The Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) Project The Technology
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Reactor (PBMR) Project
The PBMR is a small-scale, helium-cooled, graphite-moderated, temperature reactor (HTR). Although it is not the only gas-cooled HTR currently being developed in the world, the South African project is internationally regarded as the leader in the power generation field.
ESKOM POWER STATIONS 2001[PMG note: map not included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org]
National Energy Regulator’s Integrated Resource Plan shows:
Projected growth of ~2.8%/annum to 2022
New build capacity of over 20,000MW required by 2022
Growth at 4% would require ~40,000MW
Eskom predicts growth in demand of 1200 MW p/a over next 20 years[PMG note: graphics not included, please email email@example.com]Growth in SA Electricity Demand
World average growth of 3% per annum since 1980 (equates to 600 PBMRs per year)
MIT forecasts world demand to triple by 2050
Current world spending is about $100bn per year on new power stations
Fossil fuel costs have risen dramatically
Environmental pressure is increasing[PMG note: graphics not included, please email firstname.lastname@example.org]World electricity market
Green guru James Lovelock and Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore calls for “massive expansion” of nuclear to combat global warming (May 2004)
George Bush signs energy bill and describes nuclear as one of the nation’s most important sources of energy (Aug 2005)
US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman predicts nuclear will “thrive as a future emission-free energy source” (April 2005)
Tony Blair proposes new generation of nuclear plants to combat climate change (July 2004)Resurgence of nuclear energy
India plans a ten-fold nuclear power increase
France to replace its 58 nuclear reactors with EPR units from 2020, at the rate of about one 1600 MWe unit per year.
IAEA predicts at least 60 new reactors will become operational within 15 yearsResurgence of nuclear energy
Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State, Sept 2005Views on nuclear
“I feel we made a mistake in halting the HTR programme.” Klaus Töpfer, Germany’s former Minister of Nuclear Power and Environment. Davos, January 2003
“The PBMR technology could revolutionize how atomic energy is generated over the next several decades. It is one of he near-term technologies that could change the energy market.” Prof. Andrew Kadak, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, January 2002
“Little old South Africa is kicking our butt with its development of the PBMR. This should be a wake-up call for the US.” Syd Ball, senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 11 June 2004.Views on PBMR
first successful commercial
Generation IV reactor
Inherent safety reducing regulation burden
Small unit flexibility with short construction periods
Accepted as very low nuclear proliferation risk
Close enough to commercial deployment to achieve “first to market” dominance
Eskom build program of at least 20 000 MW over the next 15 yearsPBMR uniquely positioned
RSA based “turnkey” supplier allows localisation of manufacture on sub-contractors
Locally controlled technology limiting foreign exchange exposure
About 56 000 local jobs created during full commercial phase
R23 billion net positive impact on Balance of PaymentsAdvantages to South Africa
Official kick-off meeting with NRC staff (November 2004)
Formal Design Certification application scheduled for submission to NRC (2007)
US NRC final design approval estimated (2011)US licensing programme
If fault occurs, system shuts itself
The transfer medium (helium) is chemically inert
Coated particle provides excellent containment for the fission product activity
No need for safety grade backup systems
No need for off-site emergency plans
License application for small safety zone
Inherent safety proven during public testsSafety Features
To reach this objective it is therefore necessary to ensure that the fuel does not heat up or is degraded by some other means to a point where the activity retention capability is lostReactor Safety Fundamentals
Three factors determine the ultimate fuel temperature during operation and following an event:
- Production of heat in the core
- Removal of heat from the core
- The heat capacity of the coreReactor Safety Fundamentals
The water which flows through the reactor core is isolated from the turbine.
The water which passes over the reactor core to act as moderator and coolant does not flow to the turbine.
The primary loop water produces steam in the secondary loop which drives the turbine.
Fuel leak in the core would not pass any radioactive contaminants to the turbine and condenser.
The PWR can operate at higher pressure and temperature, about 160 atmospheres and about 315 °C.
ECCS Denotes Emergency Core Cooling System
Fuel Rods filled with pellets are grouped into fuel
[PMG note: graphics not included, please email email@example.com]
Decay power in megawatt after subcriticality
3000 MWt PWR
400 MWt PBMR
Fuel Temperature History and Distribution
* power 115 000x100W light bulbs for 1 hour
* power one 60W light bulbs, burning 12 hours per day, for 43 years
The SA Government proposes 50kWh free to each household. One pebble cansupply this 'free‘power for 230 households for one month … or for 1 household for 19 years.Power of the Pebble
Construction to start in 2007 (subject to positive conclusion of regulatory processes)
Demonstration module and fuel plant to be completed by 2011
First commercial modules to be completed by 2013What happens next?