Initially the Government’s (Labour) ideological position was this could be achieved with renewables until Government scientists developed an emissions reduction computer model.  When the model was run it showed that it is not possible to achieve the emissions reductions required until nuclear was included in the mix.

Based on science and not political ideology the UK Government with bipartisan agreement is now moving towards their emissions reduction goal by developing a nuclear energy industry that will also include a closed nuclear waste cycle by mid century. 

mati

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 267
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #302 on: March 14, 2017, 07:20:17 PM »
Small Nuclear Reactors coming closer to fruition:

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170313005622/en/GE-Hitachi-Nuclear-Energy-ARC-Nuclear-Announce

http://www.arcnuclear.com/

(interesting 20 year refuling cycle)

Small Size
Small enough that its modularized components can be shipped and installed at the site using regular commercial equipment, such as barges, rail, trucks, and construction cranes.
 
Sodium as Coolant
The use of sodium instead of water as the heat transfer agent in the reactor allows the reactor to operate at ambient pressure.  Its containment vessel is a double walled stainless steel tank rather than a 12 inch thick forged steel containment vessel required for traditional light water reactors.
 
Passive Safety
Effectively "walk away" fail safe and protection of the reactor from a melt down does not depend on extra pumps, operator intervention or any external system in the event a disaster destroys all electric power to the plant site.
 
Re-use of Nuclear Waste
The ability of ARC-100 to recycle traditional nuclear waste and generate energy, burn or transform plutonium that could be used for weapons and eliminate the need to bury or store large quantities of nuclear waste.
 
Twenty Year Refueling Cycle
The proprietary reactor core of the ARC reactor is designed to operate for 20+ years without refueling.

and so it goes

longwalks1

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 51
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #303 on: March 14, 2017, 11:18:30 PM »
And a different take on small and modular reactors at the end of the article and in the middle an analysis of the standard large reactors
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/14/terminal-decline-fukushima-and-the-deepening-crisis-of-nuclear-energy/

Small is beautiful?
The four Third Way / Breakthrough Institute authors argue that nuclear power must become substantially cheaper – thus ruling out large conventional reactors “operated at high atmospheric pressures, requiring enormous containment structures, multiply redundant back-up cooling systems, and water cooling towers and ponds, which account for much of the cost associated with building light-water reactors.”


following is a quote of a quote from Bull Atom Scient (the one that Sam Day used to edit decades ago)
“Without a clear-cut case for their advantages, it seems that small nuclear modular reactors are a solution looking for a problem. Of course in the world of digital innovation, this kind of upside-down relationship between solution and problem is pretty normal. Smart phones, Twitter, and high-definition television all began as solutions looking for problems.


Author is
Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where a longer version of this article was originally published.

Tor Bejnar

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1372
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #304 on: March 17, 2017, 04:39:23 PM »
Japan court rules government liable for Fukushima disaster
Terra Daily

A Japanese court on Friday ruled for the first time that the government bears [and shares]responsibility for the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and ordered it and the plant operator to pay damages, officials and news reports said. ...


Plaintiffs received less than a quarter of what they sued for.


Arctic ice is healthy for children and other living things.

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 8110
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #305 on: March 29, 2017, 03:49:43 PM »
Westinghouse Nuclear has gone bankrupt.

How an American Tech Icon Bet on Nuclear — and Lost its Way
Westinghouse Electric Co., once synonymous with America’s industrial might, wagered its future on nuclear power — and lost.

Now a unit of Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp., Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy-court protection, citing as much as $10 billion in debt.
...

In the U.S., only four of 30 applications for nuclear reactors using Westinghouse technology have moved forward, and even those are now at risk. Westinghouse has fallen behind on projects for U.S. utility companies Southern Co. and Scana Corp.

Cost Overruns

Scana and Southern could end up dealing with billions of dollars in additional cost overruns from the power plants they hired Westinghouse to build, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Scana faces as much as $5.2 billion in higher costs while Southern’s extra bills could reach $3.3 billion, Morgan Stanley has said.
...
https://about.bnef.com/blog/how-an-american-tech-icon-bet-on-nuclear-and-lost-its-way/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1721
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #306 on: March 30, 2017, 04:32:00 AM »
Westinghouse Nuclear has gone bankrupt.

How an American Tech Icon Bet on Nuclear — and Lost its Way
Westinghouse Electric Co., once synonymous with America’s industrial might, wagered its future on nuclear power — and lost.

