SMRs: (SMALL) Nuclear Reactor Types

SMRs: (SMALL) Nuclear Reactor Types

Postby Oscar » Wed Feb 18, 2009 5:00 pm

Nuclear Reactor Types

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Release Date: November 2006 Next Release Date: November 2007

Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR): PWRs use nuclear-fission to heat water under pressure within the reactor. This water is then circulated through a heat exchanger (called a "steam generator") where steam is produced to drive an electric generator. The water used as a coolant in the reactor and the water used to provide steam to the electric turbines exists in separate closed loops that involve no substantial discharges to the environment. Of the 104 fully licensed reactors in the United States, 69 are PWRs. Westinghouse, Babcock and Wilcox, and Combustion Engineering designed the designed the nuclear steam supply systems (NSSS) for these reactors. After these reactors were built, Westinghouse and Combustion Engineering nuclear assets were combined. The French-German owned firm Areva NP has acquired many of Babcock and Wilcox's nuclear technology rights, though portions of the original Babcock and Wilcox firm still exist and possess some nuclear technology rights as well. Other major makers of PWR reactors, including Areva, Mitsubishi, and Russia’s Atomstroyexport, have not yet sold their reactors in the U.S.
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Boiling Water Reactors (BWR): The remaining 35 operable reactors in the United States are BWRs. BWRs allow fission-based heat from the reactor core to boil the reactor’s coolant water into the steam that is used to generate electricity. General Electric built all boiling water reactors now operational in the United States. Areva NP and Westinghouse BNFL have each designed BWRs.
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Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors (PHWR): PHWRs have been promoted primarily in Canada and India, with additional commercial reactors operating in South Korea, China, Romania, Pakistan, and Argentina. Canadian-designed PHWRs are often called "CANDU" reactors. Siemens, ABB (now part of Westinghouse), and Indian firms have also built commercial PHWR reactors. Heavy water reactors now in commercial operation use heavy water as moderators and coolants. The Canadian firm, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), has also recently proposed a modified PHWR (the ACR series) which would only use heavy water as a moderator. Light water would cool these reactors. No successful effort has been made to license commercial PHWRs in the United States. PHWRs have been popular in several countries because they use less expensive natural (not enriched) uranium fuels and can be built and operated at competitive costs. The continuous refueling process used in PHWRs has raised some proliferation concerns because it is difficult for international inspectors to monitor. Additionally, the relatively high Pu-239 content of PHWR spent fuel has also raised proliferation concerns. The importance of these claims is challenged by their manufacturers. PHWRs, like most reactors, can use fuels other than uranium and the ACR series of reactors is intended to use slightly enriched fuels. Particular interest has been shown in India in thorium-based fuel cycles.
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High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGR): HTGRs are distinguished from other gas-cooled reactors by the higher temperatures attained within the reactor. Such higher temperatures might permit the reactor to be used as an industrial heat source in addition to generating electricity. Among the future uses for which HTGRs are being considered is the commercial generation of hydrogen from water. In some cases, HTGR turbines run directly by the gas that is used as a coolant. In other cases, steam or alternative hot gases such as nitrogen are produced in a heat exchanger to run the power generators. Recent proposals have favored helium as the gas used as an HTGR coolant. The most famous U.S. HTGR example was the Fort Saint Vrain reactor that operated between 1974 and 1989. Other HTGRs have operated elsewhere, notably in Germany. Small research HTGR prototypes presently exist in Japan and China. Commercial HTGR designs are now promoted in China, South Africa, the United States, the Netherlands, and France though none of these is yet commercially marketed. The proposed Next Generation Nuclear Plant (NGNP) in the U.S. will most likely be a helium-based HTGR, if it is funded to completion.
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Sodium-cooled reactors reactors: Sodium-cooled reactors are included on this list primarily because of proposals to build a Toshiba 4S reactor in Alaska. Sodium-cooled reactors use the molten (liquid) metal sodium as a coolant to transfer reactor generated heat to an electricity generation unit. Sodium-cooled reactors are often associated with “fast breeder reactors (FBRs)” though this is technically not the case in the 4S design.


