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Nuclear Power Generation in Small States. Charles Grant International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences. World Energy Needs. The provision of energy has become one of the most critical: Political Economic Environmental Developmental and Survival issues in the world.

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Nuclear power generation in small states

Nuclear Power Generation in Small States

Charles Grant

International Centre for Environmental and Nuclear Sciences

WorldEnergy Needs

  • The provision of energy has become one of

  • the most critical:

    • Political

    • Economic

    • Environmental

    • Developmental and

    • Survival issues in the world.

  • A developing country such as Jamaica is also dependent upon a future supply of secure, affordable, safe and clean energy.

  • .




















    Without access to Energy, the poorer nations of the world cannot develop

    Annual per capita electricity use. kWh


    long and healthy life

    adult literacy rate

    gross domestic product

    Predicted energy consumption
    Predicted Energy Consumption

    • Source: OECD/IEA World Energy Outlook 2006

    Electricity generation in jamaica
    Electricity Generation in Jamaica

    In the past seven years, the price per barrel of crude spiked to a high of $147, increasing from $28 in 2003 and settling (temporarily) between $80 and $110 in the last year

    The proposed large scale switch to LNG, though a most important addition, does not remove the need for long-term planning for cheaper cleaner energy production.

    26.3 Bbl

    Global oil reserve 1348 thousand million barrels as of 2011
    Global Oil Reserve, 1348Thousand Million Barrels as of 2011

    Hubert Prediction Curve

    The curve shows a peak in 2009 followed by a decline in production dropping to zero near the year 2090.

    Environmental impact of fossil fuel
    Environmental Impact of Fossil Fuel

    The consensus of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is that global warming is a real and significant environmental threat during the next century, even if fossil fuel use continues at present global levels.

    Environmental and health impacts
    Environmental and health impacts

    Annual health related damages that are not presently included in the price of energy. In addition to reduced carbon footprints, wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear have very small external costs in comparison to fossil fuels including gas. The hidden health and environmental costs of energy production and consumption in the United States could exceed $120 billion Annually ($63 billion from coal alone)

    (National Academy of Science, 2005)

    Renewable energy sources in jamaica
    Renewable energy Sources in Jamaica

    • Renewable energy sources such as solar; wind, tides and waves do not provide directly either continuous base-load power, or peak-load power when it is needed.

    Jamaica produced 6.3 TWh of electricity

    Some 22.3MW of hydro-electric plants (7 units) are installed and there is potential for another 100 MW. The conventional construction cost is approximately US$ 2,300/kW. The proposed 6,370 kW plant in Maggotty will cost US$3,709 per kilowatt (Data from OUR).

    The wind farm at Wigton was commissioned in 2004, at a cost of US$26 million. It is rated at 20.7 MW but averages 7 MW due to wind speed variations. It is proposed to add a further nine 2 MW turbines almost doubling the nominal installed wind capacity to 38.7 MW. This does not include the cost of standby capacity for periods when the turbines cannot operate.

    Alternative electricity generation
    Alternative Electricity Generation

    It is expected that bagasse and waste to energy conversion will increase renewable energy usage relative to the current level of ~ 5%, towards 15% by 2020. There is potential but one of the concerns is the substitution of energy crops for food crops and the predicted climate changes will make local food production even more urgent.

    If the proposed refinery expansion materializes, pet coke could contribute 100MW at a cost of approximately US$300 million. This would contribute significantly to diversification but it now seems unlikely due to funding requirements.

    The use of solar water heaters is growing and there are some demonstration photovoltaic units. Photovoltaic prospects would be improved with net metering.

    Why consider nuclear
    Why Consider Nuclear?

    • Nuclear offers:

      • a near-zero emissions option

      • long-term stability on generation cost

      • demonstrated and established technology: 14,000 reactor-years of operating experience

      • Applications for both electricity & high temperature heat generation (Fuel cells/desalination)

    Nuclear environmentalist
    Nuclear Environmentalist

    • Some of the world's most influential greens have had a reversal of opinion on nuclear power. These include Gaia theorist James Lovelock, Green-peace cofounder Patrick Moore, and the late Bishop Hugh Montefiore, a longtime board member of Friends of the Earth. Many persons now see nuclear power as the only way, at present, to drastically reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

    1973 1995 the use of nuclear worldwide avoided the burning of fossil fuels by about
    1973-1995, the use of nuclear worldwide avoided the burning of fossil fuels by about

    • 8.9 billion tons of coal

    • 56 trillion cubic feet of gas

    • 10 billion barrels of oil

    For the same period the world's nuclear energy plants reduced emissions by

    • 6.1 billion tons of carbon

    • 219 million tons of sulphur dioxide.