Now a unit of Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp., Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy-court protection, citing as much as $10 billion in debt.
...

In the U.S., only four of 30 applications for nuclear reactors using Westinghouse technology have moved forward, and even those are now at risk. Westinghouse has fallen behind on projects for U.S. utility companies Southern Co. and Scana Corp.

Cost Overruns

Scana and Southern could end up dealing with billions of dollars in additional cost overruns from the power plants they hired Westinghouse to build, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Scana faces as much as $5.2 billion in higher costs while Southern’s extra bills could reach $3.3 billion, Morgan Stanley has said.
...
https://about.bnef.com/blog/how-an-american-tech-icon-bet-on-nuclear-and-lost-its-way/
Westinghouse had a large investment in the Ukrainian nuclear industry. Wonder if they've been paying their bills, and who will pick up the refueling contract.
Terry

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #307 on: March 30, 2017, 10:48:30 AM »
Westinghouse Nuclear has gone bankrupt.

How an American Tech Icon Bet on Nuclear — and Lost its Way
Westinghouse Electric Co., once synonymous with America’s industrial might, wagered its future on nuclear power — and lost.

Now a unit of Japanese technology giant Toshiba Corp., Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy-court protection, citing as much as $10 billion in debt.
...

In the U.S., only four of 30 applications for nuclear reactors using Westinghouse technology have moved forward, and even those are now at risk. Westinghouse has fallen behind on projects for U.S. utility companies Southern Co. and Scana Corp.

Cost Overruns

Scana and Southern could end up dealing with billions of dollars in additional cost overruns from the power plants they hired Westinghouse to build, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. Scana faces as much as $5.2 billion in higher costs while Southern’s extra bills could reach $3.3 billion, Morgan Stanley has said.
...
https://about.bnef.com/blog/how-an-american-tech-icon-bet-on-nuclear-and-lost-its-way/
Westinghouse had a large investment in the Ukrainian nuclear industry. Wonder if they've been paying their bills, and who will pick up the refueling contract.
Terry

The Russians ? Or the French ? Or the parent company?
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

mati

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 267
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #308 on: March 30, 2017, 02:38:33 PM »

The Times attributes the construction issues to inexperience on the part of the contractors, especially given how little new nuclear power plant construction had been underway in the previous decades.

safety regulations passed to prevent terrorist attacks against targets like nuclear reactors forced redesign and relicensing of the two power plants, which “created additional, unanticipated engineering challenges that resulted in increased costs and delays on the US AP1000 Projects.”

https://arstechnica.com/business/2017/03/nuclear-giant-westinghouse-files-for-bankruptcy-after-costs-skyrocketed/

It's a real smawzel..  The construction company hired by westinghouse to build the reactor was a failure and had to be bought by westinghouse and a lot of rework done

After Westinghouse hired Shaw to handle construction in 2008, it wasn’t long before the company’s work came under scrutiny. By early 2012, NRC inspectors found steel in the foundation of one reactor had been installed improperly. A 300-ton reactor vessel nearly fell off a rail car. The wrong welds were used on nuclear modules and had to be redone. Shaw “clearly lacked experience in the nuclear power industry and was not prepared for the rigor and attention to detail required,’’

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-02-13/toshiba-s-nuclear-reactor-mess-winds-back-to-a-louisiana-swamp

Similar problems in China:

All four Chinese AP1000s were scheduled to be operational by 2016,[39] but are reported to be running over two years late mainly due to key component delays and project management issues.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AP1000



and so it goes

silkman

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 189
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #309 on: March 30, 2017, 11:46:54 PM »
   
Westinghouse Electric's AP1000 has been given the seal of approval by the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales - the three bodies which carry out generic design assessments of designs.

They are satisfied that the reactor meets expectations on safety, security and environmental protection at this stage of the regulatory process.

It comes after Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the USA - where it is based - leading parent company Toshiba to say supplying the three required for the proposed new power plant at Moorside, near Sellafield, was "uncertain"   


But only in the UK could the Regulator choose the day after the reactor supplier is declared bankrupt to announce its approval of the design after years of analysis. You really couldn't make it up!

http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/business/Moorside-reactor-given-Government-backing-9f4b2cc4-3887-47f6-acf0-85c13fc89532-ds

mati

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 267
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #310 on: March 31, 2017, 03:56:48 PM »
It could be that China will take over building AP1000 like reactors from Westinghouse.....

