Week 8 - Electricity Generation

What needs to be considered in thinking about the safety of electricity generated by a nuclear reactor?

YOUR OPINION

  1. I thought the issues paper for this topic, as for others, was clear, comprehensive and even handed. The explanation of the overly-favourable treatment proposed for the new Hinckley Point nuclear station in Britain was particularly good.

    However this question, like some others, is vague and I question its value to the outcome of this RC.

    The issues paper has already explained what needs to be considered re safety: Sites must be geologically stable, near a method of cooling and suitably positioned in the grid – the same requirements as for coal and gas-thermal stations. Like any other generator, a nuclear plant needs operations and maintenance personnel but it also needs a small army of health physicists.

    Re a nuclear powered, off-grid desalination plant: This would be extremely expensive – not only would the desal plant have to be maintained on standby during the long non-drought periods, so would the nuclear power station. Desal plants sit idle at cities around Australia so the nuclear power plants would have to be located nearby – also on the coast. Good luck getting that one approved..

    1. So, the idea is to combine the nuclear plant with the desal plant, rather that convert water to vapor to cool the plant, and then release the vapor to the atmosphere; make use of that “waste” energy to vaporize seawater, and condense the vapor to fresh water which can used for drinking, manufacturing or atmosphere. This will obviate the need to build the large concrete cooling towers which is the main feature of most of today’s nuclear power plant. Save energy, save construction costs, and gain fresh water.

    2. QUOTE
      Re a nuclear powered, off-grid desalination plant: This would be extremely expensive – not only would the desal plant have to be maintained on standby during the long non-drought periods, so would the nuclear power station. Desal plants sit idle at cities around Australia so the nuclear power plants would have to be located nearby – also on the coast. Good luck getting that one approved..
      QUOTE

      There is no need for a desalination plant to be maintained on standby it could be operation the entire time.
      Your statement is based on the assumption that the Nuclear power plant is build for the sole purpose of running a desalination plant.
      Look at It this way, the desalination is a by product of the electricity generation. In any thermal power station there are large quantities of waste heat which need to be removed. Current arrangements use cooling towers which use large amounts of water and reject the heat to atmosphere. A desalination plant would simply replace the cooling tower and instead using water and rejecting waste heat to atmosphere you are desalinating water instead. There is no reason why water cannot be recirculated through the desalination plant with freshwater being used elsewhere as required and raw water being made up to the system to match the usage

      George Hague

  2. Business SA, said in their paper submitted (it is difficult for me to flip back&forth to provide the exact title):

    “Water is always going to be a divisive consideration in the development of any nuclear power industry in South Australia and the Royal Commission should investigate dry cooled reactors as a part of its broader review of nuclear power technologies, notwithstanding the costs of running such systems may be more expensive than conventionally cooled reactors.

    Dry cooling relies on air as the medium of heat transfer rather than evaporation from the cooling circuit. While sea water may turn out to be the best option for cooling if South Australia is to progress with establishing conventional nuclear power, each type of nuclear power technology needs to be judged on its individual merits. Furthermore, exploring the use of sea water for cooling should be prioritised over using conventional water sources, particularly considering the historically dry nature of South Australia and the fact that further savings are still required
    to meet future obligations under the Murray Darling Basin Plan.”

    My comment is that: Seawater SHOULD be used for cooling, and partially distilled to provide quality fresh water for drinking, manufacturing and agriculture. The residual salt enriched brine can then be returned to the ocean. Heat provided by the condensation of of the fresh water, and cooling the brine from the distiller should be transferred to the incoming seawater to improve the thermal efficiency of the distillation process. Nuclear reactors require the removal of waste heat, and instead of the conventional cooling towers releasing this waste heat (in water vapor) to the atmosphere, a nuclear reactor in South Australia should utilize this heat to produce fresh water from sea water.

  3. Contrary to the opinion offered by Campbell Law, dated 08 Mar 2015 that a nuclear reactor in South Australia would require large amounts of water for cooling, a LFTR reactor could be designed to provide additional (new) fresh water for drinking, industrial use, or agriculture from the partial distillation of seawater, if the reactor were located appropriately on the coast, eg north of Adelaide, or at another suitable location.

  4. In my reading on nuclear reactor performance, I have been struck by the large amount of thermal energy produced, when compared to the electrical energy output. In cold climates, e.g. in parts of Russia, the thermal energy is used to heat buildings. In warmer climates, e.g. in Australia, the thermal energy may be used to produce large amounts of distilled water for irrigation or hydroponic plant production. Consider the projects under development by Sundrop Farms of Port Augusta.

  5. Nuclear legacy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGhphEqmrHU
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFMgGf5DXF8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8QOvr0PLW4
    20% of children born healthy.
    They also become sick later.
    Chernobyl leaking to the Black Sea, Fukushima is cooking the oceans.

    We need cold power.
    Solar, wind, wave all generate power without heat.

    We need water safe power.
    SA is the driest state in the driest contintent, any fresh ground water we have we need in perpetuity.
    Any gulf water we need for safe aquaculture and fisheries.

    We need electricity which does not generate massive debt; economic, health, waste, water..

    We need electricity which is cheap, distributed, adaptive, and which works safely with prime safe food export industries. Encourages independence and regional development. Integrates with urban waste water as a fuel source and water storage as energy storage.

    We need electricity which does not make us a military target.

    1. Janet
      I would urge you to do some research on sheer volume of solar wind and wave installations that would be required to supply South Australia let alone the rest of the country. Further more the inconsistency of generation from these sources means it is not only incredibly difficult to manage from a grid perspective but also the installed capacity must be much larger than the required capacity at any given time.

      Large scale, stable base load generation is essential to maintaining electricity network stability.
      Solar, wind, wave is part of the solution its just not the only solution.

      George Hague

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