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Thread: Nuclear power

  1. #21
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    Pumped hydro isn't very expensive for grid storage. A proposed new pumped hydro storage plant here would cost approximately $500 million for 960 MW/60 GWh (Tonstad hydroelectric power station). That's $8/kWh of storage.

    Pumped hydro is dependant on geograhic suitability, though.
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  2. #22
    Model S VIN P01536 Robert.Boston's Avatar
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    I was talking the other day with someone who was responsible for the environmental permitting of a pumped-storage facility built in the 70s. I asked, "could you get that facility permitted today?" He just laughed.

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    If it's built in connection with a hydro-power plant, and both the upper and lower reservoirs are fresh water, there are no environmental concerns beyond allowable water-level change per hour. (And the newest research here is showing that fish are a lot more resiliant against water-level changes than previously thought.)

    Within existing regulations here, the potential for pumped hydro is around 5 TWh and 16 GW. I'm sure that if the US systematically looked at the potential, they would find more than they think. Or they could rely on Canada's ample opportunities for pumped hydro.
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  4. #24
    Model S VIN P01536 Robert.Boston's Avatar
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    (nudging back towards topic....) The pumped storage units here in New England were built because there were so many nuclear units planned that their collective output would exceed overnight load in the region -- they had to put the power somewhere!

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    Okay, back on topic.

    I think nuclear has a brilliant future. Solar will be the primary competitor within a few years, but some of the base load will have to come from more stable sources such as nuclear. And nuclear happens to be fairly cheap, abundant and reliable.
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  6. #26
    S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13 jerry33's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yggdrasill View Post
    I think nuclear has a brilliant future. Solar will be the primary competitor within a few years, but some of the base load will have to come from more stable sources such as nuclear. And nuclear happens to be fairly cheap, abundant and reliable.
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    +2 Ygg

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert.Boston View Post
    (nudging back towards topic....) The pumped storage units here in New England were built because there were so many nuclear units planned that their collective output would exceed overnight load in the region -- they had to put the power somewhere!
    I'm told this is also why France has so many water towers...

  9. #29
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    For those wondering how a nuclear reactor really works, there is a lot of very good info available on the net about the CANDU reactor.

    Nuclear reactor overview, exemplified with the CANDU reactor.

    For the technically oriented who want to see all the equations: CANDU Reactor Physics. This is a 160-page account of the processes that are going on inside of a real nuclear reactor, including how every aspect of behaviour can be predicted using physics and math. Basic calculus and a little physics is required to understand all of it, but the most difficult mathematics is simple differential equations. Highly recommended if you like this sort of thing.

    On a page linked to in the first document is an essay about the future need for energy and why a large proportion of that must come from nuclear power. While I don't necessarily agree with all of his opinions, I think he has got the broader picture right. When you realize that the only way to get the population growth under control is education and a reasonable chance of an acceptable quality of life, you start to appreciate the magnitude of the task ahead of us.
    Last edited by eledille; 2012-04-12 at 08:59 AM.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dpeilow View Post
    I'm told this is also why France has so many water towers...
    Actually, France has such a high proportion of nuclear power that they have had to develop load-following reactors. When a reactor has just received a new load of fuel, reactivity is very high and it can quickly respond to demand. But as control rods are withdrawn, they leave the core first at either top or bottom, and this causes total reactivity to increase, but also causes uneven neutron density and fuel burn. The French developed "gray" control rods that capture neutrons less efficiently. Possibly neutron absorbtion varies along the control rod too (speculation). Anyway, this allows them to run newly charged reactors in a load-following mode. As reactivity decreases with increasing fuel burnup the reactor becomes more and more sluggish, and is eventually reallocated to base load generation.

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