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Energy climate change halted by nuclear reactors  fission  fusion | Upload General

Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion

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by: Yvonne Doff
climate change halted by nuclear reactors  fission  fusion | Upload

There are new nuclear reactors that might stop the climate change. Through sodium-cooled nuclear fission to advanced fusion, a new generation of projects hopes to regain confidence in nuclear energy.

You might not go to BP for the environmental news, but climate watchers recommend their annual energy review. The story of 2018 was pretty dark: we all know and read about global warming, but coal was responsible for 28 per cent of the world's power in 2017. That is the same level as 20 years ago when the first global climate treaty was signed. Unfortunately, that is not even the saddest news: greenhouse-gas emissions increased by 2.7 per cent last year, the most significant increase in seven years. A lot of policymakers and environmental groups concluded that we need more nuclear energy.

Nuclear power plants closure

Nuclear energy could be an option, but is that the way we are headed? If we look at the plans, Germany should shut down its nuclear plants by 2022. Even back in 2011, Italy voted to close all the nuclear power plants. And of course, there is this other problem: money. Nuclear energy is incredibly expensive. The United States mentioned they could not compete with cheap shale gas. If this problem continues, more energy power plants will close and will be replaced by natural gas which help the emissions to rise, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. It is predicted that if all these plants were to close, CO2 emissions would increase by six per cent.

Recommended: Nuclear Floating Power Plants: A Floating Chernobyl: Russia

Fission of Nuclear Reactors

Since the beginning of 2018, there were more than 75 fission projects in North America, trying to split atoms. Traditional reactors do this job for decades. At this moment, one of the pioneering technologies is the small modular reactor, or SMR: a downsized version of conventional fission systems that promises to be cheaper and safer. NuScale Power, located in Portland, Oregon, has a 60-megawatt design that is almost up and running (a high-cost conventional fission plant could produce about 1,000 MW of power). NuScale has an agreement to install twelve small reactors to supply energy to a coalition of 46 utilities in the west of the US. This project can only go forward if the members of the group agree to finance it before the end of this year. History has taught us that this will not be easy.



                                                        Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission 
                                    How This Rare Natural Fission Reactor Could Solve Our Nuclear Waste Problem


In 2011, Generation mPower, another SMR developer, had a deal to build up to six reactors, similar to those of NuScale. Generation mPower had the support of business owners Babcock and Wilcox, one of the world's largest energy builders. After less than three years, the pact was suspended because no new customers had arrived. No orders meant that prices would not decrease, which made the deal untenable.

Recommended: Nuclear Power: Will It Destroy Or Save The World?

Nuclear Reactors: sodium-cooled

NuScale uses traditional light-water-cooled nuclear reactors, but there are also so-called generation IV systems which use alternative coolants. For example, China is building a colossal scale sodium-cooled reactor in Fujian province, which should be working by 2023. Washington produces a similar system, but Donald Trump's administration has a restriction on Chinese trade, so we cannot tell you if the agreement is still on the table.

Nuclear Reactors: molten salt

In addition to the sodium-cooled generation IV variant, the molten-salt reactor is also a variant, a much safer variant than earlier designs. It can cool itself, even if the system loses power entirely. The Canadian company Terrestrial Energy wants to build 190 molten-salt reactor plants in Ontario, and it should be producing power before 2030. The costs are comparable with natural gas.

Molten salt, thorium reactor interior
A team from the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) the Netherlands has built the first molten salt reactor powered by thorium

Nuclear Reactors: fusion

Many people are hoping for nuclear fusion. Fusion reactors mimic the sun's core process, compress lighter atoms to turn them into heavier atoms and release vast amounts of energy in the meantime. In the sun, this process is driven by gravity.

Engineers aim to replicate fusion condition with extremely high temperatures, but the process is complicated (they need plasma to fuse atoms, and that seems very hard). ITER, previously known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is building a solution in France. Unfortunately, the costs are very high - $22 billion -, so the first experiments are not scheduled until 2025.

Will these companies succeed?

Advanced fission substantially decreases nuclear waste - even when used as a fuel - and reduces the risk of tragedies such as Fukushima or Chernobyl. However, such reactors are not licensed or deployed outside of China or Russia. Many of the voters do not believe companies if they promise that new technologies will be able to avoid old mistakes.
Nuclear energy is less dangerous than expected, but the costs are still very high, and the timelines are very long. What will the future bring? Experts are all for nuclear, but to convince sceptical voters... that might be a challenge.

Recommended: The Artificial Sun Is Heating Up: Nuclear Fusion On Earth

Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.

