Nuclear Energy

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Nuclear Energy: 

Nuclear Energy Professor Stephen Lawrence Leeds School of Business University of Colorado at Boulder


Agenda Overview of Nuclear Energy Nuclear Physics Nuclear Fuel Nuclear Power Plants Radiation Nuclear Waste Nuclear Safety Nuclear Power and the Environment Nuclear Power Economics Nuclear Power – Pro & Con Future of Nuclear Power

Overview of Nuclear Power: 

Overview of Nuclear Power

Nuclear energy consumption by area : 

Nuclear energy consumption by area



World Nuclear Power Plants: 

World Nuclear Power Plants

Electric Power Generation: 

Electric Power Generation

Electric Consumption Profile: 

Electric Consumption Profile

US Nuclear Generation Trends: 

US Nuclear Generation Trends

Nuclear Physics: 

Nuclear Physics

Nuclear Binding Energy: 

Nuclear Binding Energy

Nuclear Binding Energy 2: 

Nuclear Binding Energy 2 Maximum Stability (Iron)

Nuclear Fission: 

Nuclear Fission

Nuclear Chain Reaction: 

Nuclear Chain Reaction

Nuclear Fuel: 

Nuclear Fuel



Creating Uranium Fuel: 

Creating Uranium Fuel 50,000 tonnes of ore from mine 200 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate (U3O8) Milling process at mine 25 tonnes of enriched uranium oxide uranium oxide is converted into a gas, uranium hexafluoride (UF6), Every tonne of uranium hexafluoride separated into about 130 kg of enriched UF6 (about 3.5% U-235) and 870 kg of 'depleted' UF6 (mostly U-238). The enriched UF6 is finally converted into uranium dioxide (UO2) powder Pressed into fuel pellets which are encased in zirconium alloy tubes to form fuel rods.

Uranium Mined and Refined: 

Uranium Mined and Refined

Uranium Enrichment : 

Uranium Enrichment

Nuclear Fuel Pellet: 

Nuclear Fuel Pellet

Pellets Encased in Ceramic: 

Pellets Encased in Ceramic

Pellets Inserted into Rods: 

Pellets Inserted into Rods

Sources of Uranium: 

Sources of Uranium

World Uranium Production: 

World Uranium Production

Nuclear Power Plants: 

Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear Power Plants: 

Nuclear Power Plants Work best at constant power Excellent for baseload power Power output range of 40 to 2000 MW Current designs are 600 to1200 MW 441 licensed plants operating in 31 countries Produce about 17% of global electrical energy

Nuclear Power Plant: 

Nuclear Power Plant

Nuclear PP Cooling Tower: 

Nuclear PP Cooling Tower

Core of Nuclear Reactor: 

Core of Nuclear Reactor

Nuclear PP Control Room: 

Nuclear PP Control Room

Idea of a Nuclear Power Plant: 

Idea of a Nuclear Power Plant Spinning turbine blades and generator Boiling water Steam

Nuclear Heat : 

Nuclear Heat

Controlling Chain Reaction : 

Controlling Chain Reaction Control rods Fuel Assemblies Withdraw control rods, reaction increases Insert control rods, reaction decreases

Boiling Water Reactor : 

Boiling Water Reactor

Boiling Water Reactor (BWR): 

Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) Reactor core creates heat Steam-water mixture is produced when very pure water (reactor coolant) moves upward through the core absorbing heat The steam-water mixture leaves the top of the core and enters the two stages of moisture separation where water droplets are removed before the steam is allowed to enter the steam line Steam line directs the steam to the main turbine causing it to turn the turbine generator, which produces electricity.

Pressurized Water Reactor : 

Pressurized Water Reactor

Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR): 

Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) Reactor core generates heat Pressurized-water in the primary coolant loop carries the heat to the steam generator Inside the steam generator heat from the primary coolant loop vaporizes the water in a secondary loop producing steam The steam line directs the steam to the main turbine causing it to turn the turbine generator, which produces electricity

Reactor Safety Design: 

Reactor Safety Design Containment Vessel 1.5-inch thick steel Shield Building Wall 3 foot thick reinforced concrete Dry Well Wall 5 foot thick reinforced concrete Bio Shield 4 foot thick leaded concrete with 1.5-inch thick steel lining inside and out Reactor Vessel 4 to 8 inches thick steel Reactor Fuel Weir Wall 1.5 foot thick concrete

Tour of a Nuclear Power Plant: 

Tour of a Nuclear Power Plant


Source: Nuclear Engineering International handbook 1999, but including Pickering A in Canada.