Hyperion's Small-Scale Nuclear Reactors

From PESWiki

[ ... r_Reactors ]

Page first featured: Nov. 11, 2008

Distributed Nuclear Module is Effectively a 'Large Battery' Hyperion Power Modules (HPMs) are built and stocked with enough fuel to last five years generating a constant 27 megawatts, enough to power 20,000 average American homes. They are small enough to be transported by truck, train, or ship, and are setup and operable quickly. Just 1.5 meters across, the sealed module, which has no moving parts, is buried undeground.

Then at the end of five years, they are returned to the manufacturer to be refueled. The modules are uniquely safe, self-moderating using a natural chemical reaction discovered 50 years ago. [1]


Hyperion Power Module (HPG)

[ ]

(Diagram on website)

Hyperion on CNN and BBC TV

We appreciate the coverage but would like to correct a couple of statements. We intend to deploy the first Hyperion units within about five years. The Hyperion Power Module is not designed to be placed in the typical “back yard.” Like any power plant, it has specific site requirements. The Hyperion reactor will power approximately 20,000 American -sized homes, or, a military installation, bring energy to a disaster zone, or provide power for mining operations. Hyperion licensed the original reactor design from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). LANL is not responsible for Hyperion’s commercial efforts nor our technology.

Clean, Safe, Affordable Power - Where you need it, When you need it.

Who would have thought that the benefits of generating electricity from huge nuclear power plants…could ever be provided in a small, compact, energy module that can be transported by truck, rail or ship to remote locations wherever reliable electricity and heat for communities and industry is needed?
Clean - no greenhouse gases to contribute to climate change
Safe - the most controlled and regulated type of power on the planet Affordable - the cheapest in terms of dollars & environmental impact Reliable - Available 24 /7 rain or shine, windy or calm
Now it is! Introducing the Hyperion Power Module (HPG)


How it Works

[ ]

'Source: Hyperion website and; Nov. 9, 2008

Hyperion Power Module (HPM)

Think "nuclear battery". It is using uranium hydride (UH3) at a 10% level. Other materials used in the unit are considered "proprietary". (Per discussion with Hyperion on Nov. 11, 2008.)

The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year (2009). There are no moving parts.

Small enough to be transported on a ship, truck or train, Hyperion power modules are about the size of a "hot tub" — approximately 1.5 meters wide. Out of sight and safe from nefarious threats, Hyperion power modules are buried far underground and guarded by a security detail. Like a power battery, Hyperion modules have no moving parts to wear down, and are delivered factory sealed. They are never opened on site. Even if one were compromised, the material inside would not be appropriate for proliferation purposes. Further, due to the unique, yet proven science upon which this new technology is based, it is impossible for the module to go supercritical, “melt down” or create any type of emergency situation. If opened, the very small amount of fuel that is enclosed would immediately cool. The waste produced after five years of operation is approximately the size of a softball and is a good candidate for fuel recycling.

Perfect for moderately-sized projects, Hyperion produces only 25 MWe — enough to provide electricity for about 20,000 average American sized homes or its industrial equivalent. Ganged or teamed together, the modules can produce even more consistent energy for larger projects.

Like a battery, the HPM is a compact, transportable unit with no moving internal parts. It’s not to be opened once distributed from the factory. Once sited safely in its underground containment vessel, an HPM is monitored but does not require a battery of operational personnel.. It just quietly delivers safe, reliable power – 70 MW thermal or 25 MW electric via steam turbine – for a period of seven to 10 years.

The core of the HPM produces energy via a safe, natural heat-producing process that occurs with the oscillation of hydrogen in uranium hydride. HPMs cannot go “supercritical,” melt down, or get “too hot.” It maintains its safe, operating temperature without the introduction and removal of “cooling rods” – an operation that has the potential for mechanical failure.

A good bit bigger than the typical consumer battery, HPMs are, however, just a fraction of the size of conventional nuclear power plants. About 1.5 meters across, the units’ size can be compared to a deep residential hot tub. It’s the size, along with the transportability and ease of operation, that make the self-contained HPM such a desirable choice for providing consistent, reliable, affordable power in remote locations.

Often referred to as a “cartridge” reactor or “nuclear battery,” the Hyperion HyperDrive is self-regulating with no mechanical parts to break down or otherwise fail. The inherent properties of uranium hydride serve as both fuel and moderator providing unparalleled safety among nuclear reactors. Sealed at the factory, the module is not opened until it has been returned to the factory to be refueled, approximately every five years or so, depending on use. This containment, along with the strategy of completely burying the module at the operating site, protects against the possibility of human incompetence, or hostile tampering and proliferation.

