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Roles of Fission and Fusion Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World. Farrokh Najmabadi Prof. of Electrical Engineering Director of Center for Energy Research UC San Diego Zero-Carbon Energy 2012 Symposium Siam City Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand 22-23 May 2012. The Energy Challenge. Scale:

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roles of fission and fusion energy in a carbon constrained world

Roles of Fission and Fusion Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World

Farrokh Najmabadi

Prof. of Electrical Engineering

Director of Center for Energy Research

UC San Diego

Zero-Carbon Energy 2012 Symposium

Siam City Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand

22-23 May 2012

the energy challenge

The Energy Challenge

Scale:

World energy use ~ 450 EJ/year

~ 14 TW

1 EJ = 1018 J = 24 Mtoe

1TW = 31.5 EJ/year

Economics:

World energy sales: $4.5T

US energy sales: $1.5T

Market Penetration Timing:

Fastest: Nuclear power installations (~30 years to produce 8% of world energy).

energy use increases with economic development

US

Australia

Russia

France

Japan

UK

Ireland

S. Korea

Mexico

China

Malaysia

Brazil

India

Energy use increases with Economic Development
  • With industrialization of emerging nations, energy use is expected to grow ~ 4 fold in this century (average 1.6% annual growth rate)

Thailand

Data from IEA World Energy Outlook 2006

quality of life is strongly correlated to energy use
Quality of Life is strongly correlated to energy use.

HDI: (index reflecting life expectancy at birth + adult literacy & school enrolment + GNP (PPP) per capita)

  • Typical goals: HDI of 0.9 at 3 toe per capita for developing countries.
  • For all developing countries to reach this point, would need world energy use to double with today’s population, or increase 2.6 fold with the 8.1 billion expected in 2030.
world primary energy demand is expect to grow substantially
World Primary Energy Demand is expect to grow substantially
  • Data from IAE World Energy Outlook 2006 Reference (Red) and Alternative (Blue) scenarios.
  • World population is projected to grow from 6.4B (2004) to 8.1B (2030).
  • Scenarios are very sensitive to assumption about China.

World Energy Demand (Mtoe)

energy supply will be dominated by fossil fuels for the foreseeable future
Energy supply will be dominated by fossil fuels for the foreseeable future

’04 – ’30 Annual Growth Rate (%)

6.5

1.3

2.0

0.7

2.0

1.3

1.8

1.6

Total

Source: IEA World Energy Outlook 2006 (Reference Case), Business as Usual (BAU) case

technologies to meet the energy challenge do not exist
Technologies to meet the energy challenge do not exist
  • Improved efficiency and lower demand
    • Huge scope but demand has always risen faster due to long turn-over time.
  • Renewables
    • Intermittency, cost, environmental impact.
  • Carbon sequestration
    • Requires handling large amounts of C (Emissions to 2050 =2000Gtonne CO2)
  • Fission
    • Fuel cycle and waste disposal
  • Fusion
    • Probably a large contributor in the 2nd half of the century 
energy challenge a summary
Energy Challenge: A Summary
  • Large increases in energy use is expected.
  • IEA world Energy Outlook indicate that it will require increased use of fossil fuels
    • Air pollution & Global Warming
    • Will run out sooner or later
  • Limiting CO2 to 550ppm by 2050 is an ambitious goal.
    • USDOE: “The technology to generate this amount of emission-free power does not exist.”
    • IEA report: “Achieving a truly sustainable energy system will call for radical breakthroughs that alter how we produce and use energy.”
  • Public funding of energy research is down 50% since 1980 (in real term). World energy R&D expenditure is 0.25% of energy market of $4.5 trillion.
most of public energy expenditures is in the form of subsidies

Renewables

18%

Fission

6%

Coal

44.5%

Fusion

1.5%

Oil and gas

30%

Most of public energy expenditures is in the form of subsidies

Energy Subsides (€28B) and R&D (€2B) in the EU

Source : EEA, Energy subsidies in the European Union: A brief overview, 2004.

