The role of nuclear power in a low carbon future

OVERKILL

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I will gladly have a Nuc close to me. The taxes they provide and the income to workers makes for a great community with lots of money from tax base to spend. School systems and recreation areas are always great near these plants.
This is Pickering:
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It's eight reactors used to provide 4,124MW of power, meaning it provided about 50% of the GTA's electricity. Down two units now thanks to an incompetent government, she's ~3,100MW, so still able to power about 2 million homes. The four newer B units are ~40 years old now and need their mid-life refurbishment, but the current plan is to shutter the plant instead of proceeding with that.
 
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a lot of mountain terrain/woods here.
austria is similar in the alps, but they also have flat lands.
therefore they use wind energy in these areas.
 

OVERKILL

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a lot of mountain terrain here.
austria has it similar in the alps, but they also have flat lands.
therefore they use wind energy in these areas.

Ontario, being so far inland, our wind patterns are shaped by the Great Lakes. This means that when it's hot, it's not windy. When it's cold, it's not windy. The only time it's windy is early spring and the fall, and it's still intermittent, just the swings up go higher (closer to nameplate) and these are our periods of lowest demand. During the summer, wind can go completely AWOL for weeks, same with during cold snaps. It is THE most useless generator for this type of geography, as it produces completely out of phase with demand.
 
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a lot of mountain terrain/woods here.
austria is similar in the alps, but they also have flat lands.
therefore they use wind energy in these areas.
Yes, after my prior reply I read the Wikipedia article about Slovakia. I have driven to Prague before by car from NRW, Germany, but didn't realize that the terrain was so much more mountainous in Slovakia than in the Czech Republic, which is more like low mountains and rolling terrain.

If you drive over from Germany through Chemnitz, about 20-30 km after getting into the Czech Republic there is a large nuclear facility, on a side note. I hope things are better now than they were in 2004, while Prague was a thriving city, the countryside looked very economically depressed with decaying old Soviet factories.
 
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Lets see some of the new design nuclear plants built. And continued research work on fusion.

Some interesting recent articles on issues mining Lithium. Needed for new technology batteries.
 

OVERKILL

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Lets see some of the new design nuclear plants built. And continued research work on fusion.

Some interesting recent articles on issues mining Lithium. Needed for new technology batteries.

We are working on it!


CNL said:
Canada’s first small modular reactor project reaches licencing milestone

Chalk River, ON – May 19, 2021
– Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), a federal Crown corporation with a mandate to enable nuclear science and technology, and Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), Canada’s premier nuclear science and technology organization, are pleased to congratulate Global First Power (GFP) on achieving an important milestone for their small modular reactor (SMR) project. Yesterday, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), announced that GFP’s application for a Licence to Prepare Site for an SMR project at the Chalk River Laboratories has completed preliminary evaluations, and is now moving on to formal licence review.

“This is a major development towards achieving Canada’s climate change goals,” commented Fred Dermarkar, President and CEO at AECL. “Nuclear energy and SMRs will have to be part of our energy mix if we want to meet our objective of reaching net-zero by 2050. As pioneers of innovative nuclear technology in this country, it is exciting to see continued progress towards the deployment of this promising clean energy technology at our Chalk River site.”

Since its inception in the 1940s, AECL’s Chalk River Laboratories has hosted several first-of-a-kind nuclear reactors and technologies. The campus is home to world-leading experts in nuclear engineering, chemistry, physics and environmental protection, and offers a full complement of other nuclear support services.

“I would like to congratulate the team at Global First Power on reaching this significant milestone,” commented Joe McBrearty, President and CEO at CNL. “The licensing of a new nuclear reactor must be underpinned by a robust scientific understanding, and sound environmental research. The acceptance of this licence application into formal review is evidence of the viability and safety of this project, and the diligence of the GFP team in preparing their application.”

