• 5 mins Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 2 hours Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 3 hours Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 4 hours Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 5 hours Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 7 hours Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 8 hours New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 10 hours Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 11 hours Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 17 hours Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 22 hours British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 1 day Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 1 day Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 1 day Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 1 day OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 1 day London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 1 day Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 1 day Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 2 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 2 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 2 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 2 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 2 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 3 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 3 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 3 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 3 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 3 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 3 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 3 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 3 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 4 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 4 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 4 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 4 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 4 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
  • 7 days Trump Passes Iran Nuclear Deal Back to Congress
Alt Text

New Tech Is Transforming Japan’s Energy Sector

The tech that built bitcoin…

Alt Text

Rising Costs Slow The Growth Of Nuclear Power

High costs and public fears…

Alt Text

This OPEC Strategy Could Boost Uranium Prices Next Year

Kazakhstan, the world’s largest uranium…

Future Of Nuclear Industry Takes Yet Another Hit

Future Of Nuclear Industry Takes Yet Another Hit

Despite the rough patch that the nuclear industry has experienced in recent years, its future remains bright, the industry insists. That is because the next generation of nuclear reactors will provide significant safety and economic benefits over current reactors.

But what if the new designs are actually not all that much better than the current fleet?

That is the provocative conclusion that France’s nuclear watchdog came to in a new report. Published on April 27, the IRSN said that the so-called “generation IV” reactors of the future may not be able to offer major upgrades in safety (most of the reactors running today are generation II – built in the 1960’s and 1970’s – and the newer designs that are currently under construction today are considered to be generation III). Related: Tesla Could Be Changing The Dynamics Of Global Energy

The IRSN report reviewed six of the most promising generation IV reactor designs: sodium-cooled fast reactors (SFR); very high-temperature reactors (VHTR); gas-cooled fast reactors (GFR); lead-cooled fast reactors (LFR); molten salt reactors (MSR); and SuperCritical water reactors (SCWR).

Out of all of those, ISRN found that only the sodium-cooled fast reactor is close enough to maturity. SFRs have been trumpeted as an exciting concept – they can burn nuclear waste, reducing the need to build long-term spent fuel storage. Related: Health Risks From Fukushima Disaster Greatly Exaggerated

But after looking into the technology ISRN says it’s hard to say whether or not SFRs would be better. “While it seems possible for SFR technology to guarantee a safety level at least equivalent” to generation III reactors, “IRSN is unable to determine whether it could significantly exceed this level,” the report concluded. That is because liquid sodium can explode if exposed to water. IRSN also questioned the extent to which SFRs could actually burn through dangerous nuclear waste. Related: Russia To Power Arctic Drilling With Floating Nuclear Reactors

The report amounts to a big rebuke for generation IV reactors, the first significant criticism of a nuclear dream that has been hailed as the key to solving energy and climate change challenges.

However, ISRN also ultimately said that the devil will be in the details. The reactor designs could solve some of their drawbacks as the specifics are fleshed out. But unless generation IV designs can prove to be much safer than generation III designs, the nuclear renaissance may not be as bright as many had hoped.

By Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • BV on April 29 2015 said:
    "However, ISRN also ultimately said that the devil will be in the details. The reactor designs could solve some of their drawbacks as the specifics are fleshed out. But unless generation IV designs can prove to be much safer than generation III designs, the nuclear renaissance may not be as bright as many had hoped."

    I wonder how the author draws this conclusion about Gen IV reactors based on a potential safety issue of one species of Gen IV reactors.

    We'll note the author identified six species of Gen IV reactors: sodium-cooled fast reactors (SFR); very high-temperature reactors (VHTR); gas-cooled fast reactors (GFR); lead-cooled fast reactors (LFR); molten salt reactors (MSR); and SuperCritical water reactors (SCWR).

    The author then stated that SFR would have a problem when the liquid sodium is exposed to water, which is correct.

    But a MSR wouldn't have that problem. It's a different species of Gen IV reactor than SFR, and it has different design details and uses an entirely different fluid coolant.

    But, then again, this is a website designed for discussing oil-based energy sources. Wouldn't want to lose market share with the introduction of safer, cleaner, better forms of energy technology, now would we?
  • Paxus on April 29 2015 said:
    Well isn't this a sweet little pickle. Here is some of what we do know about liquid metal "Fast" reactors. The US, UK, France, Germany, India, japan and Russia have all built liquid sodium reactors. Only Russia, where is a military funded project continues to run a sodium cooled reactor. Tens of billions have been wasted on this technology which the biggest nuclear countries in the world have been unable to make work.

    Sure another few billion would keeps some scientists and high end construction workers employed. But we can stop pretending that this failed technology is any type of solution to our pressing low carbon energy needs.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News