The power-producing core of this module will be contained within multiple gas-tight chambers to insure absolute containment of all gases, along wth other contaminants in the unlikely event that a single chamber fails. Further, the module will be buried in the ground during its operational life. This will protect the module from almost all conceivable threats, natural or man-made, and make tampering extremely difficult. Additionally, active area security will be provided by the operator.

Unlike conventional designs, the proposed reactor is self-regulating through the inherent properties of uranium hydride, which serves as a combination fuel and moderator. The temperature-driven mobility of the hydrogen contained in the hydride controls the nuclear activity. If the core temperature increases over the set point, the hydrogen is driven out of the core, the moderation drops, and the power production decreases. If the temperature drops, the hydrogen returns and the process is reversed. Thus the design is inherently fail-safe and will require minimal human oversight. The compact nature and inherent safety open the possibility for low-cost mass production and operation of the reactors.

Requirements by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) are considered the universal “gold standards” of safety. HPG has already had several meetings with the NRC and will continue to pursue the necessary design approvals and license to manufacture and operate Hyperion power modules.

Produces 70 MWt or 25 MWe.


Possible Future Uses

1. 'Dirty fuels' profit by bailout bill's tax breaks for renewable energy

Incentives mean billions for coal and oil projects that increase emissions.

Source: Copyright 2008, LA Times Date: October 4, 2008 Byline: Julie Cart

[ ... 7153.story ]

QUOTE: “The next refinery expected to come on line is the Hyperion Resources Inc. plant in Elk Point, S.D., which would be the first built in the Untied States since 1976, excluding expansions. The facility, which could cost $10 billion, is intended to refine crude oil extracted from tar sands pits in Canada's Alberta province.”


2. Canada: Migratory birds endangered by tar sands mining

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Tar Sands Operations Affect Migrators, Environmentalists Say

Source: Copyright 2008, Washington Post

Date: December 26, 2008 Byline: Kari Lydersen

QUOTE: Five Midwestern refineries are seeking permission to modify their plants to process Albertan tar sands oil, and Hyperion, a Dallas-based company, is proposing a new tar sands oil refinery in South Dakota.
Last edited by Oscar on Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:44 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Atomic Energy of Canada staff good at solving problems

Postby Oscar » Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:15 pm

Atomic Energy of Canada staff good at solving problems ... -problems/

Ken Burrill, Letter to the Editor, Kingston Whig-Standard March 21, 2009

Greg Weston’s column “Bungling AECL could land on feet” (March 12) could have informed people about the upcoming Ontario government decision to select an appropriate fission reactor for the next generation of nuclear power reactors in Ontario, but he got it wrong. He chose to belabour Atomic Energy of Canada over its apparently poor record in things nuclear, thinking that CANDU and AECL are the same thing. Actually, CANDU has a life of its own and is so robust that AECL’s changes to create the Advanced CANDU Reactor can only improve this reactor concept.

The success of the first commercial CANDU, the 540 MW(e) design at Pickering, which was started up in 1971-73, owes much to the team that made it happen. This team was formed in the 1950s by people from the federal and Ontario governments, Ontario Hydro, and the newly formed AECL to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. The history of this period has been captured in the biography of one team member, W. B. Lewis, in a book called Nuclear Pursuits.

Over the past 40 years, the industry has learned much from reactor operation. The pressure tubes don’t last for the 30- year design life of the reactor and need to be changed. The carbon steel feeders corrode and release their corrosion products to the heavy water coolant. Iron oxides from the feeders deposit in the steam generators and restrict heat transfer.

Operating problems like these have been addressed by improvements to the standard AECL CANDU 600 MW(e) design. This latter design has proven commercially successful in Canada and was chosen by South Korea, China, Romania and Argentina for multi-unit stations. All CANDU-6 units have been built on schedule and on budget.

My guess is that the Advanced CANDU Reactor offered by AECL will improve thermodynamic efficiency by operating at a higher reactor coolant outlet temperature. It will probably have stainless steel feeders. It may have only one fueling machine do both removal of used fuel and feeding of fresh fuel. And so forth. It will still look like a CANDU, with all the advantages of that concept.

