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Nuclear Energy Challenges in this Century

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Nuclear Energy Challenges in this Century Daniel A. Meneley University of Ontario Institute of Technology 2000 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, L1H 7K4 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nuclear Energy Challenges in this Century


1
Nuclear Energy Challenges in this Century
  • Daniel A. Meneley
  • University of Ontario Institute of Technology
  • 2000 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, L1H
    7K4

2
Introduction
  • Nuclear energy is a mature technology
  • It is no longer a leading topic for research
  • The world faces an urgent energy challenge
  • Population is increasing
  • Petroleum supplies are low and uncertain
  • There is little time to build for the future
  • IEA statement, 2009 annual report
  • We must leave oil before it leaves us

3
What are The Main Challenges?
  • As defined in recent IAEA Report
  • International Status and Prospects for Nuclear
    Power, Report by the Director General, September
    2010
  • As defined in recent MIT Summary Report
  • The Future of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle, An
    Interdisciplinary MIT Study, 2010
  • A list of this sort must be based on some kind of
    prediction of the future a precarious task at
    best

4
Comparison of Challenge Lists
5
Comparison of Challenge Lists
6
Comparison of Challenge Lists
7
Comparison of Challenge Lists
8
Comparison of Challenge Lists
9
Comparison of Challenge Lists
10
Selection of Challenges
Preconditions
Select Combine
Select combine
Select combine
Priority 2
Select combine
Select
11
Selected Challenges
  • SHORT TERM (ZERO to 50 YEARS)
  • Gain Public Acceptance
  • Restore Realism in the Assessment of Radiation
    Risk
  • Complete the Technical Task Replace Petroleum
    in transportation
  • Establish the Means for Financing Nuclear Energy
    Projects
  • Answer Power Plant Site, Security, Energy
    Transport Questions
  • Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
  •  
  • LONG TERM (50 to 100 YEARS )
  • 7. Effective use of available resources (fuels
    and materials)
  • 8. Grow Nuclear Capacity to More Than Ten
    Terawatts
  • 9. Integrate Industrial Systems Develop the
    Hydricity Network

12
Preliminaries
  • Earn public acceptance you cant live without
    it
  • Acceptance relies on trust
  • Institutional trust is essential, but rare today
  • Trust is easy to lose and difficult to earn
  • If institutions are trustworthy, the young will
    come
  • Resources will not be a problem
  • Do realistic risk analysis
  • Make best estimate predictions of risk
  • Decouple these estimates from licensing analysis
  • Control costs, improve public acceptance

13
3. Complete the Technical TaskReplace Petroleum
  • IAEA 2009 Annual Report
  • One day we will run out of oil, it is not today
    or tomorrow, but one day we will run out of oil
    and we have to leave oil before oil leaves us,
    and we have to prepare ourselves for that day.
  • The earlier we start the better, because all of
    our economic and social system is based on oil.
    To change from that will take a lot of time and a
    lot of money and we should take this issue very
    seriously.

14
Only Oil??
  • Coal
  • Plentiful but poorly distributed and difficult to
    manage in a sensitive natural environment
  • Limits to scale-up capability?
  • Natural Gas
  • Plentiful in some areas, scarce in others
  • Shale gas is not the answer

15
Nuclear is Small Potatoes Today
http//seekingalpha.com/article/230374-global-hydr
o-and-nuclear-power-in-perspective?sourceemail (
gregor.us)
16
Energy Options on Planet Earth
Available Resource Original Source? How Much?
Oil Natural Gas Coal Geothermal Derived from stored solar energy plus the decay of radioactive materials in the earth. Half of available oil has already been used 0.4 yotta (1024) Joules Coal is the largest source

Hydro Wind Solar Tidal Biomass Derived from direct solar (fusion) or from earths and moons kinetic energy. Diffuse and limited in either total capacity or achievable extraction rate. 3.8 yotta (1024) Joules per year Approximately the same amount of energy is radiated to space per year

Uranium Thorium Derived from the explosion of a supernova, some 6.5 billion years ago. Inexhaustible total capacity and widespread availability. High potential extraction rate. 320 yotta (1024) Joules Uranium in seawater is the largest source
17
Resources Consumed per Gigawatt of Production
Capacity
Type of power plant No. of units, land area Fuel Required per year Solid Waste tons/year Gaseous Waste, incl. GHGs Avail-ability () Cost US /MWh Life-time (yrs)
Nuclear (LWR) One or two units, small area 20 tons uranium dioxide 1 ton fission products in 15 tons HLW No CO2 or other GHGs during operation 90 45 - 120 gt60

Coal One or two units, small area 4 million tons of coal 0.4 million tons of ash 13 million tons of CO2 80 30- 90 30

