Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

New Nuclear Plants

  1. Sep 29, 2008 #1
    How long would it take to build a nuclear power plant, from drawing board to supplying power?
    But with these considerations: No red tape, no hearings, no bureaucracy, public outcry falls on deaf ears.
    The actual creation of the facility, building, outfitting, and starting up.
    The manpower and funding exist, the citizenry is not considered.
    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2008 #2

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I think this depends strongly on whether it is an original design, or whether one is just building "another one in a series". At a certain point, France was cranking out about two NPP per year, but they were part of a series.
     
  4. Sep 29, 2008 #3

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Current optimistic estimate is 60 months or 5 years - which I believe is from ground breaking.

    That assumes the site has been approved.
     
  5. Sep 29, 2008 #4
    In the hypothetical scenario I have envisioned, I suppose the permits would be of no issue, as the US military would be rolling these out in a series, and under a "permit" granted by congress. No local or state, or federal approval required. One single design, rolled out like an invasion. Thanks!
     
  6. Oct 17, 2008 #5
    Don't forget nuclear power plants are currently used in all US submarines and aircraft carriers.

    There are really only several problems with Nuclear power ...two reasons I did not go into Nuclear Engin eering aftrer college. 1. Metals become brittle,weakened, in the presence of highlevels of radioacitivity....has that been largely solved?? (2) spent fuel is a horror to safely dispose....maybe a third/fourth problem: (3) The public doesn't understand how safe they are, (4) They could be a great terrorist target....to panic a lot of people, produce chaos!!! also politics gets in the way because of (3).
     
  7. Oct 20, 2008 #6

    QuantumPion

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I wouldn't call spent fuel "a horror" to dispose of...all the waste generated in the western world has been safely stored or recycled for decades without any problem. Compare to other industrial wastes, e.g. Love Canal, New York.
     
  8. Oct 20, 2008 #7

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    The limiting step at the moment is that a single Japanese steelworks is the only place that can forge the steel rector pressure vessel and they are rather busy.
    There are a few other companies tooling up to take on the market but nobody is in a hurry to buy their first attempt - ie. don't buy version 1.0 of anything , especialy not in the nuclear reactor business.
    The alternative is a CANDU or a pebble bed reactor.
     
  9. Oct 20, 2008 #8

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    With respect to 1, the pressure vessel does become embrittled, but not necessarily weakend due to fast neutron exposure, and to a lesser extent to gamma rays. For that reason, the industry has adopted a low leakeage core design methodology to reduce vessel fluence. The vessels can be annealed, but I'm not aware that it's a major effort in the US at the moment. We know what the issue is and we can deal with it.

    With respect to 2, it's a political problem, not a technical problem. We need to decide if we are going to reprocess or not. If not, then we use a once through fuel cycle and dispose of spent fuel in special canisters, which are buried in multiple layer repository, currently located a Yucca Mountain, NV. The political problem is that Harry Reid (currently leader of the Senate) and other Nevadans don't want the spent fuel buried in Yucca Mountain. Someone has suggested that the DOE guarantee no leakeage for 100,000 years or so. Well, man-made structures haven't been around more than 2000-3000 years, so we can't exactly guarantee 100 k years, although we can build a system that would probably to that. Come back in 100 k years and see for yourself. :rolleyes:

    Reprocessing involves reusing/recycling fissile material and simply burying they fission products. Most fission products are dispersed in an inert glass/synthetic rock matrix where they decay into inert (non-radioactive) isotopes over 10's, 100's, 1000's of years. The more radioactive a substance, the faster it decays, and the shorter time it takes to become inert. Eventually, after several centuries, most of the radwaste is inert and that helps entrap/entrain the longer lived isotopes, which are much less radioactive.

    In either case, if the geological formation in which the waste is entombed has been relatively geologically stable for a million years or so, it's probably going to remain so, therefore it seems a reasonable idea to entomb the spent fuel or by-products in such a system.