Both AECL and CNL have identified SMRs as one of several strategic initiatives the company is pursuing, with the goal of siting a demonstration project on one of AECL’s sites, which are managed by CNL. Together, both organizations are working to demonstrate the commercial viability of SMRs and have positioned Canada as a global leader in SMR prototype testing and technology development support. As part of the program, CNL issued an invitation in 2018 to SMR developers to apply to site an SMR demonstration reactor at a CNL-managed site. GFP is in stage three of CNL’s four-stage process, and with this recent CNSC announcement, GFP is the most advanced concept towards demonstration.

For more information on CNL, including its SMR program, please visit www.cnl.ca/smr.

About AECL


Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) is a federal Crown corporation with an objective of driving nuclear innovation and cleaning up legacy wastes. AECL delivers its mandate through a long-term contract with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) for the management and operation of its sites.

About CNL

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is a world leader in nuclear science and technology offering unique capabilities and solutions across a wide range of industries. Actively involved with industry-driven research and development in nuclear, transportation, clean technology, energy, defence, security and life sciences, we provide solutions to keep these sectors competitive internationally.

With ongoing investments in new facilities and a focused mandate, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is well positioned for the future. A new performance standard reinforced with a strong safety culture underscores every activity.

For more information on the complete range of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories services, please visit www.cnl.ca or contact [email protected].

Just about ready for site prep for the GFP/USNC MMR at Chalk River!
 
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Unfortunately in the US we are politically unable to develop a coherent energy policy. Renewables are somewhat of a farce. They can never support base load.

We need to be building SMRs already. Need to build some big ones, but as Overkill has already explained, we are incapable of large complex construction projects.

We could certainly build many SMRs and in many ways this would be better for diversity of power and load.

Unfortunately, (not trying to be political), but the US is unable to make reasonable Bipartisan decisions.

NuScale SMRs are our best choice right now.
 
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I recently saw a YouTube video about SMR from U of Illinoi professor on a 20MW small modular reactor, costing about 1.6B for the first 4 plants, producing electricity at 7.4c / kwh. This is not going to be cost effective either.

I think the problem in the US energy policy (or by design) is the oil and gas industry has been a huge part of economy and any non fossil fuel can cut into its share of the economy (your retirement fund, your campaign contribution, your employment, etc). Nuclear was tolerated as it does have a side job as a military application just in case, by sustaining a base for either breeding fuel and weapon in the same ecosystem, and provide employment and research need. As soon as it went the other direction (proliferation risk, going Thorium and may jeopardize the U-235 economy) regulation will be put in place and funding cut.

In the long term only the nuclear weapon club who aren't already in the energy secure club will have the will and the need to continue the research for future plant design. Also only developing nations will have the ability to build without going massive over budget. This ends up pretty much only with Russia, India, and China on the list.
 

OVERKILL

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how about thorium, metal that nobody wants ? (they say)

It's very plentiful in certain locations (moreso than uranium) but the thorium fuel cycle is more complicated because thorium is fertile not fissile, so it typically needs to be blended with something fissile like uranium or plutonium. Canada successfully demonstrated the thorium fuel cycle in our CANDU reactors using waste plutonium (US nuclear warheads) as the fertile material in the blend, and that was the marketing angle, you could use up weapons material while producing power, but it didn't go anywhere.

In places with extreme abundance of uranium (Canada for example), there's no real motivation to pursue a thorium fuel cycle, since the uranium one is already established.
 
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what a shame it is not widely used... we could save some amount of the fissile metals for future generations.
(i guess everything exist in finite amount.)
but people instead push hard for solar/wind.... which covers agro-soil and forest. :(
 
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what a shame it is not widely used... we could save some amount of the fissile metals for future generations.
(i guess everything exist in finite amount.)
but people instead push hard for solar/wind.... which covers agro-soil and forest. :(
India and China are working on it. India in particular.

The rest of the developed world don't want to take on the expense and the risk of new design, and they are comfortable using existing technology instead of the uncertainty (cost overrun) of new design. China would want diversification just in case any single source becomes a problem, India has a lot of thorium and need a lot of energy to grow into the future.
 

