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Nuclear Power: “Too cheap to meter” Ready Kilowatt Nuclear Fuel Cycle Uranium production in the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Cycle What is “nuclear fission”? U-235 + 1 neutron = U-236 U-236 splits into: 2 neutrons + byproducts + ENERGY Light Water Reactors Boiling Water Reactor

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Presentation Transcript
slide5

What is “nuclear fission”?

  • U-235 + 1 neutron = U-236
  • U-236 splits into:
      • 2 neutrons + byproducts + ENERGY
slide6

Light Water Reactors

Boiling Water Reactor

slide7

Light Water Reactors

Pressurized Water Reactor

slide8

Heavy Water Reactor

Nuclear fission reactors used in Canada use heavy water as the moderator in their reactors. Since the deuterium in heavy water is slightly more effective in slowing down the neutrons from the fission reactions, the uranium fuel needs no enrichment and can be used as mined. The Canadian style reactors are commonly called CANDU reactors.

slide9

Moderator = graphite blocks

  • Problems:
  • Instability
  • of graphite
  • Lack of
  • containment
  • at Chernobyl
slide11

NUCLEAR POWER TIMELINE

  • 1946 Atomic Energy Act passed creating AEC
  • 1957 Price Anderson Act passed
  • 1960-80 Many US nuclear plants constructed
  • 1970s: increasing anti-nuclear activism
  • :
    • Three Mile Island accident
    • China syndrome
  • 1986: Chernobyl
slide12

NUCLEAR POWER TIMELINE

  • Since TMI decline of nuclear power in U.S.; cancellation of plants, etc. Business in rest of the world is mixed, at best.
        • Politics: Seabrook / MUSE
        • “prudency reviews” / TMI, Ginna
        • Evacuation plans and licensing
  • Decommissioning
  • new designs
  • Licensing Process:
      • US
      • Elsewhere
slide13

NUCLEAR POWER TIMELINE

  • Since Chernobyl, caution about nuclear power has grown, but the change is not as abrupt as elsewhere. Why?
    • Germany
    • UK
    • Japan/France
slide15

Radioactive Wastes

  • Low-Level Waste (LLW) - includes radioactively contaminated protective clothing, tools, filters, rags, medical tubes, and many other items
  • High-Level Waste (HLW)- "irradiated" or used nuclear reactor fuel; some fuel processing wastes
  • Uranium Mill Tailings - the residues remaining after the processing of natural ore to extract uranium and thorium
slide16

Waste Disposal

  • Low-level wastes: LLRWPA/compacts
  • High level wastes:
    • NWPA: Indiana case
    • Yucca Mountain
slide22

What is the future of nuclear power?

What factors point toward its resurgence?

What factors point toward its continued dormancy?

What about nuclear power in the developing world?

slide23

Fast Breeder Reactors

Under appropriate operating conditions, the neutrons given off by fission reactions can "breed" more fuel from otherwise non-fissionable isotopes. The most common breeding reaction is that of plutonium-239 from non-fissionable uranium-238. The term "fast breeder" refers to the types of configurations which can actually produce more fissionable fuel than they use. France has made the largest implementation of breeder reactors with its large Super-Phenix reactor and an intermediate scale reactor (BN-600) on the Caspian Sea for electric power and desalinization.