    There is a big problem with ignorance on the part of the public. :uhh: :rolleyes:
     
  10. Oct 22, 2008 #9

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    That said, in the 70-ies, there have been very large outputs of NPP - so I wonder what was so different back then, that we now don't have anymore. After all, back then, there also wasn't any NPP industry "up and running", until, well, it came up and running. So what's the difference between now and back then ?

    For instance, in France they first experimented with PWR's in about 1975, and 10 years later, in 1985, they had over 30 of them installed. Nevertheless, you can't say that in 1975, there was an industry that had a lot of experience doing so. So what's the difference with right now ?
     
  11. Oct 22, 2008 #10

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Most of them took much longer and cost much more to build than was planned, a lot of them (at least in the UK) didn't work very well - there was a lot of different designs, mostly pretty experimental.
    France went for a most systematic approach (because it doesn't have any oil) but is still took 20years from starting in the mid60s to get to 1985 where they could knock out standard plants quickly - and even this was starting with an established Westinghouse PWR design.

    If you want reliable nuclear plants, on time and on budget - you want to buy them from somebody with some experience of building them, not just put out the contract for each part to the cheapest bidder.
     
  12. Oct 22, 2008 #11

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Westinghouse, GE, B&W and Combustion Engineering all has casting/forging shops back in the 70's. They all got started with big subsidies from the US government - Naval Nuclear Reactor program. The Naval Nuclear program consolidated as did the commercial program.

    Framatome licensed Westinghouse technology. During the late 1970's Framatome took off on their own. The 900 MWe plants are based on the standard three-loop 17x17 plants, and the 4-loopers are based on the 1977 Westinghouse standard design. For whatever reason, Framatome went with 14-ft (4.27 m) core, and the US stayed 12-ft (3.66 m) cores, except for the S. Texas Project. Westinghouse was working on the SNUPPs concept (standardized plant) when TMI-2 had its accident. Then the whole dynamic changed - about 100+ plants were cancelled, and only those far enough along, and without problems were finished. With the cancellations, all the big shops were closed down.

    The vendors also consolidated. Westinghouse was sold to BNFL, which then absorbed the remnants of the ABB-Combustion Engineering (ABB-CE) merger. Toshiba just bought a controlling majority in Westinghouse. Siemens had bought out Exxon's nuclear fuel group, which became ANF, then SPC, then SNP, and that is now part of AREVA (formerly Framatome) which had absorbed B&W's commercial side (including BWFC). AREVA is the international merger of Siemens and Framatome. Siemens Nuclear group was a consolidation of the KWU, RBU, AEG (sp?) and other smaller German companies.

    TVA stopped work on Watts Bar and Bellefonte - primarily to put their limited resources into fixing the Browns Ferry units, and get them back on-line. Watts Bar 1 was subsequently finished and WB-2 might be (I hope). Bellefonte has been decommissioned AFAIK.

    WPPSS (now EnergyNorthwest) defaulted on bonds and stopped work on WNP-1, 3, 4 and 5. Only WNP-2 (Columbia - a GE BWR) was finished. WPPSS made the mistake like NE Utilities (Millstone) of buying 3 different designs.
     
  13. Oct 22, 2008 #12

    vanesch

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Right, I forgot about that. There was a huge government contracting preceding the commercialisation of NPP. So they were up and running.

    And although the French didn't have much experience with pressured-water reactors until beginning of the 70-ies (*), they got a jumpstart with Westinghouse.

    (*) they were entirely on graphite-gas reactors until 1972 or 73 if I remember well...
     
  14. Oct 22, 2008 #13

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The French did build some graphite-moderated, gas-cooled reactors: Chinon A1, A2, A3 were Magnox-type reactors (similar to UK's), St. Laurent A1,A2 were UNGG (French design) and Bugey 1 was a gas-cooled reactor (probably UNGG), in the 1960's. Most western commercial plants are LWR.
     
  15. Oct 23, 2008 #14

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Nuclear power revival gets big lift
    http://dailybriefing.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2008/10/23/nuclear-power-revival-gets-big-lift/
     
  16. Oct 23, 2008 #15

    mgb_phys

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    That's going to be some fun workplace politics to work through.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: New Nuclear Plants
  1. New Nuclear Plants (Replies: 9)

Loading...