    • 98 million tons of nitrogen oxide.

    ~38% increase

    ~20% increase

    ~4% increase

    Nuclear Shares of National Electricity Generation, 2006

    Fuente: Power Reactor Information System; en

    Number of reactors under construction in the world as of july 2010
    Number of Reactors Under Construction in the World (as of July 2010)

    • Reactors being constructed, 67 % in Asia

    147 reactors ordered around the world, 56 % in Asia

    Finland and France are building the first nuclear plants in Europe since 1986

    Operating life time extensions in the usa
    Operating Life-Time Extensions in the USA

    • As of June 2009, the NRC has extended from 40 to 60 years the licenses of 54 reactors, more than half of the US total.

    • Currently, the NRC is examining license renewal application for 16 more units.

    • more than 15 additional applications are expected to be submitted by 2013.

    • The US reactors are now typically running at 90% of capacity compared to 72% capacity in 1990.

    • Equivalent to ~47 new Reactors

    Global Nuclear Market

    Source: International Energy Outlook 2007 – Energy Information Agency, US Department of Energy

    Comparison of electricity generation parameters including costs
    Comparison of electricity generation parameters including costs

    Run of River*, **Automotive Diesel Oil, ***Heavy Fuel Oil

    These costs are overnight costs and do not include financing, specific site conditions, specific environment and

    safety requirements as may be imposed on specific projects. It is intended for comparison only.

    Generation iii plus
    Generation III-plus

    These designs rely completely on the passive safety systems instead of grid-powered, diesel-fueled, or battery back-up electricity, in the event of an accident. These are designs that have fully functional passive safety systems that have the ability to function at least 72 hours without AC electrical power or external cooling water. The Westinghouse's AP1000 design (Generation III) circulates cool outside air around a steel containment vessel, and drains water by gravity from a tank positioned atop the vessel. The system can provide cooling for up to 72 hours. After that, a small diesel generator is meant to supply power to pump water from an onsite storage container into the reactor core and spent fuel pool at 100 gallons per minute for up to four days. The system could then be replenished by adding water with a fire truck and pump. (That approach doesn't work with the Generation II Fukishima Daiichi plant, because cooling there still relies on active operation of the plant's own pumping system.) Advanced passive designs will make boiling-water nuclear reactors 10 to 100 times safer than their active predecessors.

    Is nuclear power feasible for small states
    Is Nuclear Power Feasible for Small States?

    • Today, due partly to the high capital cost of large power reactors generating electricity via the steam cycle and partly to consideration of public perception, there is a move to develop smaller units.

    • Supply future worldwide needs for electricity and hydrogen

    • Improvements in sustainability, safety, and economics

    • 200 MW ~US$ 300,000,000

    Fast Reactors for Transmutation fuel Cycles?

    The Hyperion Power Module

    This reactor was invented at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico and the Hyperion Power Generation, Inc. (HPG), was formed to bring the Hyperion reactor to market and holds the exclusive license. As shown by the human scale, the Hyperion reactor is quite small, about 1.5 metres wide and 2 metres high. The shipping weight is 15-20 tons. Hyperion (25 MWe) is expected to cost about US$30 million per unit. Already they report receipt of over 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries.


    mPower is a smaller than rail car sized, modular, passively safe, advanced light water reactor (ALWR) with a unit output of 160 MWe. The reactor lifetime is rated at 60 years and used fuel is stored in a spent fuel pool within the containment, 4 year fuel cycle. The plant consists of a cylindrical pressure vessel 23m by 4.5m (75ft by 15 ft) that contains all the components of the nuclear steam supply, system core (standard fuel enriched to 5%), control rod assemblies, primary loop pumps, steam generator and pressurizer.