Advanced Research Designs: 

Advanced Research Designs Generation IV Reactors Gas cooled fast reactor Lead cooled fast reactor Molten salt reactor Sodium-cooled fast reactor Supercritical water reactor Very high temperature reactor

SSTAR Design: 

SSTAR Design SSTAR – Small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor Fast breeder reactor Tamper resistant, passively safe, self-contained fuel source (U238) 30 year life Produce constant power of 10-100 MW 15m high × 3 m wide; 500 tonnes Prototype expected by 2015

SSTAR Schematic: 

SSTAR Schematic



Types of Radiation: 

Types of Radiation

Types of Radiation: 

Types of Radiation Alpha radiation Cannot penetrate the skin Blocked out by a sheet of paper Dangerous in the lung Beta radiation Can penetrate into the body Can be blocked out by a sheet of aluminum foil Gamma radiation Can go right through the body Requires several inches of lead or concrete, or a yard or so of water, to block it. Neutron radiation Normally found only inside a nuclear reactor

Measuring Radioactivity: 

Measuring Radioactivity Half-Life The time for a radioactive source to lose 50% of its radioactivity For each half-life time period, radioactivity drops by 50% 1/2; 1/4; 1/8; 1/16; 1/32; 1/64; 1/128; 1/256; … A half-life of 1 year means that radioactivity drops to <1% of its original intensity in seven years Intensity vs. half-life Intense radiation has a short half life, so decays more rapidly

Half-Life Graph: 

Half-Life Graph

Nuclear Waste: 

Nuclear Waste

Handling Nuclear Waste: 

Handling Nuclear Waste Waste Reprocessing Recondition for further use as fuel Waste Disposal Temporary storage Permanent disposal (usually burial)

Waste Disposal Funding: 

Waste Disposal Funding Funded by power customers 0.1 cent per kWh About $18 billion collected to date About $6 billion has been spent Yucca Mountain, elsewhere

Nuclear Fuel Cycle: 

Nuclear Fuel Cycle

Decay of Nuclear PP Waste: 

Decay of Nuclear PP Waste

Nuclear Waste Reprocessing: 

Nuclear Waste Reprocessing Separates usable elements (uranium, plutonium) from spent nuclear reactor fuels Usable elements are then reused in a nuclear reactor Other waste products (e.g., radioactive isotopes) must be disposed of

Nuclear Waste Disposal: 

Nuclear Waste Disposal Cooled in a spent fuel pool 10 to 20 years Onsite temporary dry storage Until permanent site becomes available Central permanent buried disposal

Spent Fuel Cooling Pool: 

Spent Fuel Cooling Pool

Fuel Rod Storage: 

Fuel Rod Storage

Dry Storage Cask: 

Dry Storage Cask


Dry Storage On Site: 

Dry Storage On Site

Dry Cask Construction: 

Dry Cask Construction

Dry Cask Durability: 

Dry Cask Durability

Waste Burial: 

Waste Burial Immobilize waste in an insoluble matrix E.g. borosilicate glass, Synroc (or leave them as uranium oxide fuel pellets - a ceramic) Seal inside a corrosion-resistant container Usualy stainless steel Locate deep underground in stable rock Site the repository in a remote location. Most radioactivity decays within 1,000 years Remaining radioactivity similar to that of the naturally-occurring uranium ore, though more concentrated

Yucca Mountain Burial Site: 

Yucca Mountain Burial Site

Yucca Mountain, NV: 

Yucca Mountain, NV

Yucca Mountain Cross Section: 

Yucca Mountain Cross Section

Entrance to Yucca Mountain: 

Entrance to Yucca Mountain

Interior of Yucca Mountain: 

Interior of Yucca Mountain

Yucca Mountain – One Opinion: 

Yucca Mountain – One Opinion

Nuclear Safety: 

Nuclear Safety

Three Mile Island, PA: 

Three Mile Island, PA

Three Mile Island Accident: 

Three Mile Island Accident March 28, 1979 Partial core meltdown over 5 days Main feedwater pumps failed Backup feedwater system was inoperative Instrumentation failed; operators unaware Should region around TMI be evacuated? No fatalities; little radiation exposure Cleanup lasted 14 years; cost $975 million Public confidence shaken 51 US nuclear reactor orders cancelled 1980-84

Chernobyl Accident: 

Chernobyl Accident April 26, 1986 Pripyat, Ukraine Catastrophic steam explosion Destroyed reactor Plume of radioactive fallout spread far USSR, eastern Europe, Scandinavia, UK, eastern US Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia hit hardest 56 direct deaths; ~4,000 long-term deaths 200,000 people evacuated and resettled

Chernobyl Accident: 

Chernobyl Accident

Causes of Chernobyl: 

Causes of Chernobyl No containment building Poor reactor design (unsafe) Inserting control rods initially increased reactor energy generation Operators were careless & violated plant procedures Switched off many safety systems Withdrew too many control rods Causes still in dispute by various parties

Chernobyl Contamination: 

Chernobyl Contamination

Recent US Auto Scrams: 

Recent US Auto Scrams

Recent US Significant Events: 

Recent US Significant Events

Nuclear Power and the Environment: 

Nuclear Power and the Environment

US Sources of Clean Energy: 

US Sources of Clean Energy

The Environment: 

The Environment Over the past 50 years, US Nuclear Plants Have: Generated 13.7 Trillion Kilowatt-Hours of Electricity Zero Carbon Depletion & Zero Emissions Avoiding: 3.1 Billion Metric Tons of Carbon 73.6 Million Tons Sulfur Dioxide 35.6 Million Tons of Nitrogen Oxides

Greenhouse Gas Production: 