The changes will be incremental, but they will always cause operating problems. My job, as a research and development engineer with AECL, was to help plant staff solve these problems. One lasting impression I have is how capable operating people are at solving problems like these.
So Weston needs to separate the design of a totally new radioisotope production reactor (MAPLE) from the evolution of the CANDU concept.

Ken Burrill Inverary
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Wind-turbine plan envisions switch to nuclear

Postby Oscar » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:45 pm

Wind-turbine plan envisions switch to nuclear

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By Dave Cooper Edmonton Journal February 17, 2010
Tiny nuclear reactors originally designed to power mini-submarines could eventually replace wind power in a local firm's plans for storing energy as compressed gas in pipelines across North America.
Dave McConnell, president and CEO of Nisku-based Lancaster Wind Systems, said Tuesday the additional details of his project can now be discussed after provisional patent protection was gained in the US late last week.
McConnell said he already has a patented wind turbine that will be going into further trials this summer in southern Alberta.
Instead of generating electricity from a turning propeller shaft, like all other turbines on the market, Lancaster's version resembles a hydraulic pump much like a windmill. A closed system circulates fluid up and down the mast, with the energy being used at the base to compress nitrogen gas in a large cylinder as a means of storage.
But the heart of Lancaster's scheme, which the firm says has attracted millions of dollars from private investors in Canada and the United States, is energy storage with compressed gas, making wind power a constant source of energy instead of one totally dependent on variable winds.
As it is released, the nitrogen turns an electrical generator inside a closed system, which then returns to the pipeline.
McConnell said because of the huge size of the proposed system, which would use existing pipeline routes through Alberta and the US, pressure can be added anywhere and removed from any point.
And by using just seven mini-reactors, each with a rated power of three megawatts running compression units spaced every 1,200 kilometres, pressure in the system can be maintained.
"We had always planned to use the micro-reactors in phase two sometime after 2015. But we just got conditional patent approval late last week for our compression technology, so now we can talk about it a bit," McConnell said.
Canadian nuclear builder CANDU is bidding to supply the micro-reactors, which weigh 42 tonnes and are the size of a car. The cost of installing such a unit is estimated to be about $50 million, he said.
One reactor would be in the Chain Lakes-Pincher Creek area, with a second between Montana and Idaho and another one in Arizona. The compressed-nitrogen pipeline could extend through the US Midwest and south to the Gulf Coast.
Bill Kennedy, an engineering consultant to Lancaster and former head of the Alberta Electrical System Operator which manages power in the province, said McConnell's idea is clever.
"The energy in the compressed gas can come on as the grid builds to its daily peaks -- breakfast and dinner times. And the closed nitrogen gas system is analogous to coal or gas-fired plants," he said.
"You release the steam through the turbine, and end up with hot water, which is reintroduced into the system, so you aren't losing the energy in the hot water and you don't have to start with cold water."
In the end, that means the compressed-gas system will act more like a base load generator such as a coal-fired generator, which runs constantly with an even output.
But with wind farms sprouting up all over North America at a rapid rate, Kennedy doesn't expect they'll be replaced by nuclear-powered gas compression.
McConnell disagreed.
"I think wind turbines will be a dinosaur in 25 years."


[ ... story.html ]
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Small Is Beautiful - Nuclear Industry Pins Hopes on Mini-Rea

Postby Oscar » Tue Apr 13, 2010 11:32 am

Small Is Beautiful - Nuclear Industry Pins Hopes on Mini-Reactors

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By Philip Bethge April 9, 2010

The nuclear energy industry hopes to secure its future through miniature nuclear reactors. The small underground plants will supposedly be safer than large plants, and would lower the cost of electricity from nuclear power. But critics say that the electricity the plants produce will be too expensive and warn of the risk of proliferation.

In Galena, a town in icy central Alaska, energy is indispensable -- but expensive. Although diesel generators provide plenty of electricity, the town's roughly 600 residents regularly receive monthly electric bills in the hundreds of dollars.

But the future could soon arrive in this tiny town on the Yukon River. "Super-Safe, Small and Simple," or "4S," is the name of a machine that could soon be buried 30 meters (98 feet) below the icy soil and placed into service.

The hot core of the device, developed by the Japanese company Toshiba, measures only 2 meters by 0.7 meters (6 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 4 inches). But despite its diminutive size, it is expected to deliver 10 megawatts of electricity. "4S" is a nuclear reactor, and Galena could become a test case for a new kind of electricity generation.