Westinghouse has agreed to transfer technology to SNPTC over the first four AP1000 units so that SNPTC can build the following ones on its own. In 2014 SNPTC signed a further agreement with Westinghouse to deepen cooperation in relation to AP1000 and CAP1400 technology globally and “establish a mutually beneficial and complementary partnership”.


with a possible 36 more AP1000 units to be built

Six more at three sites are firmly planned after them, at Sanmen, Haiyang and Lufeng (for CGN), and at least 30 more were proposed to follow.


http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/china-nuclear-power.aspx

and so it goes

tombond

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #311 on: April 03, 2017, 10:23:37 AM »
Great visual map of CO2 emissions in Europe.

https://www.electricitymap.org/?page=country&countryCode=FR

Note that Norway (hydro), Sweden (nuclear and hydro) and France (nuclear) are "green clean " countries with emissions less than 100g/kWh.

By contrast countries like Germany that have invested heavily in intermittent renewable energy generation sources like solar and wind are classified as "brown" countries with emissions above 500g/kWh.


rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #312 on: April 04, 2017, 05:33:01 PM »
Great site reference tombond!

Under current plans all the incremental new renewables capacity in Germany will be used to offset the removal of the remaining nuclear plants until 2022 - so no impact on CO2 emissions. Plans for retiring all the coal-fired electricity generating plants are looking at 2040-2050, while support for new renewables is being reduced. If they had replaced coal instead of nuclear they would be well on the way to a truly low-carbon electricity system. A massive missed opportunity.

Much of the historical reduction in German emissions since 1990 (the base year for current targets) can be pretty much accounted for by the deindustrialization of East Germany after reunification and the closure of very old an inefficient coal powered generating plants. East German emissions fell 43% between 1990 and 1995. Plus the impact of the 2008-10 recession and slow recovery (2% gdp growth since 2012).

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 8110
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #313 on: April 11, 2017, 03:13:45 PM »
Toshiba warns it may not survive its financial crisis
...
Westinghouse's bankruptcy filing has raised questions about what will happen to the storied U.S. company.

Toshiba says it will have no influence over who buys its majority stake in Westinghouse. That will happen under the supervision of the bankruptcy court "and we will not be involved in that," Tsunakawa told reporters last month.

That sale process could fuel concerns in the U.S. government, which reportedly wants to ensure domestic nuclear capabilities don't end up being bought by a Chinese firm.

Westinghouse is already building reactors in China. Buying the struggling American company could provide China with technology it needs to become a leading player in nuclear power.
http://money.cnn.com/2017/04/11/investing/toshiba-earnings-delisting-westinghouse-crisis/index.html
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #314 on: April 11, 2017, 07:24:39 PM »
China plans to open 1st ‘meltdown-free’ nuclear power plant by 2017

"China says it is planning to bring a safe nuclear power plant that will not suffer from meltdowns online in November 2017. It would be the world’s first high-temperature, gas-cooled pebble-bed nuclear plant built on an industrial scale. China’s Nuclear Engineering Construction Corporation wants to introduce a high temperature, pebble-bed, gas-cooled nuclear reactor, in the Shandong Province, south of the capital, Beijing. The company is planning to bring twin 105-megawatt reactors online that would be immune to meltdown. It is hoped that the power station will start working by November 2017.

The Chinese are using a design developed in Germany, though the nuclear reactor which is being built in Shandong will be the first commercial-scale atomic power plant of its kind to be constructed.
“This technology is going to be on the world market within the next five years,” said Zhang Zuoyi, director of the Institute of Nuclear and New Energy Technology, Technology Review reported. “We are developing these reactors to belong to the world.”

The irony of China using a German design for new nuclear reactors.... If they can pull it off, would be a great achievement.

https://www.rt.com/news/332254-china-meltdown-free-reactor/

sidd

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1260
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #315 on: April 11, 2017, 08:38:05 PM »
Pebble bed reactors have failure modes, some of which are discussed in the Wikipedia article. My major concern is fire from loss of helium gas and oxygen intrusion. There are other problems also. I shall  await the results of the Chinese  project.

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #316 on: April 11, 2017, 09:06:29 PM »
Thanks sidd, seems that I need to do some more research on this ...