    Toshiba 4S

    The Toshiba 4S reactor is a sodium cooled, fast reactor with a steel clad compact core made of a uranium/plutonium/zirconium alloy. Combined with a compact steam turbine secondary system, it will generate 10 MW of electrical power, scalable to 50MWe, for 30 years without refueling. The reactor would be located in a sealed, cylindrical vault 30 m (98 ft) underground, while the building above ground would be 22 x 16 x 11 m (72 × 52.5 x 36 ft) in size. The entire system can be accommodated in less than ½ acre of land.

    The reactor module is designed to be:

    • Replaceable in order to provide the capability of extending the plant life beyond 30 years.

    • Capable of being installed and ready for sodium fill within 6 months after delivery to site.

    • The nuclear steam supply system (NSSS) is designed to operate for 30 years. Any NSSS component not capable of meeting the 30-year design life is designed to be replaceable.

    • The plant is factory built and can be transported by road, rail and ship.


    Argentina is developing their CAREM-25 which is a modular pressurized water reactor with integral steam generators designed for use as an electricity generator (27 MWe or up to 100 MWe), as a research reactor or for water desalination (with 8 MWe in cogeneration configuration). CAREM has its entire primary coolant system within the reactor pressure vessel, self-pressurised and relying entirely on convection. The fuel is standard 3.4% enriched PWR fuel, with burnable poison, and is refueled annually. It is a mature design which could be deployed within a decade. It is also a prototype for a larger reactor sized 100MWe or 300MWE. Construction is planned to begin by end 2010. The estimated cost is about US$200 million.

    Barge Mounted Reactors

    The KLT-40S is well proven in icebreakers and is now proposed for wider use. A 150 MWt unit produces 38.5 MWe gross. These are designed to run 3-4 years between refueling and it is envisaged that they will be operated in pairs to allow for outages (70% capacity factor), with onboard refueling capability and spent fuel storage. At the end of a 12-year operating cycle the whole plant is taken to a central facility for overhaul and storage of spent fuel. Two units will be mounted on a 20,000 tonne barge.

    Pebble-Bed Modular Reactor (HTR-PM)

    A compact gas-cooled reactor with fuel assemblies the size of tennis balls filled with thousands of pellets of 9% U-235. Unlike light-water reactors that use water and steam, the PBMR cools its core and drives its turbines with pressurized helium.

    • Power ~250MWe

    • helium cooled, graphite moderated

      • Direct cycle gas turbine

      • High outlet temperature: 900°C

      • Good thermal efficiency (~ 42%)

        ~30% improvement

      • high fuel average burnup (~ 90 GWd/tU initially, higher later)

        • ~100% improvement


    March 1979. Three Mile Island, USA Reactor PWR, 792 MWe

    The Three Mile Island incident was a near thing. It was largely due to operator error but the system worked – the reactor was wrecked but no one was hurt and there was no dispersal of radioactivity. The Chernobyl Reactor 4 disaster was a steam explosion followed by another due to the ignition of hydrogen. The reactor core was exposed and radioactivity was widely dispersed and there were many deaths. Such a reactor, which did not include a containment vessel, would not have been licensed in the West, but even so, the use of the reactor at the time of the accident was not consistent with the established procedures. when the fifth largest earthquake ever recorded struck Fukushima the 3 operating reactors shut down automatically. Since the input power lines were wrecked the emergency diesel generators were used to begin removal of the decay heat. The diesels worked for about an hour before being inundated by the tsunami. This eventually lead to partial meltdown of the three cores and spent fuel rods causing large scale contamination.

    The lessons of these dramatic events have been well learned and safety measureshave greatly improved to the extent that the nuclear industry is one of the world’s safest.

    April 1986. Chernobyl, a USSR Reactor RBMK, 1000 Mwe (Graphite and water moderator).

    March 2011. Reactors 1, 2 and 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi's six reactors were in operation at the full power rating of 1100 MWe

    Top 5 q a on nuclear waste
    Top 5 Q & A on Nuclear Waste

    • 1. The nuclear industry still has no solution to the 'waste problem', so cannot expect support for construction of new plants until this is remedied.

    • Reprocessing spent Fuel~ 3% HLW incorporated into borosilicate glass (vitrified nuclear waste). A piece this size would contain the total high-level waste arising from nuclear electricity generation for one person throughout a normal lifetime.

    • 2. The transportation of this waste poses an unacceptable risk to people and the environment.

    • Nuclear materials have been transported safely (virtually without incident and without harmful effect on anyone) since before the advent of nuclear power over 50 years ago. Transportations of nuclear materials cannot therefore be referred to as 'mobile Chernobyls'.