The nuclear power industry hopes to secure its future with miniature reactors for civilian use. The concept of mini nukes that could produce up to 300 megawatts of electricity has been remarkably well received, particularly in the United States. Nine designs are competing for the attention of electric utilities and the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the government agency that regulates nuclear power plants.

*The Nuclear PR Machine*

Critics, like physicist Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists, are convinced that the projects are all in the "stage of fantasy." Jim Riccio, a nuclear expert with the environmental organization Greenpeace, blames the "hype" on the "well-oiled PR machine of the nuclear industry."
But the movement has prominent supporters. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, for example, has invested in a company called TerraPower, which plans to build innovative small reactors. US President Barack Obama has pledged
<,1518,678774,00.html> to provide $54 billion (€40 billion) in loan guarantees for the nuclear industry.
And for Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who is a winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics, it goes without saying that a portion of these loan guarantees will be available for miniature reactors of what he calls the "plug and play" variety. Small modular reactors are "one of the most promising areas" in the nuclear industry, Chu wrote recently in an enthusiastic opinion piece
<> in the /Wall Street Journal/.

Proponents of nuclear power present the following arguments in favor of the idea:

* Small reactors could become available in the future at bargain prices of less than $600 million, and they would only take two to three years to build. By comparison, reactors in the gigawatt range cost more than $5 billion, and financing is often a challenge. Some projects, such as the current construction of a new reactor in Olkiluoto, Finland, are years behind schedule and vastly over budget.

* Because they are delivered pre-assembled, mini-reactors could also be used in countries without domestic nuclear experts. The plants produce about as much energy as gas or coal power plants and could therefore simply replace them. Existing power grids and turbines could still be used.

* The miniature reactors unleash their fissile power from locations deep underground, which would make it difficult for terrorists to steal fissile material.

"Small nuclear reactors are cheaper, safer and more flexible," raves Tom Sanders, president of the American Nuclear Society. Sanders wants to mass-produce nuclear power plants, just as Henry Ford did with cars in his time, and make them available around the world, particularly in developing countries.

*'Global Interest'*

"There is certainly a global interest in these kinds of systems," says Chris Mowry of Babcock & Wilcox, a producer of nuclear power plants based in Lynchburg, Virginia. In the past, the company earned much of its revenue with reactors that power nuclear submarines, but now it has developed one of the most promising mini-reactors for civilian energy use.

The mPower reactor is a conventional, 125-megawatt pressurized water reactor. Once it has been buried underground, it is expected to continue producing electricity for 60 years. One of the device's most appealing features is that spent fuel assemblies are stored in the reactor shell, making them virtually inaccessible. The steam generator is also integrated into the unit.

"All key components can be manufactured in one single factory," Mowry says enthusiastically. Three large US electric utilities have shown interest in the technology. The utilities are particularly attracted to the idea of building nuclear power plants in modular fashion in the future. When one reactor has run its course, the next one can be ordered. However, the mPower reactor has yet to obtain NRC approval, which could take years.
A consortium led by US nuclear power producer Westinghouse is pursuing a similar approach. Its Iris reactor would produce 335 megawatts of power and is one of the leading candidates for the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP).

*Old Reactors Returned Like Empty Deposit Bottles*

Since 2006, the US government has championed the GNEP project, which it hopes could meet the growing energy demands of developing countries. Under GNEP, the nuclear powers would ship complete mini-reactors with sealed reactor cores to developing countries. The plants would be designed to operate without maintenance for close to 30 years. After that, they would simply be returned, like empty deposit bottles, to the country where they were manufactured.

The United Kingdom, France, Canada, China and Japan are among the GNEP donor nations. Countries like Jordan, Kazakhstan and Senegal have shown interest in the small reactors. In return for receiving the plants, they would pledge not to engage in reprocessing or uranium enrichment.

Critics are horrified. They fear that fissile material could end up in the wrong hands all too easily. "Anyone who ships this stuff all over the world shouldn't be surprised if it comes back in the form of dirty bombs," says Greenpeace expert Jim Riccio.

Physicist Edwin Lyman agrees, saying that it is preferable to concentrate the technology in only a few places. "I am concerned about exporting these plants to countries that have no experience with nuclear energy and where there are security concerns and corruption."