Fusion and fission are displayed separately using the IEA government-R&D data base and EURATOM 6th framework programme data

Slide from C. Llewellyn Smith, UKAEA

there is a growing acceptance that nuclear power should play a major role
There is a growing acceptance that nuclear power should play a major role

France

  • Large expansion of nuclear power, however, requires rethinking of fuel cycle and waste disposal, e.g., reprocessing, deep burn of actinides, Gen IV reactors.
nuclear power is already a large contributor to world energy supply
Nuclear power is already a large contributor to world energy supply
  • Nuclear power provide 8% of world total energy demand (20% of US electricity)
  • Operating reactors in 31 countries
    • 438 nuclear plants generating 353 GWe
    • Half of reactors in US, Japan, and France
    • 104 reactor is US, 69 in France
  • 30 New plants in 12 countries under construction
  • No new plant in US for more than two decades
  • Increased production due to higher availability
    • 30% of US electricity growth
    • Equivalent to 25 1GW plants
    • Extended license for many plants

US Nuclear Electricity (GWh)

challenges to long term viability of fission
Challenges to long-term viability of fission
  • Economics:
    • Reduced costs
    • Reduced financial risk (especially licensing/construction time)
  • Safety
    • Protection from core damage (reduce likelihood)
    • Eliminate offsite radioactive release potential
  • Sustainability
    • Efficient fuel utilization
    • Waste minimization and management
    • Non-proliferation
  • Reprocessing and Transmutation
  • Gen IV Reactors
uranium resources
Uranium Resources
  • 120 years at IEA expected 2030 use, 40 years if nuclear displaces 50% of fossil fuels.
  • Unless U can be extracted from sea water cheaply, breeders are necessary within this century.

Note: COE is insensitive to U cost (+$100/kg U → 0.25 c/kWh)

large expansion of nuclear power requires reprocessing of waste
Large Expansion of Nuclear Power Requires Reprocessing of Waste

From Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative: http://www.nuclear.gov/AFCI_RptCong2003.pdf

gen iv international forum 10 parties has endorsed six gen iv concepts for r d
Gen IV International Forum (10 parties) has endorsed Six Gen IV Concepts for R&D
  • Very high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (safety, hydrogen production)
  • Lead-cooled Fast Reactor (sustainability, safety)
  • Gas-Cooled Fast Reactor (sustainability, economics)
  • Supercritical-water-cooled reactor (economics)
  • Molten Salt reactor (sustainability)
  • Sodium-cooled fast rector (sustainability)
  • Most use closed-cycle fast-spectrum to reduced waste heat and radiotoxicity (to extend repository capacity) and to breed fuel.
two high temperature helium cooled reactors are currently operating in asia
Two High-Temperature Helium-Cooled Reactors Are Currently Operating in Asia

Prismatic-Block

HTTR in Japan

Pebble-Bed

HTR-10 in China

HTTR reached outlet temperature of 950°C at 30 MW on April 19, 2004.

fusion looking into the future

Fusion: Looking into the future

  • ARIES-AT tokamak Power plant
brining a star to earth

D + T  4He (3.5 MeV) + n (14 MeV)

n

T

n + 6Li  4He (2 MeV) + T (2.7 MeV)

D + 6Li  2 4He + 3.5 MeV (Plasma) + 17 MeV (Blanket)