    • 3. There is a potential terrorist threat to the large volumes of radioactive wastes currently being stored and the risk that this waste could leak or be dispersed as a result of terrorist action.

    • High-level waste (HLW) and used fuel is kept in secure nuclear facilities with appropriate protection measures. Most high-level wastes produced are held as stable ceramic solids or in vitrified form (glass). Their structure is such that they would be very difficult to disperse by terrorist action, so that the threat from so-called 'dirty bombs' is not high.

    Top 5 q a on nw cont
    Top 5 Q & A on NW cont.

    • 4. Nuclear wastes are hazardous for tens of thousands of years. This clearly is unprecedented and poses a huge threat to our future generations.

    • Many industries produce hazardous waste many of which remain in the environment permanently. In fact, the radioactivity of nuclear wastes naturally decays progressively and has a finite radiotoxic lifetime. The radioactivity of high-level wastes decays to the level of an equivalent amount of original mined uranium ore in between 1,000 and 10,000 years.

    • 5. Manmade radiation differs from natural radiation

    • Radiation emitted from manmade radionuclides is exactly the same form as radiation emitted from naturally-occurring radioactive materials (namely alpha, beta or gamma radiation). As such, the radiation emitted by naturally-occurring materials can not be distinguished from radiation produced by materials in the nuclear fuel cycle.

    Enabling framework
    Enabling Framework

    • Political Framework

    • Responsible Owner

    • Regulatory Framework

    • Merchant Operator

    • Fuel Supply and Waste Management

    • Finance

    • Contract Management

    • Training and Education

    • Industrial Infrastructure


    Largely because of the Jamaica SLOWPOKE, a number of programmes that would contribute

    directly to the infrastructure necessary for development of a nuclear energy programme are

    already in place. These include:

    International Agreements and Links

    (a) Jamaica is a member of the IAEA and a signatory to: the Safeguards Agreement; the Additional Protocol; the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material; the Non-proliferation Treaty, the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials; and other international and regional agreements.

    (b) On behalf of the government of Jamaica, ICENS reports, to the IAEA on the traffic of nuclear materials into and out of the island, and is also responsible for Incident Reporting for Research Reactors to IAEA.

    (c) The United States Department of Energy (DOE) agreement to replace the present highly enriched uranium core. The process of replacement of the present SLOWPOKE core will add to our experience in the nuclear field.

    (d) ICENS has:

    (1) a series of training programmes for its own staff that could be readily expanded;

    (2) some of the contacts that would provide training and experience overseas, e.g.: research reactor centres in Austria, Argentina, Brazil; Canada; Mexico; the United Kingdom and the United States.

    (3) a national personnel monitoring service for radiation protection for Jamaica. This service can deal with all Jamaica’s needs if but slightly is improved by installation of a secondary calibration source; backup facilities to ensure against instrument failure; and additional staff training. These would probably be provided at no cost to Jamaica by the IAEA once the radiation law is in place.

    (4) Several staff who have been trained in detection and security of

    radioisotopes, and radiation protection.

    ICENS asked to form Committee for Nuclear Energy

    Summary programmes that would contribute

    • Any alternative energy sources must be price competitive

    • stability of nuclear electricity costs is a major benefit

    • Recent analyses fail to come up with any 50-year scenario based on sustainable development principles that do not depend significantly on nuclear fission to provide large-scale, highly intensive energy, along with renewables to meet small-scale low-intensity needs

    • A resurgence in nuclear power generation over the course of the next half century both for environmental and economic reasons is therefore likely

    • The relatively low initial capital cost, manageable size and modular nature of the Generation IV reactors make them more suitable for small and developing countries

    Conclusion programmes that would contribute

    Ultimately the feasibility of a nuclear option for Jamaica is very much dependent upon the potential contributions that the new smaller generation of nuclear reactors prove able to make.

    However, there are other aspects of peaceful uses of the atom especially in the development of radiation safety; nuclear engineering, regulations and improved knowledge that we will need to continue to build upon locally if we are to undertake such a large technical project.

    It took South Korea 32 years from first commercial plant to exporting technology, with the goal of exporting 80 reactors by 2030 valued at 400 billion dollars!

    Thank you for your attention
    Thank you for your attention programmes that would contribute