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #317 on: April 11, 2017, 11:21:03 PM »
Pebble bed reactors have failure modes, some of which are discussed in the Wikipedia article. My major concern is fire from loss of helium gas and oxygen intrusion. There are other problems also. I shall  await the results of the Chinese  project.
Engineering wise there many more ways to solve those problems, with dual loop systems etc etc. It is about fucking time somebody commercialized pebble reactors.  I got to chemical engineering by a desire to get involved with nuclear engineering. Never happened but oh well...development moved with a snail pace..
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #318 on: April 11, 2017, 11:22:58 PM »
Pebble bed reactors have failure modes, some of which are discussed in the Wikipedia article. My major concern is fire from loss of helium gas and oxygen intrusion. There are other problems also. I shall  await the results of the Chinese  project.

There are passive themosiphon like systems that can keep flow even with loss of compressor/turbine...
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

sidd

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1260
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #319 on: April 11, 2017, 11:33:03 PM »
Re: passive safety

There are many backups, but maintaining hermetic sealing in a helium loop under extremes of radiactivity and temperature is quite difficult. And Windscale and Chernobyl have instilled deep caution with regard to graphite moderation. A radioactive graphite fire is very nasty.

sidd
« Last Edit: April 11, 2017, 11:38:46 PM by sidd »

ghoti

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 505
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #320 on: April 12, 2017, 12:10:05 AM »
1) Isn't helium notoriously prone to leakage?

2) Those are tiny for nuclear reactors aren't they? 100Mw is like 10% current normal scale for  nuclear.

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #321 on: April 12, 2017, 01:24:28 AM »
What I find is that similarly with renewables and the behavior of people ppposing them, people opposing nuclear power in general are much quicker to find problems and roadblocks rather than solutions. One can design them with just enough fuel that that even at full Helium flow stoppage the temperature does not exceed a certain limit. Alternatively similar to many rather exothermic fixed bed reactors , the design can be a moving bed tubular reactor. Further more one can segregate the moving graphite pebbles in separate tubes than the radioactive pebbles and so on and so forth.
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

sidd

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1260
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #322 on: April 12, 2017, 04:26:29 AM »
Re:" ... temperature does not exceed a certain limit ..."

Wait a minnit: from wiki and references:

" ... improper temperatures in the core (more than 200 °C above calculated values ..."

I am concerned about O2 intrusion and graphite fire. Until we have production data, i will stay upwind of the thing.

Re: opposition to nuclear compared to oppposition to renewables.

Well, i am less concerned about a sunshine spill, or a wind spill than a radioactive graphite fire. I would rather have a boiling water nuke in my backyard than a pebble bed one, because we have data on the first.

Actually i would rather have a nuke than can be ramped to fit renewable production, but large boilers dont like being ramped. And that is why i think anything except large batteries and natural gas peakers will be out of the running shortly as renewables win out.

Baseload generation is dying fast.

sidd

sidd

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1260
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #323 on: April 12, 2017, 05:02:20 AM »
Re: helium confinement

In a past life, i dealt extensively with helium. It is a little noble gas molecule, say 3 Angstrom or so in size, doesnt like making bonds with anything, including itself.  There is a fascinating paper called "The Weakest Bond" about the tiny energy well of the bound state of the He dimer, two Helium-4 atoms in a mutual energy well,  which can be seen in diverging cross section for scattering states in He-He collisions at loooooow energy. I actually saw this effect in the lab and the observations were puzzling until the theory was developed some years later.

But to address the question: He is a slippery little bugger, the lightest gas other than hydrogen, and hydrogen is far more reactive than He, it makes H2 molecules, while helium doesn't make molecules at ll if it can help itself. So He is monoatomic. As far as "size" or crossection goes, He is actually harder to confine than H2. (However, if it gets out, you dont have to worry about explosion with He like you got to do with H.)

Confining He at high temperatures,pressures and radioactive levels is not for the faint hearted. The highest temperatures I ever had to deal with was around the same as in a pebble bed reactor, I used stainless steel knife edge into opposing copper gasket flanges, but i didnt have to deal with radioactivity, and if i lost confinement i didnt have to worry about a radioactive fire. Radioactivity degrates both stainless and copper, so you got to watch your duty cycles and replacement schedules much more carefully.

Gas cooling is tricky. They did something called AGR with CO2 in the UK  but not too many were built, too complicated.

sidd
« Last Edit: April 12, 2017, 05:12:36 AM by sidd »

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #324 on: April 12, 2017, 05:40:41 AM »
Re:" ... temperature does not exceed a certain limit ..."