Greenhouse Gas Production

Voluntary CO2 Reductions: 

Voluntary CO2 Reductions

Emissions Avoided: 

Emissions Avoided

Life Cycle Emissions Analysis: 

Life Cycle Emissions Analysis Emissions Produced by 1 kWh of Electricity Based on Life-Cycle Analysis

Life-Cycle CO2 Emissions: 

Life-Cycle CO2 Emissions

Nuclear Power Economics: 

Nuclear Power Economics

Nuclear Operating Performance: 

Nuclear Operating Performance 71 71 74 77 76 74 80 85 87 89 90 Record Performance 778 Billion kWhrs

Nuclear Generating Costs: 

Nuclear Generating Costs 30.3 29.9 27.3 25.5 25.2 27.2 23.5 21.2 20.5 19.4 18.8 Fuel Capital Improve O&M 2002 Dollars

US Nuclear Production Costs: 

US Nuclear Production Costs

US Production Cost Comparison: 

US Production Cost Comparison

US Capacity Factors (2004): 

US Capacity Factors (2004)

Nuclear Power Pro and Con: 

Nuclear Power Pro and Con

Disadvantages of Nuclear Power: 

Disadvantages of Nuclear Power Possibly disastrous accidents Nuclear waste dangerous for thousands of years unless reprocessed Risk of nuclear proliferation associated with some designs High capital costs Long construction periods largely due to regulatory delays High maintenance costs High cost of decommissioning plants Designs of current plants are all large-scale

Anti-Nuclear Ad: 

Anti-Nuclear Ad

Advantages of Nuclear Power: 

Advantages of Nuclear Power Substantial base load energy producing capability No greenhouse gas emissions during operation Does not produce air pollutants The quantity of waste produced is small Small number of major accidents only one (TMI) in types of plants in common use Low fuel costs; Large fuel reserves Ease of transport and stockpiling of fuel Future designs may be small and modular For example, SSTAR

Nuclear Energy Institute Ad: 

Nuclear Energy Institute Ad

The Future of Nuclear Power: 

The Future of Nuclear Power

Nuclear Units in Construction: 

Nuclear Units in Construction

New Nuclear Plants Inevitable : 

New Nuclear Plants Inevitable It is no longer a matter of debate whether there will be new nuclear plants in the industry’s future. Now, the discussion has shifted to predictions of how many, where and when. New nuclear plants and base-load power plants using new coal technologies are least likely to appear in the populous and energy-hungry Northeast or in California, regions that already have significantly higher energy prices than the Southeast and Midwest These differences will tend to favor lower energy prices in the Southeast and Midwest to the disadvantage of the Northeast and California. Fitch Ratings Ltd., “Wholesale Power Market Update,” March 13, 2006

G-8 Energy Ministers: 

G-8 Energy Ministers G-8 Energy Ministers Call Nuclear Energy Crucial to Environmentally Sustainable Diversification of Energy Supply Ministers proceed from the fact that diversification of the energy portfolio in terms of energy sources, suppliers and consumers as well as delivery methods and routes will reduce energy security risks not only for individual countries but for the entire international community. For those countries that wish, wide-scale development of safe and secure nuclear energy is crucial for long-term environmentally sustainable diversification of energy supply G8 Energy Ministerial Meeting, March 15-16, 2006, Moscow

Greenpeace Founder for NP: 

Greenpeace Founder for NP Greenpeace Founder Patrick Moore Speaks in Favor of Nuclear Energy at U.N. Climate Change Conference There is now a great deal of scientific evidence showing nuclear power to be an environmentally sound and safe choice,” Moore has said, adding that calls to phase out both coal and nuclear power worldwide are unrealistic. “There are simply not enough available forms of alternative energy to replace both of them together. Given a choice between nuclear on the one hand and coal, oil and natural gas on the other, nuclear energy is by far the best option, as it emits neither CO2 nor any other air pollutants.”

Fusion Energy: 

Fusion Energy

Nuclear Binding Energy: 

Nuclear Binding Energy

Fission vs. Fusion: 

Fission vs. Fusion


Tokamak Fusion Design: 

Tokamak Fusion Design

JET Tokamak: 

JET Tokamak

Extra Slides: 

Extra Slides

Nuclear PP Schematic: 

Nuclear PP Schematic

Nuclear PP Cutaway: 

Nuclear PP Cutaway

Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR): 

Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR)

Boiling Water Reactor (BWR): 

Boiling Water Reactor (BWR)

Latest US Design: 

Next Generation Reactors Design Highlights 1,400 MWe Plant With Simplified Systems Passive Safety Features Overall Schedule Licensing Process Started 2002 Regulatory Approval Expected 2006 Key Benefits Faster Construction, Lower Costs Improved Safety and Security Improved O&M Costs ESBWR Can Meet U.S. Owner’s New Needs Latest US Design ESBWR





Global Power Generation: 

Global Power Generation 335 GW Market Potential over Next 4 Years 35% of Orders Come from China 2003 – 2006 Orders Forecast 187 57 50 28 15 China 125 Rest of Asia 62 Source: EPM S1 Forecast (GW)

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