• 4 minutes England Running Out of Water?
  • 7 minutes Trump to Make Allies Pay More to Host US Bases
  • 10 minutes U.S. Shale Output may Start Dropping Next Year
  • 14 minutes Washington Eyes Crackdown On OPEC
  • 2 hours Tidal Power Closer to Commercialisation
  • 2 hours US-backed coup in Venezuela not so smooth
  • 7 hours Why U.S. Growers Are Betting The Farm On Soybeans Amid China Trade War
  • 16 mins Oil-sands recovery by solvents has started on a trial basis; first loads now shipped.
  • 6 hours Read: OPEC THREATENED TO KILL US SHALE
  • 1 day BATTLE ROYALE: Law of "Supply and Demand". vs. OPEC/Saudi Oil Cartel
  • 14 hours Fisker Announces 'Mass Market' Electric SUV
  • 25 mins New Rebate For EVs in Canada
  • 43 mins Solar to Become World's Largest Power Source by 2050
  • 3 hours Biomass, Ethanol No Longer Green
  • 2 hours Malaysia Oil & Gas Updates
  • 1 day Trump Tariffs On China Working
The Most Important Technical Tool For Energy Traders

The Most Important Technical Tool For Energy Traders

Energy traders must constantly be…

Cloud Peak On Brink Of Collapse After Bad Coal Bet

Cloud Peak On Brink Of Collapse After Bad Coal Bet

The U.S. power sector’s pivot…

New Nuclear Reactor Claims to be Meltdown-Proof

The nuclear power industry has faced a tough time since March 2011, when an earthquake and tidal wave hit the Fukushima nuclear power plant causing a meltdown in three of its reactors. Many countries have lost interest in nuclear power, whilst others have increased the safety regulations regarding nuclear power plants.

In order to improve the safety of nuclear reactors, and reduce the chance of a meltdown, people have been researching and inventing new designs for producing energy from nuclear fusion reaction.

The NY Times has written an article detailing one idea that could become popular, that of Jose N. Reyes, co-founder and chief technology officer at NuScale Power. Who has designed a nuclear reactor that is so small, that if any problems were to occur, then the core would be small enough to cool on its own, in a fairly in a short space of time.

Related article: California’s Nuclear Headache is Only Just Beginning

The reactor is basically just a mini version of reactors that are being built at traditional power plants across the US, which tower over 200 feet into the air and 120 feet in diameter. Reyes’ design, housed in a sealed container, would measure just 80 feet tall and 15 feet in diameter, producing approximately one twentieth of the power of normal reactors.

NuScale Power reactor
NuScale Power’s reactor design.

The compact size of the reactors allows them to be submerged in giant 10 million gallon tanks of water, which Reyes claims will reduce the chance of a meltdown to a thousandth of those of conventional reactors.

During a computer simulation, NuScale Power demonstrated that if a pump failed in the reactor and the water began to boil over, the steam would hit the walls of the container, which are kept permanently cool due to the giant water tank that it is submersed in, and then condense, and fall as water back down into the reactor chamber, cooling the reactor once more. They claim that this makes their reactor completely safe, and virtually immune to meltdowns.

Related article: How Our Inability to Calculate Risk Opened the Doors for Fukushima

NuScale Power has applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for a permit to begin production, one day hoping to begin commercial sales in the US. Unfortunately achieving a license to produce the reactors could cost as much as $1 billion.

Some critics have claimed that even with a license from the NRC, the designs may prove worthless. The tiny size of the reactors means that they produce far less power, so investors need to be convinced that this design will require less stringent containment structures, smaller evacuation zones, and fewer personnel to operate them. If not, then economies of scale suggest that building larger reactors will be more profitable.

By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Charles on October 17 2013 said:
    "...and reduce the chance of a meltdown, people have been researching and inventing new designs for producing energy from nuclear fusion reaction"

    Fission*

Leave a comment

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