Brining a Star to Earth
  • DT fusion has the largest cross section and lowest temperature (~100M oC). But, it is still a high-temperature plasma!
  • Plasma should be surrounded by a Li-containing blanket to generate T. Or, DT fusion turns its waste (neutrons) into fuel!
  • Through careful design, only a small fraction of neutrons are absorbed in structure and induce radioactivity.
  • For liquid coolant/breeders (e.g., Li, LiPb), most of fusion energy is directly deposited in the coolant simplifying energy recovery
  • Practically no resource limit (1011 TWy D; 104 (108) TWy 6Li)
fusion energy requirements
Fusion Energy Requirements:
  • Heating the plasma for fusion reactions to occur
    • to 100 Million oC (routinely done in present experiments)
  • Confining the plasma so that alpha particles sustain fusion burn
    • Lawson Criteria: ntE ~ 1021 s/m3
  • Optimizing plasma confinement device to minimize the cost
    • Smaller devices
    • Cheaper systems, e.g., lower-field magnets (MFE) or lower-power lasers (IFE)
  • Extracting the fusion power and breeding tritium
    • Co-existence of a hot plasma with material interface
    • Developing power extraction technology that can operate in fusion environment
two approaches to fusion power 1 inertial fusion
Two Approaches to Fusion Power – 1) Inertial Fusion
  • Inertial Fusion Energy (IFE)
    • Fast implosion of high-density DT capsules by laser or particle beams (~30 fold radial convergence, heating to fusion temperature).
    • A DT burn front is generated, fusing ~1/3 of fuel (to be demonstrated in National Ignition Facility in Lawrence Livermore National Lab).
    • Several ~300 MJ explosions per second with large gain (fusion power/input power).
two approaches to fusion power 2 magnetic fusion
Two Approaches to Fusion Power –2) Magnetic Fusion
  • Magnetic Fusion Energy (MFE)
    • Particles confined within a “toroidal magnetic bottle” for 10’s km and 100’s of collisions per fusion event.
    • Strong magnetic pressure (100’s atm) to confine a low density but high pressure (10’s atm) plasma.
    • At sufficient plasma pressure and “confinement time”, the 4He power deposited in the plasma sustains fusion condition.
  • Rest of the Talk is focused on MFE
plasma behavior is dominated by collective effects
Plasma behavior is dominated by “collective” effects
  • Pressure balance (equilibrium) does not guaranty stability.
    • Example: Interchange stability

Outside part of torus

inside part of torus

Fluid Interchange Instability

  • Impossible to design a “toroidal magnetic bottle” with good curvatures everywhere.
  • Fortunately, because of high speed of particles, an “averaged” good curvature is sufficient.
tokamak is the most successful concept for plasma confinement
Tokamak is the most successful concept for plasma confinement

DIII-D, General Atomics

Largest US tokamak

  • Many other configurations possible depending on the value and profile of “q” and how it is generated (internally or externally)

R=1.7 m

jet is currently the largest tokamak in the world
JET is currently the largest tokamak in the world

ITER Burning plasma experiment (under construction)

R=6 m

R=3 m

progress in plasma confinement has been impressive

Fusion triple product

n (1021 m-3) t(s) T(keV)

Progress in plasma confinement has been impressive

ITER Burning plasma experiment

500 MW of fusion Power for 300s

Construction has started in France

large amount of fusion power has also been produced
Large amount of fusion power has also been produced

ITER Burning plasma experiment

DT Experiments

DD Experiments

fusion energy requirements1
Fusion Energy Requirements:
  • Confining the plasma so that alpha particles sustain fusion burn
    • Lawson Criteria: ntE ~ 1021 s/m3
  • Heating the plasma for fusion reactions to occur
    • to 100 Million oC (routinely done in present experiments)
  • Optimizing plasma confinement device to minimize the cost
    • Smaller devices
    • Cheaper systems, e.g., lower-field magnets (MFE) or lower-power lasers (IFE)
  • Extracting the fusion power and breeding tritium
    • Developing power extraction technology that can operate in fusion environment
    • Co-existence of a hot plasma with material interface

ITER and Satellite tokamaks (e.g., JT60-SU in Japan) should demonstrate operation of a fusion plasma (and its support technologies) at the power plant scale.