Jan B. van Erp, Agustin Alonso, Daniel A.
Meneley, Jozef Misak , George S. Stanford, to be
published
18
Is there enough nuclear fuel?
Sources of Uranium and Thorium Sources of Uranium and Thorium Resources (thousands of tonnes) Exajoules (Thermal Reactors) Exajoules (Fast Reactors)
U Recoverable IAEA, 2007 5,500 2750 437,000
U EAR OECD, 1998 15,000 7500 1,200,000
U Used Fuel 2,000 - 160,000
UPu Surplus Military Small Small Small
U Phosphates IAEA 2001 9,100 4700 750,000
U Dissolved in Seawater 4,400,000 N/A 317,800,000
Th Recoverable OECD/ NEA 2007 2,573 (low?) 1300 212,000
NOTE World Primary Energy Use in 2005 457 Exajoules NOTE World Primary Energy Use in 2005 457 Exajoules NOTE World Primary Energy Use in 2005 457 Exajoules NOTE World Primary Energy Use in 2005 457 Exajoules NOTE World Primary Energy Use in 2005 457 Exajoules
19
Transportation Fuels
  • C.W. Forsberg (ORNL and MIT)
  • Liquid fuel demands for transport could be
    reduced in half by combinations of several
    options such as diesel engines and plug-in
    hybrids.
  • Independently, the biomass liquid fuel options
    could meet existing liquid fuel demands . . . .
  • The specific combination of biomass, nuclear
    energy, and liquid fuels for transportation will
    be determined by the results of ongoing
    development work.

20
Alternative Strategies
  • Urgent is the most important word today
  • We have no time to search for the best solution
  • We have a good technology water reactors in
    hand
  • We have another option SFR at the
    demonstration stage
  • Good for waste management and for energy in the
    long term
  • Edward Kee, NERA Consultants
  • The most important issue for reactor designs is
    to get a lot of units built and in operation as
    fast as possible. . . . . While design features
    are important, market success is much more
    important.

21
Alternative Strategies
  • Do NOT fall into the research forever trap
  • It is tempting to spend effort on perfect
    solutions that take a long time to develop

22
Alternative Strategies
  • Do NOT fall into the research forever trap
  • It is tempting to spend effort on perfect
    solutions that take a long time to develop
  • Of course, do research for the 22nd century
  • Work on all energy options that might be
    beneficial
  • But do NOT let this research work conflict with
    meeting todays challenge

23
Are There Enough Reactor Sites?
  • Given the need for a few terawatts of capacity
  • Establish mega-sites analogous to major oil
    fields
  • Improved technical support and security
    environment
  • Arrange for a hub and spoke system with small
    sites
  • Build recycling facilities at major sites
  • Reduce transportation needs
  • Recycle most actinides
  • Shorten isolation period and waste repository
    volumes
  • On-site waste disposal?
  • Recover high value inert fission products (not
    waste)
  • Deep-drilled final repository?

24
Example A Nuclear Mega-Site
THIS ENERGY SUPPLY IS SUSTAINABLE FOR THOUSANDS
OF YEARS
DUPIC Processing Plant
Used PWR Fuel
Enriched U
U
Uranium Thorium
REPROC. FAB. PLANT
FBR
Pu
Oxide Fabrication Plant
Fresh Fuel
U, Pu, fission products
Reprocessing Plant
Waste
Waste
Disposal
Old Used Fuel
Used Fuel
Used Fuel Storage
25
4. Financing the Nuclear Buildup
  • Consider a new oil field discovery
  • Large capital requirements for development
  • Tax relief is a common support mechanism
  • Low lease fees
  • Direct subsidy
  • Concept of the Public Good Paul Collier
  • Natural resources have no natural owner
  • Ownership normally is assigned to government
  • Nuclear is a public good an investment in the
    future
  • Loan guarantees by governments are fully
    justified
  • This will reduce a common bad the import of
    petroleum

26
5. Site, Security, Energy Transport
  • A few large sites are preferred for many reasons
  • Remote location or an island may be preferred
  • Security is much easier and more affordable
  • Energy transport similar to that of a large oil
    field
  • Energy currencies will be electricity and
    hydrogen
  • Co-location e.g. synthetic transportation fuel
    production
  • Pipelines and power lines, water transport
  • Minimal fuel shipment, especially of used fuel
  • Bring recycle facilities to the reactor site

27
6. Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
  • This is primarily a task for diplomats and
    governments not technical folks
  • Effective international agreements are essential
  • The nonproliferation regime already exists
  • No aggressive use of these weapons in past 65
    years
  • A matter for specialists civil and military
  • Engineers can assist with but not solve -- this
    issue
  • There is no proliferation proof nuclear plant
    design

28
7, 8, 9. The Long Term
  • Long term fuel supply will not be a problem
  • True, if this issue is properly addressed in the
    short term
  • Otherwise, long term prediction is too uncertain
    for definite statements on challenges
  • The task today is to get through the next 50
    years
  • Our descendants probably will produce better
    ideas
  • In case they do not, nuclear fission energy can
    do the job even without future technical
    discoveries
  • Hydrogen electricity are expected to be main
    currencies
  • The matter of steadily increasing human numbers
    must be dealt with soon by someone.

29
Summary
  • Build nuclear capacity rapidly Gen II and/or
    III
  • Classify nuclear capacity as an investment, not
    as a cost
  • Do not fall into the research forever trap
  • Convert sufficient fertile material to fissile
    material, to supply long term recycled fuel
  • Fission most of the higher actinides

30
Questions?
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