Wait a minnit: from wiki and references:

" ... improper temperatures in the core (more than 200 °C above calculated values ..."

I am concerned about O2 intrusion and graphite fire. Until we have production data, i will stay upwind of the thing.

Re: opposition to nuclear compared to oppposition to renewables.

Well, i am less concerned about a sunshine spill, or a wind spill than a radioactive graphite fire. I would rather have a boiling water nuke in my backyard than a pebble bed one, because we have data on the first.

Actually i would rather have a nuke than can be ramped to fit renewable production, but large boilers dont like being ramped. And that is why i think anything except large batteries and natural gas peakers will be out of the running shortly as renewables win out.

Baseload generation is dying fast.

sidd

Until that miracle or two happens....
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #325 on: April 12, 2017, 05:42:01 AM »
Re: helium confinement

In a past life, i dealt extensively with helium. It is a little noble gas molecule, say 3 Angstrom or so in size, doesnt like making bonds with anything, including itself.  There is a fascinating paper called "The Weakest Bond" about the tiny energy well of the bound state of the He dimer, two Helium-4 atoms in a mutual energy well,  which can be seen in diverging cross section for scattering states in He-He collisions at loooooow energy. I actually saw this effect in the lab and the observations were puzzling until the theory was developed some years later.

But to address the question: He is a slippery little bugger, the lightest gas other than hydrogen, and hydrogen is far more reactive than He, it makes H2 molecules, while helium doesn't make molecules at ll if it can help itself. So He is monoatomic. As far as "size" or crossection goes, He is actually harder to confine than H2. (However, if it gets out, you dont have to worry about explosion with He like you got to do with H.)

Confining He at high temperatures,pressures and radioactive levels is not for the faint hearted. The highest temperatures I ever had to deal with was around the same as in a pebble bed reactor, I used stainless steel knife edge into opposing copper gasket flanges, but i didnt have to deal with radioactivity, and if i lost confinement i didnt have to worry about a radioactive fire. Radioactivity degrates both stainless and copper, so you got to watch your duty cycles and replacement schedules much more carefully.

Gas cooling is tricky. They did something called AGR with CO2 in the UK  but not too many were built, too complicated.

sidd

Isn't it true though that hydrogen can diffuse through solid metal walls and pop out the other side while He cannot , unless it diffuses through the defects?
“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

sidd

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1260
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #326 on: April 12, 2017, 08:30:55 AM »
yes, hydrogen is mass 2, helium 4 so diffusion coefficients ( assuming equal reactivity, which is not the case) is sqrt(2) larger for H2

In my experience you can pick up on a mass spec the hydrogen signal on the outside of 1/8 inch red hot stainless wall confining H2 but not the case for He. Shortly after you pick up the H2 signal, you want to shut down everything becoz you have weakened the steel thru hydrogen embrittlement, it will break, and bad things will happen since H2 is explosive in air over a very large range of concentration.

Are you seriously proposing to cool a nuclear reactor using H2 ?

sidd

oren

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1380
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #327 on: April 12, 2017, 11:39:52 AM »
My main problem with nuclear reactors is not their risk profile under regular operation, but their risk profile under the beginning of civilizational collapse. Think of the Mosul Dam, or the Tabka Dam, both in countries under collapse. They weren't very risky to begin with, but both are now at highly increased risk averted through the intervention of foreign powers. All the fine engineering won't help much when maintenance stops or guerillas take over the plant.

DrTskoul

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 798
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #328 on: April 12, 2017, 01:12:12 PM »
yes, hydrogen is mass 2, helium 4 so diffusion coefficients ( assuming equal reactivity, which is not the case) is sqrt(2) larger for H2

In my experience you can pick up on a mass spec the hydrogen signal on the outside of 1/8 inch red hot stainless wall confining H2 but not the case for He. Shortly after you pick up the H2 signal, you want to shut down everything becoz you have weakened the steel thru hydrogen embrittlement, it will break, and bad things will happen since H2 is explosive in air over a very large range of concentration.

Are you seriously proposing to cool a nuclear reactor using H2 ?

sidd

Not even close...just discussing diffusion. H2 splits into H in metals and diffuses ....

“You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts.”
― Richard P. Feynman

tombond

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #329 on: April 12, 2017, 03:03:01 PM »
This is an example of what a successful low CO2 emissions electricity grid looks like and is a blueprint for the world to follow.