we have made tremendous progress in optimizing fusion plasmas
We have made tremendous progress in optimizing fusion plasmas
  • Substantial improvement in plasma performance though optimization of plasma shape, profiles, and feedback.
    • Achieving plasma stability at high plasma pressure.
    • Achieving improved plasma confinement through suppression of plasma turbulence, the “transport barrier.”
    • Progress toward steady-state operation through minimization of power needed to maintain plasma current through profile control.
    • Controlling the boundary layer between plasma and vessel wall to avoid localized particle and heat loads.
fusion energy requirements2
Fusion Energy Requirements:
  • Confining the plasma so that alpha particles sustain fusion burn
    • Lawson Criteria: ntE ~ 1021 s/m3
  • Heating the plasma for fusion reactions to occur
    • to 100 Million oC (routinely done in present experiments)
  • Optimizing plasma confinement device to minimize the cost
    • Smaller devices
    • Cheaper systems, e.g., lower-field magnets (MFE) or lower-power lasers (IFE)
  • Extracting the fusion power and breeding tritium
    • Developing power extraction technology that can operate in fusion environment
    • Co-existence of a hot plasma with material interface
new structural material should be developed for fusion application
New structural material should be developed for fusion application
  • Fe-9Cr steels: builds upon 9Cr-1Mo industrial experience and materials database
  • (9-12 Cr ODS steels are a higher temperature future option)
  • SiC/SiC: High risk, high performance option (early in its development path)
  • W alloys: High performance option for PFCs (early in its development path)
irradiation leads to a operating temperature window for material
Irradiation leads to a operating temperature window for material

Structural Material Operating Temperature Windows: 10-50 dpa

Radiation embrittlement

  • Additional considerations such as He embrittlement and chemical compatibility may impose further restrictions on operating window

Carnot=1-Treject/Thigh

Thermal creep

Zinkle and Ghoniem, Fusion Engr. Des. 49-50 (2000) 709

several blanket concepts have been developed
Several blanket Concepts have been developed
  • Dual coolant with a self-cooled PbLi zone, He-cooled RAFS structure and SiC insert
  • Simple, low pressure design with SiC structure and LiPb coolant and breeder.
  • Innovative design leads to high LiPb outlet temperature (~1,100oC) while keeping SiC structure temperature below 1,000oC leading to a high thermal efficiency of ~ 60%.
  • Flow configuration allows for a coolant outlet temperature to be higher than maximum structure temperature
radioactivity levels in fusion power plants are very low and decay rapidly after shutdown

After 100 years, only 10,000 Curies

of radioactivity remain in the

585 tonne ARIES-RS fusion core.

Radioactivity levels in fusion power plantsare very low and decay rapidly after shutdown
  • SiC composites lead to a very low activation and afterheat.
  • All components of ARIES-AT qualify for Class-C disposal under NRC and Fetter Limits. 90% of components qualify for Class-A waste.

Ferritic Steel

Vanadium

Level in Coal Ash

waste volume is not large

90% of waste qualifies for Class A disposal

Waste volume is not large
  • 1270 m3 of Waste is generated after 40 full-power year (FPY) of operation.
    • Coolant is reused in other power plants
    • 29 m3 every 4 years (component replacement), 993 m3 at end of service
  • Equivalent to ~ 30 m3 of waste per FPY
    • Effective annual waste can be reduced by increasing plant service life.
in a co 2 constrained world uncertainty abounds
In a CO2 constrained world uncertainty abounds
  • No carbon-neutral commercial energy technology is available today (except nuclear power).
    • A large investment in energy R&D is needed.
    • A shift to a hydrogen economy or carbon-neutral syn-fuels is also needed to allow continued use of liquid fuels for transportation.
  • Problem cannot be solved by legislation or subsidy. We need technical solutions.
    • Technical Communities should be involved or considerable public resources would be wasted
  • The size of energy market ($4.5T annual sale, TW of power) is huge. Solutions should fit this size market
    • 100 Nuclear plants = 20% of electricity production of US
    • $75B annual R&D represents 5% of energy sale of $1.5T (US sales).
status of fusion power
Status of fusion power
  • Over 15 MW of fusion power is generated (JET, 1997) establishing “scientific feasibility” of fusion power
    • Although fusion power < input power.
  • ITER will demonstrate “technical feasibility” of fusion power by generating copious amount of fusion power (500MW for 300s) with fusion power > 10 input power.
  • Tremendous progress in understanding plasmas has helped optimize plasma performance considerably. Vision of attractive fusion power plants exists.
  • Transformation of fusion into a power plant requires considerable R&D in material and fusion nuclear technologies (largely ignored or under-funded to date).
    • This step, however, can be done in parallel with ITER
  • Large synergy between fusion nuclear technology R&D and Gen-IV.