Power Generation

Pressurized Water Reactor Common features
  1. Pressure vessel for small core & high-pressure water.
  2. High-pressure driven
    primary heat exchanger circuit.
  3. Lower-pressure secondary
    coolant circuit for steam and turbine/electric generator.
  4. Containment structure; with standard power plant outside.

Safety Features of Pressurized Water Reactor

  1. Closed loop prevents radioactivity loss.
  2. Fuel: ceramic pellets sealed in metal tubes.
  3. Ten-inch thick steel reactor vessel.
  4. Concrete containment bldg prevents "incident" escaping.
  5. Closed loop prevents radioactivity loss.
  6. Water thermalizes neutron for effective fission.
  7. Control rods (e.g., B or Cd) absorb neutrons to fine-tune reactor operation.
  8. Emergency coolant water, positioned above reactor so, in the event of loss of primary coolant water, gravity flow would quickly restore it.

Details complicate design

Too Many Designs for Nuclear Safety



Little change in 2007.

DOE summary of current nuclear capacity

How to build an Nuclear Power Reactor Now

In 2000 the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) settled on a standard design AP600 incorporating best foreign/US practices. In 2006 NRC "moved" to improved design AP1000 (~1100 MW) of Westinghouse Electric Co. Prospective builders can apply for combined construction and operating license before construction starts.

An Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor (ESBWR, ~1500 MW) by General Electric is a newer option. This "passive" design has no moving parts except control rods.

Typically building would get combined license approved and then get site approved. More recently NRC has introduced an accelerated site approved before the combined license application.

Congress is allowing reduced liability and other cost for the "first" in line. Companies now want both site and "combined" processes at once. NRC seems willing so strong are political and economic pressures.


2007 Schedule
2009 Schedule In 2008 everything slowed down (economy, new administration...). More recent 2009 chart shows things are happening.
One of the most "successful" is North Anna
2010 Clickable Map to on-going applications ; see North Anna for example of how current process goes.


The textbook goes thru the argument that the reaction
    21H + 21H = 31H + proton
could produce the world's energy resources for 30 million years.

So why aren't we?

Technical Limitations

Operating conditions.

What are our chances? Ordinary matter has roughly 6 1027 atoms/m3. So we only need to confine it for 100 ps. Will matter wait that long at 108 K?

Confinement schemes.

To cite this page:
Power Generation
[Saturday, 20-Oct-2018 22:08:42 EDT]
Edited by: wilkins@mps.ohio-state.edu on Sunday, 07-Nov-2010 10:29:14 EST