The State of Ontario in Canada regularly achieves less than 30g/kWh (today it was 7g/kWh) using low carbon nuclear to do the heavy lifting as base load generation, with some intermittent wind and solar plus hydro and gas to balance peak loads and renewable intermittency.

http://live.gridwatch.ca/home-page.html

Below is a commercial from Bruce Power highlighting the great job done by nuclear.

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

No wonder James Hansen loves nuclear power!


mati

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 267
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #330 on: April 12, 2017, 03:46:36 PM »
Candu heavy water reactors are a completely different beast.  China is planning on using Candu reactors to burn the fuel spent fuel from the light water reactors:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/snc-lavalin-strikes-deal-to-build-nuclear-reactors-in-china/article32000350/

I also think the Candu reactors have a very good safety design.

https://cna.ca/technology/energy/candu-technology/

In the back of my mind, i think the US went with the enriched fuel light water reactors in order to obtain the plutonium for their bombs....
and so it goes

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1721
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #331 on: April 12, 2017, 03:54:45 PM »
mati


Didn't Harper do something to hobble CANDU as he was closing down our medical isotope reactor(s)?


The tar sands was the only energy source he approved of IIRC.


Terry

mati

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 267
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #332 on: April 12, 2017, 04:04:11 PM »
Didn't Harper do something to hobble CANDU as he was closing down our medical isotope reactor(s)?
The medical isotope reactors in Chalk River were of a different beast, and the design of their replacements was flawed, and yes that project was shut down.

However the commercial CANDU technology is now owned by snc-lavalin.  They obtained  it from AECL in 2011, that's probably what you remember happening.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candu_Energy_Inc.
and so it goes

TerryM

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1721
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #333 on: April 12, 2017, 04:08:52 PM »
Didn't Harper do something to hobble CANDU as he was closing down our medical isotope reactor(s)?
The medical isotope reactors in Chalk River were of a different beast, and the design of their replacements was flawed, and yes that project was shut down.

However the commercial CANDU technology is now owned by snc-lavalin.  They obtained  it from AECL in 2011, that's probably what you remember happening.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candu_Energy_Inc.


You're probably correct, though I can't make the link work.
Terry

ghoti

  • ASIF Middle Class
  • Posts: 505
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #334 on: April 12, 2017, 04:22:26 PM »
SNC was paid to take over the CANDU cost problem. They are not particularly safe. The newer design had problems with runaway reactions that weren't predicted by the models used to design them.

Ontario's nuclear fleet is wonderfully low carbon but has been an extremely expensive burden.

tombond

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #335 on: April 14, 2017, 01:48:57 AM »
Ontario's nuclear fleet is wonderfully low carbon but has been an extremely expensive burden.


So you would prefer a intermittent renewable system like Germany, very expensive with CO2 emissions 10 times higher than France?

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/dossiers/eeg-20-new-legal-framework-german-energy-transition-0

http://www.environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/2/11/german-electricity-was-nearly-10-times-dirtier-than-frances-in-2016

I thought the objective was to reduce CO2 emissions.


rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #336 on: April 14, 2017, 04:51:12 AM »
The province of Ontario is faced with a very expensive proposition in refurbishing these nuclear power stations. An alternative would be to replace them with supply from Quebec, which has huge amounts of dispatchable hydro and a great wind resource. Ontario itself could also add more wind and solar, balanced by the dispatchable hydro in Quebec and Manitoba (its neighbours)

Unfortunately the mixture of inter-provincial politics and the strong Ontario nuclear lobby seems to have won the day with the liberal government. I have no issue with nuclear, but crazy to spend $10 billions on refurbing very old nuclear plants when a low-carbon alternative is readily available.

oren

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1380
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #337 on: April 14, 2017, 07:30:04 AM »
Ontario's nuclear fleet is wonderfully low carbon but has been an extremely expensive burden.


So you would prefer a intermittent renewable system like Germany, very expensive with CO2 emissions 10 times higher than France?

