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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.

Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion

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 Reactors Closure

What is nuclear reactor and how does it work?
Nuclear reactors are the heart of a nuclear power plant. They contain and control nuclear chain reactions that produce heat through a physical process called fission. That heat is used to make steam that spins a turbine to create electricity

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

Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission

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

Why is sodium used to cool nuclear reactors?
The main advantages are the significantly higher boiling point of sodium. this allows the reactor to be operated at higher temperatures, and at atmospheric pressure. Higher temperatures result in better thermal efficiency and less rejected heat. Furthermore sodium is much less corrosive towards most metals than water

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.

Why are molten salt reactors safer?
MSRs are walk-away safe. They cannot melt down like conventional reactors because they are, by design, already molten. The fuel salts for MSRs work at normal atmospheric pressure, so a breach of the reactor containment vessel would simply leak out the liquid fuel which would then solidify as it cooled

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

Can fusion reactors meltdown?
No long-lived radioactive waste: Nuclear fusion reactors produce no high activity, long-lived nuclear waste. ... There are no enriched materials in a fusion reactor like ITER that could be exploited to make nuclear weapons. No risk of meltdown: A Fukushima-type nuclear accident is not possible in a tokamak fusion device

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.

Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion. 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.

Before you go!

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

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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. Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion 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 Reactors Closure What is nuclear reactor and how does it work? Nuclear reactors are the heart of a nuclear power plant. They contain and control nuclear chain reactions that produce heat through a physical process called fission. That heat is used to make steam that spins a turbine to create electricity 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 Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission 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 Why is sodium used to cool nuclear reactors? The main advantages are the significantly higher boiling point of sodium. this allows the reactor to be operated at higher temperatures, and at atmospheric pressure. Higher temperatures result in better thermal efficiency and less rejected heat. Furthermore sodium is much less corrosive towards most metals than water 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. Why are molten salt reactors safer? MSRs are walk-away safe. They cannot melt down like conventional reactors because they are, by design, already molten. The fuel salts for MSRs work at normal atmospheric pressure, so a breach of the reactor containment vessel would simply leak out the liquid fuel which would then solidify as it cooled 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 Can fusion reactors meltdown? No long-lived radioactive waste: Nuclear fusion reactors produce no high activity, long-lived nuclear waste. ... There are no enriched materials in a fusion reactor like ITER that could be exploited to make nuclear weapons. No risk of meltdown: A Fukushima-type nuclear accident is not possible in a tokamak fusion device 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. Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion. 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. Before you go! 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. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
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