Mini-Nuclear Reactors Are Coming, and They Could Reinvent the Energy Industry

Nuclear power may be making a comeback as researchers develop reactors that are smaller than ever before.
“There is a clear need for new generating capacity around the world, both to replace old fossil fuel units, especially coal-fired ones, which emit a lot of carbon dioxide, and to meet increased demand for electricity in many countries.”

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+1 1. Judge-Jake commented 18 days ago

Very interesting, a glimpse of the future maybe. :|
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+1 2. RobertTusk commented 18 days ago

I have to ask why they are not working on Thorium instead of filthy Uranium.
Thorium in very plentiful on Earth and is easy to extract.
One tonne of Thorium delivers the same amount of energy as 250 tonnes of Uranium.
There is estimated to be enough Thorium on the planet to last 10,000 years.
China has 2 Thorium plants coming online next year.
One solid fuel and one liquid salt.
These are small modular units.
https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/08/china-has-multi-billion-projects-developing-liquid-and-solid-fuel-molten-salt-reactors.html
Remember Obama's 2010 state of the union address where he got a standing ovation from both sides of the house when he said he was going to resume nuclear power production.
How is that doing 9 years later?
The US has 2 nuclear power stations under construction - both so mired in corruption and incompetence that they will likely never be completed.
(Mentioned in the video the Vogtle power plant in Georgia and the South Carolina Gas and Electric and Santee Cooper plant).
But China is investing in every aspect of Nuclear power.
20 Uranium plants under construction in 2019 and according to MIT they have construction time down to 60 months.
Aside from its own mainline nuclear design (Hualong type) and SMR (Nimble Dragon type) nuclear plants,
China is hedging its bets by building foreign designs.
They built Taishan 1 which is an EPR (European Pressure Reactor) style reactor.
It came online June 29 last year.
Taishan 2 (also EPR) is scheduled to come online this year.
It is also building a demonstration fast breeder reactor.
This is the CFR-600, a sodium-cooled pool-type fast-neutron nuclear reactor on Changbiao Island in Fujian province.
At Yangjiang an AP1000 (Westinghouse design) type is under construction but has had problems.
(This is the same type being built in South Carolina and the one that broke Westinghouse).
But all the plants under construction now were begun more than 3 years ago.
No new one has broken ground in the meantime.
Attention has now switched to experimental designs to keep reasonable costs and maintain safety.
The sodium-cooled reactor completed near Beijing in 2011 still has problems with its coolant systems.
20 high-­temperature gas-cooled reactors were planned for Shidao Bay in Shandong Province.
But the first 2 have way overrun in costs so the other 18 were cancelled.
So nuclear fission power is still struggling to succeed in China.

Nuclear fusion power.
The most advanced fusion reactor on the planet today is China's EAST project.
(Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak).
Not content with that, it's next fusion project (CFETR) has already been approved.
http://world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/China-plans-fusion-power-research
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0 3. johannsommer commented 17 days ago

Nuclear energy provides about 2-3% of the total end energy worldwide.
But reserves are nearly exhausted by 40-50% in the last about 70 years. So nuclear energy has far less potential than per example one tenth (10%) of all fossil fuels.
Compared with dangers and costs, this is a disaster, far away from being hope.
Tho only reason for developing nuclear energy was military reasons for all times. There was no further reason, as alternative nuclear concepts were dismissed decades before, not producing militarily usable material.

I am convinced, that we have to reduce fossile dependency. But why does nobody speak about energy efficiency? What about passive houses. What about smaller cars? What about long during products, we needn't to replace every year?

Perhaps it would be better not to panic and to think for environmentally solutions, not only regarding CO2!
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0 4. snotraddict commented 17 days ago

#2 "But China is investing in every aspect of Nuclear power.
20 Uranium plants under construction in 2019 and according to MIT they have construction time down to 60 months."

Wow, that sounds impressive, but ...

"The largest power producers in China have asked the government to allow for the development of between 300 and 500 new coal power plants by 2030."
https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/28/china-new-coal-plants-2030-climate/

Ooooppsie. This means they'll be burning coal big time for another half century or more.

Tusky- I admire your love affair with China (who wouldn't love a country that kills 40,000+ Americans a year), but it never adds up. Stats without context are useless. That is the game with the Global Warming religion. :D:D

But thanks to Trump, as we de-couple from China and move trade elsewhere, they may not need all of those hundreds of power plants. ;)>:)

But to your point, hell yes, let's build them by the 100's, and NOW! Whatever kind you like, let's do it.

#3 That's cute. Much of what you're talking about is nipping at the fringe and it's not being serious. I do agree with less usage of raw materials, though no one values well made items. Toss the one you got and buy another. Trading with 3rd world countries makes it easy. ;)
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0 5. RobertTusk commented 16 days ago

#4
Americans are still the biggest polluters - the same as in the 20th century.
China's per capita's carbon footprint at 6.57t is less than half that of the US (14.95t).
(That is despite much of the west's heavy and dirty industries having been exported to China).
Do you think you should have a special allowance to pollute more than twice as much as a Chinese person?

Ref the request to build those coal plants.
The government has not granted that request.

Then you have a throwaway statement "(who wouldn't love a country that kills 40,000+ Americans a year)"
And your very next statement is "Stats without context are useless"
Have you any idea how ironic that is?
I guess you probably don't.

"Thanks to Trump" and his bright idea of a trade war....
I don't think you will like the long term outcome when the consequences are fully played out.
History shows that most empires are not defeated militarily - they just rot from the inside.
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0 6. snotraddict commented 3 days ago

Per capita doesn't matter IF the CO2 levels are already too high as the global warming religion says they are.

IF they are too high and, per AOC we're dead in 12 years (11 years and a few months now), then what does "per capita" have to do with anything if you believe our time is out? Do we have time for China to increase CO2 4x to be even with the US?

If they've asked for the coal plants, they need them. They may not get 100%, but how many will they get? 2? :D

40,000+ Americans killed every year thanks to Chinese Fentanyl, but you know that.

Trump is right. We'll be fine.

Additionally, we shouldn't be trading with a country actively engaging in 3 holocausts. Remember when we said that'd never happen again? It might be. China vs. Uighurs, vs. Falun Gong and vs. Americans (Fentanyl). The UK is asking the UN to take action to go in and take a look. With China it's difficult to get an accurate picture, but it seems to be getting traction. TBD.

And lastly, not to mention the mess they'll eventually make of Hong Kong who wishes they had someone like Trump.