OVERKILL

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what a shame it is not widely used... we could save some amount of the fissile metals for future generations.
(i guess everything exist in finite amount.)
but people instead push hard for solar/wind.... which covers agro-soil and forest. :(

Wind and solar are seen as a "natural" (I mean close to nature, not as a natural fit) solution. It's the granola pitch; the "organic" of the power generation world, it doesn't matter that it isn't sustainable, and people will willfully ignore the industrialization of landscapes and the processes used to produce these "solutions" because of that angle/perception.

Nuclear is the total opposite. It's viewed as being complex and resource heavy (where in reality, it uses fewer resources than wind and solar) and because fission as a process is conceptually difficult for Joe and Jane average to wrap their heads around, it's scary. People fear what they don't understand. If you think of how difficult it is to get reasonably intelligent people to just wrap their minds around grid operations and the difference between installed capacity and output, the requirements for things like storage, measured in capacity over time...etc. All reasonably simple mathematical equations with easy to understand variables, then you start to get the sense of how conceptually foreign, and subsequently uncomfortable, trying to not only understand just the basics of fission itself, but of what happens when things go wrong, what can go wrong, what can't go wrong, how radiation works...etc. You get into subject matter where people just throw up their hands in exasperation and default to their fear/frustration.

This has produced an opportunity for the oil and gas industry, who know full-well the limitations of wind and solar, to dovetail their gas offerings as part of this "solution", guaranteeing them an ever-present role going forward in this "green utopia". It's brilliant really. Shell pitches gas as the "natural partner for renewables" for example.
 

OVERKILL

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India and China are working on it. India in particular.

The rest of the developed world don't want to take on the expense and the risk of new design, and they are comfortable using existing technology instead of the uncertainty (cost overrun) of new design. China would want diversification just in case any single source becomes a problem, India has a lot of thorium and need a lot of energy to grow into the future.

Honestly, I think it's US protectionism that has prevented any pursuit of a potential thorium fuel cycle south of the border. We have the design (CANDU) and did offer it up, as it would be a very good pairing with the existing US nuclear fleet, as various flexible fuel cycle options are available, including MOX, thorium (using retired weapons material, as I mentioned), spent LWR fuel (see: Qinshan in China)...etc. The US doesn't want big industry powergen tech that isn't domestic, which is ironic, given the origins of most of the wind and solar.
 
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Honestly, I think it's US protectionism that has prevented any pursuit of a potential thorium fuel cycle south of the border. We have the design (CANDU) and did offer it up, as it would be a very good pairing with the existing US nuclear fleet, as various flexible fuel cycle options are available, including MOX, thorium (using retired weapons material, as I mentioned), spent LWR fuel (see: Qinshan in China)...etc. The US doesn't want big industry powergen tech that isn't domestic, which is ironic, given the origins of most of the wind and solar.
In an ideal world CANDU would be everywhere, long term storage wouldn't exist, and we wouldn't have reprocessing ban.
 

OVERKILL

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We currently don't have a reprocessing ban. The problem is nobody will invest the billions into a plant and risk having one stroke of the pen sink their entire investment.

Good point. It was forbidden for quite some time and you are right, it could be wiped out so easily if somebody were to spend the money to invest in a PUREX facility. Ultimately, it should be the government to lead such an endeavour, which would eliminate the need for a 3rd party investor. The used fuel is ultimately their responsibility, making less of it would make way too much sense though, lol.
 
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Honestly, I think it's US protectionism that has prevented any pursuit of a potential thorium fuel cycle south of the border. We have the design (CANDU) and did offer it up, as it would be a very good pairing with the existing US nuclear fleet, as various flexible fuel cycle options are available, including MOX, thorium (using retired weapons material, as I mentioned), spent LWR fuel (see: Qinshan in China)...etc. The US doesn't want big industry powergen tech that isn't domestic, which is ironic, given the origins of most of the wind and solar.
You can thank some folks in the USNRC for this attitude. Having retired from the agency, they just don’t want to expend resources in the MOX/Breeder direction. Mostly focused on SMRs and waste management.
 
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