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/dossiers/eeg-20-new-legal-framework-german-energy-transition-0

http://www.environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/2/11/german-electricity-was-nearly-10-times-dirtier-than-frances-in-2016

I thought the objective was to reduce CO2 emissions.

tombond, sometimes you sound like an advertisement for nuclear, with the talking points stacked in one direction. Germany and France are in different positions, but the real question should be where to invest going forward. Yes the objective is to reduce CO2 emissions. Should a country trying to reduce its emissions build lots of new nuclear plants, or lots of solar and wind with overcapacity and storage? For many countries (if not all) I believe the answer is the latter, because of economic, risk-management and deployment-speed reasons.

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #338 on: April 14, 2017, 10:24:15 PM »
Good point Oren. Germany's shutting down of its low-carbon nuclear plants rather than its lignite-fuelled ones may be crazy, but it is a situation specific to Germany. Each country has a different set of in place facilities, in place possibilities, and in place politics.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #339 on: April 17, 2017, 10:01:19 AM »
Lazard (2016) sets the LCOE for new US nuclear at a range of $97 to $136 per MWh (10 to 14 cents per kWh).

Onshore US wind is now around 3 cents per kWh and PV solar about 5 cents per kWh.  Both unsubsidized.  Both are expected to drop below 2 cents per kWh over the next decade.

Do you see a route to cutting the cost of nuclear by 75% or more in order to make it competitive?

(Remember, nuclear like solar and wind needs backup.  Reactors go offline without prior notice.  And if the amount of nuclear online exceeds the annual minimum demand storage is needed to time shift output.)

tombond

  • ASIF Lurker
  • Posts: 72
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #340 on: April 17, 2017, 10:50:03 AM »
Yes the objective is to reduce CO2 emissions. Should a country trying to reduce its emissions build lots of new nuclear plants, or lots of solar and wind with overcapacity and storage? For many countries (if not all) I believe the answer is the latter, because of economic, risk-management and deployment-speed reasons.


Where is there a real world example of a reduction in emissions using lots of solar and wind with overcapacity and storage that has resulted in grid electricity emissions below 100g/kWh?

To effectively reduce CO2 emissions every country must decrease CO2 emissions to less that 100g/kWh and increase electricity capacity 4 fold to allow the electrification of transport and industrial heat.

Currently the only real world examples that have achieved emissions this low are hydro and nuclear.

I agree with James Hansen, the most important task is to  reduce CO2 emissions ASAP and will support any technology that achieves this aim.   

France constructed 63GW of nuclear replacing its fossil fuel capacity in just 20 years and today's has CO2 emissions of less than 100g/kWh so has a proven record.

http://www.rte-france.com/en/eco2mix/eco2mix-co2-en

Today they are 29g/kWh.


oren

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1380
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #341 on: April 17, 2017, 11:23:46 AM »
Solar, wind and storage have only come down in price recently, and continue to do so. Real world examples could follow in 10 years, should a country mobilize itself the way France did with nuclear.

Sigmetnow

  • ASIF Royalty
  • Posts: 8110
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #342 on: April 17, 2017, 04:39:58 PM »
And although France currently derives about 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, they are seeking to reduce this to 50% by 2025.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-a-f/france.aspx
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #343 on: April 17, 2017, 07:41:43 PM »
Where is there a real world example of a reduction in emissions using lots of solar and wind with overcapacity and storage that has resulted in grid electricity emissions below 100g/kWh?

To effectively reduce CO2 emissions every country must decrease CO2 emissions to less that 100g/kWh and increase electricity capacity 4 fold to allow the electrification of transport and industrial heat.

Currently the only real world examples that have achieved emissions this low are hydro and nuclear.

We've been generating electricity with hydro for 100 years or so.  With nuclear for 60.  Wind and solar have only recently become price competitively. 

Ask your question in another decade or so after we've had time to build significant amounts of renewable generation.

I hope you are capable of seeing where electricity generation is heading.  It's going to be cost driven.  Nuclear simply does not compete.  Even paid off reactors are not staying in business, operating expenses are too high. 

Fifteen, twenty years back I assumed we'd build hundreds of new reactors in order to move away from fossil fuels.  Wind and solar were simply too expensive to consider.  With nuclear our cost of electricity would go up but that would be a price we would have to pay to control global warming.

Ten years ago it was clear that wind and solar were going to be options as their prices were coming into line with new nuclear.  We'd have the option of avoiding the downsides of nuclear (waste disposal and plant disasters).

In the last ten years we've watch the price of wind and solar plummet.  A simple look at current costs and where costs are headed tells one that nuclear, unless there is some incredible breakthrough in cost, is off the table.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #344 on: April 17, 2017, 08:21:37 PM »
So you would prefer a intermittent renewable system like Germany, very expensive with CO2 emissions 10 times higher than France?

