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By Charles Rhodes, P.Eng., Ph.D.

The monetary value of a nuclear power station in an energy system lies more in its dependable electric power and dependable heat outputs than in its energy output. There are more economic alternative non-fossil sources of energy, but they lack dependability. Dependable generation is also required to black start and stabilize an electricity system.

There are two methods of producing nuclear energy, fission of high atomic weight elements and fusion of low atomic weight elements. Both methods are explored on this web site.

However, from a practical public electricity supply perspective nuclear energy released via continuous fast neutron fission of heavy elements is the only dependable source of non-fossil power that can sustainably and economically fully displace fossil fuels here on Earth.

The sun is powered by fusion so renewable energy is actually fusion energy. However, due to the rotation of planet Earth about its axis and due to the inclination of that axis with respect to Earth's orbital plane at any particular point on Earth's surface solar and wind energy production is both intermittent and seasonal.

Solar and wind electricity generators require efficient daily and seasonal energy storage and related efficient long distance transmission to convert interruptible electricity into dependable electric power. Unless the geography is very favorable, such as in British Columbia, Quebec and Norway, these storage and transmission costs are prohibitive. It is usually more practical to price dependable electricity and interruptible electricity differently so that applications which require dependable electricity pay the extra costs required to achieve electricity supply dependability and other applications that can function with interruptible electricity, do not pay those extra costs.

Advances in Fast Neutron Reactor (FNR) technology have rendered obsolete past concerns about nuclear reactor safety and nuclear waste disposal. However, the present wasteful use of the limited inventories of U-235 and Pu-239 as fuels for water moderated reactors is an enormous concern. As fossil fuels are phased out the amount of available dependable electricity will be constrained by the available U-235 and Pu-239 inventories. It will take over a century to double the fissile isotope inventories via breeding in Fast Neutron Reactors (FNRs).

Another concern is squandering of limited public resources on development of new reactor types that are not fuel sustainable. It is imperative to apply the limited public resouces to deployment of liquid sodium cooled Fast Neutron Reactors (FNRs), because FNRs provide the only technology that can sustainably fully displace fossil fuels. An advantage of liquid sodium over other possible primary coolants is that it is chemically compatible with the steel for economic FNR fabrication.

Other than via renewable energy, fusion based electricity generation is difficult and expensive to realize on Earth. For fundamental thermodynamic efficiency reasons, as long as low cost fission fuels are available, the cost per kWhe of Earth based fusion energy production will remain much higher than the cost per kWhe of Earth based fission energy production.

The possible avenues of future nuclear fuel cost relief are transmutation of U-238 into Pu-239 in FNRs, transmutation of Th-232 into U-233 in thermal neutron reactors and mining He-3 from the surface of the moon. In theory it is possible to breed H-3 in fusion reactors but sustaining controlled fusion reactions on Earth is extremely difficult. The problems include a low density plasma, a small fusion reaction cross section and large ongoing plasma energy loses via energetic neutron emission. The fusion reactor size required for maintaining a self sustaining fusion chain reaction is believed to be too large for economic construction.

1. Nuclear Motivation 2. Nuclear Technologies
3. Sustainable Nuclear Power 4. Modular Reactors
5.Electricity Generation Reactors 6. Reactor Design Constraints
7. Integrated Zero Emission Energy Plan8. A Fresh Look at Nuclear Energy
9. Nuclear Now by Will Davis 10.
11. Conference Presentation (30 minute) 12. Conference Short Presentation (20 minute)
13. Conference Short Presentation Slides14.
World Wide Nuclear Power Summary, November 2018, by Prof. Igor Pioro
US Nuclear Program January 2019
Russian Nuclear Power Program 2018
Nuclear Power Plant Safety by Herschel Specter
1. CANDU Reactors 2. Fast Neutron Reactors
3. Molten Salt Reactors 4. FNR Initial Fuel Sources
5. Ottensmeyer Plan 6. Ottensmeyer Plan Detail
7. Ottensmeyer Plan Implementation 8. FNR Sodium
9. FNR Material Recycling 10. Non-Proliferation
11. FNR Specifications 12. FNR Design
13. FNR Fuel Rods 14. FNR Fuel Tubes
15. FNR Fuel Tube Wear 16. FNR Fuel Bundle
17. FNR Mathematical Model 18. FNR Reactivity
19. FNR Core 20. FNR Blanket
21. Liquid Sodium Guard Band 22. FNR Primary Liquid Sodium Flow
23. FNR Heat Exchange Tubes 24. FNR Intermediate Heat Exchange Bundles
25. FNR Geometry 26. FNR Sodium Pool
27. FNR Steam Generator 28. FNR Enclosure
29. FNR Control 30. FNR Criticality
31. FNR Siting 32. FNR Safety
33. FNR Prompt Neutron Pulse 34.
35. Energy Policy 36. Open Letter to G-20 Government Leaders
1. Radiation Safety 2. Nuclear Waste Categories
3. Nuclear Waste Disposal 4. Helium-3 Recovery
5. NWMO / OPG 6. Radio Isotope Dry Storage
7. Radio Isotope Containers 8. Porcelain
9. Radio Isotope Container Seals 10. Seepage
11. DGR Ventilation 12. Jersey Emerald
13. DGR Closing Remarks 14. Nuclear Waste Disposal Press Release
15. Nuclear Education 16. Presentation Notes
17. Pickering Advanced
Recycle Complex (PARC)
18. Letter To Federal Political Leaders
19. Letter to Minister of Environment
and Climate Change, Ontario
20. Letter to Mininster of Environment
and Climate Change, Canada
21. U of T 17-02-09 Slide Presentation 22. U of T Presentation
Fusion section is currently being reconstructed.
Please examine this section at a later date.
1. PIF Glossary 2. Nuclear Fusion Prospect
3. Plasma Impact Fusion 4. Nuclear Fusion Engineering Considerations
5. D-T Fusion Fuel 6. Spherical Compression Part A
7. Adiabatic Compression 8. Fusion Output
9. Liquid Lead Constraints 10. Spherical Compression Part B
11. Random Plasma Properties 12. PIF Process
13. Liquid Lead Shell Formation 14. Pressure Vessel
15. Port Valves 16. Process Timing
17. Tritium Breeding18.
19. Spheromak Compression 20. Real Plasma Spheromaks
21. Spheromak Generator 22. Plasma Spheromak Lifetime
23. Vacuum Pumping Constraints 24. Liquid Lead Pumping
1. Micro Fusion Introduction 2. Micro Fusion FAQ
3. Micro Fusion Energy Flows 4. Micro Fusion Economics
5. Micro Fusion Regulatory Hurdles 6. Alumina Cylinder
7. Micro Fusion International

It is the intent of this author to eventually produce web pages addressing all of the above mentioned topics.

This web page last updated April 14, 2019.

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