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Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 

Writer, traveller and dreamer. Love to write, like to travel. Passion for language, cultures and what happens in the world. 

Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion

There are new nuclear reactors that might stop the climate change. Through sodium-cooled nuclear fission to advanced fusion, a new generation of projects hopes to regain confidence in nuclear energy. You might not go to BP for the environmental news, but climate watchers recommend their annual energy review. The story of 2018 was pretty dark: we all know and read about global warming, but coal was responsible for 28 per cent of the world's power in 2017. That is the same level as 20 years ago when the first global climate treaty was signed. Unfortunately, that is not even the saddest news: greenhouse-gas emissions increased by 2.7 per cent last year, the most significant increase in seven years. A lot of policymakers and environmental groups concluded that we need more nuclear energy. Nuclear power plants closure Nuclear energy could be an option, but is that the way we are headed? If we look at the plans, Germany should shut down its nuclear plants by 2022. Even back in 2011, Italy voted to close all the nuclear power plants. And of course, there is this other problem: money. Nuclear energy is incredibly expensive. The United States mentioned they could not compete with cheap shale gas. If this problem continues, more energy power plants will close and will be replaced by natural gas which help the emissions to rise, says the Union of Concerned Scientists. It is predicted that if all these plants were to close, CO2 emissions would increase by six per cent. Recommended:  Nuclear Floating Power Plants: A Floating Chernobyl: Russia Fission of Nuclear Reactors Since the beginning of 2018, there were more than 75 fission projects in North America, trying to split atoms. Traditional reactors do this job for decades. At this moment, one of the pioneering technologies is the small modular reactor, or SMR: a downsized version of conventional fission systems that promises to be cheaper and safer. NuScale Power, located in Portland, Oregon, has a 60-megawatt design that is almost up and running (a high-cost conventional fission plant could produce about 1,000 MW of power). NuScale has an agreement to install twelve small reactors to supply energy to a coalition of 46 utilities in the west of the US. This project can only go forward if the members of the group agree to finance it before the end of this year. History has taught us that this will not be easy. {youtube}                                                         Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission                                      How This Rare Natural Fission Reactor Could Solve Our Nuclear Waste Problem In 2011, Generation mPower, another SMR developer, had a deal to build up to six reactors, similar to those of NuScale. Generation mPower had the support of business owners Babcock and Wilcox, one of the world's largest energy builders. After less than three years, the pact was suspended because no new customers had arrived. No orders meant that prices would not decrease, which made the deal untenable. Recommended:  Nuclear Power: Will It Destroy Or Save The World? Nuclear Reactors: sodium-cooled NuScale uses traditional light-water-cooled nuclear reactors, but there are also so-called generation IV systems which use alternative coolants. For example, China is building a colossal scale sodium-cooled reactor in Fujian province, which should be working by 2023. Washington produces a similar system, but Donald Trump's administration has a restriction on Chinese trade, so we cannot tell you if the agreement is still on the table. Nuclear Reactors: molten salt In addition to the sodium-cooled generation IV variant, the molten-salt reactor is also a variant, a much safer variant than earlier designs. It can cool itself, even if the system loses power entirely. The Canadian company Terrestrial Energy wants to build 190 molten-salt reactor plants in Ontario, and it should be producing power before 2030. The costs are comparable with natural gas. A team from the Nuclear Research and Consultancy Group (NRG) the Netherlands has built the first molten salt reactor powered by thorium Nuclear Reactors: fusion Many people are hoping for nuclear fusion. Fusion reactors mimic the sun's core process, compress lighter atoms to turn them into heavier atoms and release vast amounts of energy in the meantime. In the sun, this process is driven by gravity. Engineers aim to replicate fusion condition with extremely high temperatures, but the process is complicated (they need plasma to fuse atoms, and that seems very hard). ITER, previously known as the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is building a solution in France. Unfortunately, the costs are very high - $22 billion -, so the first experiments are not scheduled until 2025. Will these companies succeed? Advanced fission substantially decreases nuclear waste - even when used as a fuel - and reduces the risk of tragedies such as Fukushima or Chernobyl. However, such reactors are not licensed or deployed outside of China or Russia. Many of the voters do not believe companies if they promise that new technologies will be able to avoid old mistakes. Nuclear energy is less dangerous than expected, but the costs are still very high, and the timelines are very long. What will the future bring? Experts are all for nuclear, but to convince sceptical voters... that might be a challenge. R ecommended:  The Artificial Sun Is Heating Up: Nuclear Fusion On Earth Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day.
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