You're making an apples:oranges comparison.

France built their nuclear fleet years ago and their reactors are largely paid off.  Germany is just now installing renewables so they are having to pay off capex and finex costs.

That said, France has admitted that it's costing them about $0.09/kWh to produce electricity from their reactor fleet.  Obviously the government is eating some of that cost and subsidizing the cost of electricity.

If we look at the price of industrial electricity (sans taxes and fees) Germany has been enjoying dropping prices from 10 euro cents per kWh to under 5 euro cents currently.   During that same period France has seen a small increase from under 7 euro cents to over 7 euro cents.  Seven cents is lower than their generating costs. 

France is now seeing that it will be cheaper to close their most expensive reactors and replace them with renewables.  They plan on replacing about a third of their nuclear fleet over the next eight years.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #345 on: April 17, 2017, 08:29:36 PM »
Just a bit more data. 

Second half of 2015 retail electricity in France was 12.5 euro cents per kWh. 

Second half of 2016 retail electricity in Germany was 12.6 euro cents. 

For some reason the second half 2016 prices are not included on the EU database.  Prices are sans taxes and fees. 

The claim  that electricity is a lot more expensive in Germany is a combination of old data and the inclusion of taxes and fees, not the cost of generating electricity.  Germany adds on a lot of taxes, including 'general fund' VAT taxes.  Something like a sales tax.  The French government appears to be subsidizing the price of electricity with tax money.

Data source - http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/data/database

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #346 on: April 17, 2017, 09:39:19 PM »
France is in a great place to drive renewables, given its massive base of low carbon nuclear. Overbuild the intermittents and curtail when required to keep the load factor up for nuclear. Its hydro-electric supply, at 12%, also provides for a good amount of dispatchable power.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #347 on: April 17, 2017, 10:15:17 PM »
Nuclear plants have a limited lifespan.  Reactors are typically designed for a 40 year license with some expectation that they can be pushed out for another 20 years service.  Of course old stuff breaks more frequently so as reactors age the cost of keeping them operating increases.

The average age of France's reactor fleet is greater than 30 years.  France is already encountering operating costs of about 9 euro cents.  Add in major repairs and the cost climbs.  My guess is that it won't make sense to operate hardly any of France's reactors past 2030.  Perhaps sooner.

Germany is actually in a better position than France.  Germany has significant fossil fuel generation which is much more dispatchable than is France's nuclear.  Lowering output of a reactor saves almost no money, fuel is cheap.  Lowering output for a coal or gas plant results in much larger savings due to much higher fuel costs.  As Germany adds wind and solar their wholesale electricity price should drop faster than will France's as they add renewables.

Don't make too much of France's low carbon footprint.  It's real, but it's not intentional.  France rapidly built out a mostly nuclear grid when OPEC threatened their access to petroleum for their generators.  France did not have adequate coal resources which would have left them at the mercy of supply from other countries.  Nuclear was their choice out of "self defense".  Low carbon was simply something that came along with their preferred fuel source, not a decision driver.

Germany may miss the 2020 CO2 target they set several years ago due to their decision to speed up reactor closure.  But they won't miss it by much and they still expect to be fossil fuel free by 2050.  France will have to replace all of their reactors by 2050. 

rboyd

  • ASIF Citizen
  • Posts: 441
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #348 on: April 18, 2017, 07:32:38 AM »
France already has plans to reduce the nuclear share from 78% to 50% by 2025, which should not provide too many technical problems given the current power mix which includes hydro and dispatchable fossil fuel plants (may be few policy and investment issues!). Germany will be dealing with a much higher share of intermittent renewables, so will be dealing with the pain of working out the kinks earlier.

The really stupid ones are the British, with guaranteed high prices for costly new nuclear and a political aversion to onshore wind.

Bob Wallace

  • ASIF Upper Class
  • Posts: 1784
    • View Profile
Re: James Hansen loves nuclear power
« Reply #349 on: April 18, 2017, 08:15:20 AM »
Scotland seems on track to be the main British Isle producer of clean energy.

It's going to be interesting watching how nuclear develops in the UK.  It's fairly likely that no new reactors will be built.  If someone would toss another HVDC line in the water and hook into Portuguese/Spanish solar that could be the end of nuclear.