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Overview of the Science and Technology. Per F. Peterson Professor Department of Nuclear Engineering University of California, Berkeley California Science Center February 23, 2008. Energy from Nuclear Fission. Fission Fuel Energy Density: 8.2 x 10 13 J/kg

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overview of the science and technology
Overview of the Science and Technology

Per F. PetersonProfessor

Department of Nuclear Engineering

University of California, Berkeley

California Science Center

February 23, 2008

energy from nuclear fission
Energy from Nuclear Fission
  • Fission Fuel Energy Density: 8.2 x 1013 J/kg
  • Fuel Consumed by 1000-MWe Plant: 3.2 kg/day
  • Waste:
energy from fossil fuels
Energy from Fossil Fuels
  • Fossil Fuel (Coal) Energy Density: 2.9 x 107 J/kg
  • Fuel Consumed by 1000-MWe Plant: 7,300,000 kg/day
  • Waste:

2005 Global Coal Consumption: 5.4 billion tons

nuclear waste

Nuclear Waste

A fuel assembly that will produce energy equivalent to burning 72,000 tons of coal

long term international r d has improved the current understanding of nuclear waste disposal
Long-term international R&D has improved the current understanding of nuclear waste disposal
  • Broad scientific consensus exists that deep geologic isolation can provide long-term, safe and reversible disposal for nuclear wastes
  • 25 years of scientific and technical study led to a positive site suitability decision for Yucca Mountain in 2002
geologic isolation places nuclear wastes deep underground
Geologic Isolation Places Nuclear Wastes Deep Underground

Nuclear energy produces small volumes of waste which makes it practical to isolate it from the environment.

long term safety requirements are stringent compared to those for chemicals
Long-term Safety Requirements are Stringent Compared to Those for Chemicals

The potential long-term impact from geologic disposal is limited groundwater contamination, a problem that current public health systems already understand how to manage

28 miles

640 miles

The potential incremental impact from Yucca Mountain in the next 1 million years is small

repository licensing involves a detailed technical review
Repository Licensing Involves A Detailed Technical Review
  • The EPA has issued a draft one million year safety standard for Yucca Mountain
    • Maximum impact to an individual using ground water must be less than 15 mrem/year up to 10,000 years, less than 300 mrem/year up to 1 million years
    • Average natural background is 300 mrem/year
  • DOE has committed to completing a license application in 2008
    • Independent review will be performed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    • A decision on a construction license would be reached by2011
operation the capacity factor of u s nuclear plants has changed greatly since the 1980 s
Operation: The Capacity Factor of U.S. Nuclear Plants Has Changed Greatly Since the 1980’s

* 2005 Preliminary

Source: Global Energy Decisions / Energy Information Administration

Updated: 4/06

nuclear power now has the lowest production cost of any fuel
Nuclear power now has the lowest production cost of any fuel

Cents per kwhr

Production Costs = Operations and Maintenance Costs + Fuel Costs

Source: Global Energy Decisions

Updated: 6/06

slide12
The near-term question is whether new designs and construction methods will lower construction costs

2000: 4-D computer aided design

and virtual walk-throughs

1978: Plastic models on roll-around carts

McGuire Nuclear Station Reactor Building Models.

1000 MW Reactor (Lianyungang Unit 1)

new licensing and construction plans call for a high degree of design standardization
New licensing and construction plans call for a high degree of design standardization

Current NRC Construction License Review Plan

conclusions
Conclusions
  • A July, 2007 DOE Energy Information Agency study of the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship bill concluded that the largest single response would be the construction of 145 GW of new nuclear capacity by 2030, on top of the existing 100 GW
  • As with climate change, solutions to nuclear waste involve technical and political challenges
    • Taking a few decades to effectively address nuclear waste causes no major problems
    • Not so for climate change
  • The most important near-term question for nuclear energy will be whether reactor vendors can deliver new plants on schedule and on budget
life cycle ghg emissions
Life Cycle GHG Emissions

Source: "Life-Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Systems and Applications for Climate Change Policy Analysis," Paul J. Meier, University of Wisconsin-Madison, August, 2002.

resource inputs will affect future capital costs and competition
Resource inputs will affect future capital costs and competition
  • Nuclear: 1970’s vintage PWR, 90% capacity factor, 60 year life [1]
    • 40 MT steel / MW(average)
    • 190 m3 concrete / MW(average)
  • Wind: 1990’s vintage, 6.4 m/s average wind speed, 25% capacity factor, 15 year life [2]
    • 460 MT steel / MW (average)
    • 870 m3 concrete / MW(average)
  • Coal: 78% capacity factor, 30 year life [2]
    • 98 MT steel / MW(average)
    • 160 m3 concrete / MW(average)
  • Natural Gas Combined Cycle:75% capacity factor, 30 year life [3]
    • 3.3 MT steel / MW(average)
    • 27 m3 concrete / MW(average)

Concrete + steel are >95% of construction inputs, and become more expensive in a carbon-constrained economy

1. R.H. Bryan and I.T. Dudley, “Estimated Quantities of Materials Contained in a 1000-MW(e)

PWR Power Plant,” Oak Ridge National Laboratory, TM-4515, June (1974)

2. S. Pacca and A. Horvath, Environ. Sci. Technol., 36, 3194-3200 (2002).

3. P.J. Meier, “Life-Cycle Assessment of Electricity Generation Systems and Applications for

Climate Change Policy Analysis,” U. WisconsinReport UWFDM-1181, August, 2002.

spent fuel can be transported safely and securely
Spent Fuel Can Be Transported Safely and Securely
  • Spent fuel assemblies consist of inert ceramic pellets inside corrosion resistant zirconium alloy tubes
  • Shipment occurs in massive steel transport canisters weighing many tens of tons
  • Thousands of shipments in the U.S., and tens of thousands in Europe (where most spent fuel is reprocessed) have occurred without harm to a single member of the public
  • Spent fuel transport adds very small safety and security risks compared to the routine transport of much larger quantities of hazardous chemicals (diesel fuel, liquid chlorine)