summary of generation of nuclear power - ‘split an atom, save a
“[...] The average cost of producing nuclear energy in the United
States is less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable to coal and
And, of course, without
the externalised filth of coal.
5 pages and diagrams:
“Our whole approach is that you don't construct a reactor, you
assemble it," Kadak says. "Think about LEGOs: You just clip
them together." This could shorten construction time to as little
as two years; if a part breaks, the module containing it could be replaced
quickly. Kadak envisions small 250-megawatt reactors, with additional
units added to meet demand, making the initial cost lower than that
of current 1000-megawatt giants.
“Starting next year, both China and South Africa intend to build
full-scale prototype pebble beds based on a design developed in Germany
in the 1960s. However, the concept being considered in Idaho will produce
hotter gas. "The Chinese and South African reactors will be close
to 1550 F," says Weaver, who is coordinating the pebble-bed program
in Idaho, "and we want 1650 to 1830 F. Those 100 degrees can make
a huge difference." The extra heat will run the electricity-generating
turbines more efficiently, and--crucially--meet the threshold for efficiently
generating hydrogen from water.
“Hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas by a process
called steam reformation, which releases 74 million tons of heat-trapping
carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. As a cleaner alternative,
researchers are trying to figure out the best way to split the H from
H2O. A team at Idaho National Lab recently showed that electrolysis--using
electricity to split the water molecule--is nearly twice as efficient
at the high temperatures made possible by a pebble-bed reactor.”
“Nuclear weapons are no longer inextricably linked to power
plants. Centrifuge technology now allows nations to produce weapons-grade
plutonium without a reactor. Iran's nuclear weapons threat, for instance,
is distinct from peaceful nuclear energy.
“Nuclear reactors offer a practical path to the hydrogen economy.
Excess heat from the plants, instead of fossil fuels, can be used for
electrolysis. It also can address the increasing shortage of fresh water
“Together with a combination of solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric
sources, nuclear energy can play a key role in producing safe, clean,
reliable baseload electricity.”
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