*Reusing Old Reactors*

Critics are also concerned about the plans of Akme, a Russian company. The firm, which was established in December 2009, engages in the typically Russian practice of reusing old equipment: It intends to convert a reactor used in Soviet nuclear submarines into a civilian reactor.

The project is extremely controversial. The reactors operate with relatively highly enriched uranium, which is more easily used to build bombs. In addition, they are cooled in a toxic lead-bismuth alloy.

In addition to safety and security concerns, there are doubts about the mini-reactor's economic efficiency. In the United States, the costs of licensing a nuclear power plant alone range from $50 million to $100 million. In addition, strict safety requirements make small reactors disproportionately more expensive than larger plants.

This leads physicist Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado to believe that small reactors will "never be competitive." Reactor manufacturers expect to see costs of between $3,500 and $5,000 per kilowatt of installed power for the dwarf nuclear power plants. The same value ranges from $900 to $2,800 for coal power plants and $520 to $1,800 for natural gas power plants. Even wind turbines can be built for $1,900 to $3,700 per kilowatt.

*'Not a Sign of Economic Health'*

The nuclear industry expects CO2 emissions trading to make nuclear technology, which is largely climate-neutral, more competitive soon. "But the same also applies to hydroelectric power, wind and solar energy," says Lovins.

"The nuclear industry is desperately trying to make itself look vital," says the professor. "But government loan guarantees are not a sign of economic health, just as blood transfusions are not a sign for medical health."

Fans of the new miniature reactor world aren't allowing the grumblers to spoil their mood. Instead, they are developing bolder and bolder projects for the future. For example, nuclear scientist Tom Sanders and a team at the Sandia National Laboratory are developing a reactor that would cost only about $250 million at a planned production rate of 50 reactors per year. Liquid sodium cools the uranium core of the plant, which resembles a sort of replaceable cartridge.

TerraPower, the company Bill Gates has invested in, is working on a so-called traveling-wave reactor. In this type of reactor, the fission zone travels slowly through an elongated fuel core. Plutonium is bred from depleted uranium and then immediately burned off. The engineers rhapsodize over the system, saying that this "wave of fission" could generate electricity continuously "for 50 to 100 years without refueling or removing any used fuel from the reactor."

Is it the holy grail of nuclear engineering? The traveling-wave reactor still doesn't exist outside supercomputers. TerraPower has just entered into a joint venture agreement with Toshiba. The two companies plan to move forward together with the development of a mini-nuke future.

*Renewable Energy*

The Japanese might already be finding proof of their capacity for innovation in Galena, the town on Alaska's Yukon River, if only they hadn't run into problems with approval for their "4S" reactor.

For now, the residents of Galena have turned to another innovative energy source, paid for with subsidies from Alaska's renewable energy fund: wood-burning stoves.

/Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan/


"New" Nuclear Reactors, Same Old Story ... meOldStory

AUTHOR: Lovins, Amory
DOCUMENT ID: 2009-07
YEAR: 2009
DOCUMENT TYPE: Journal or Magazine Article

[b]Excerpt from Lovins article:

Small reactors[/b]

Toshiba claims to be about to market a 200-kWe nuclear plant (~5,000x smaller than today’s norm); a few startup firms like Hyperion Power Generation aim to make 10¢/kWh electricity from miniature reactors for which it claims over 100 firm orders. Unfortunately, 10¢ is the wrong target to beat: the real competitor is not other big and costly thermal power plants, but micropower and negawatts, whose delivered retail cost is often ~1–6¢/kWh.11 Can one imagine in principle that mass-production, passive operation, automation (perhaps with zero operating and security staff), and supposedly failsafe design might enable hypothetical small reactors to approach such low costs? No, for two basic reasons:

• Nuclear reactors derive their claimed advantages from highly concentrated sources of heat, and hence also of radiation. But the shielding and thermal protection needed to contain that concentrated energy and exploit it (via turbine cycles) are inherently unable to scale down as well as technologies whose different principles avoid these issues.

• By the time the new reactors could be proven, accepted by regulators and the public, financed, built, and convincingly tested, they couldn’t undercut the then prices of negawatts and micropower that are beating them by 2–20x today— and would have gained decades of further head start on their own economies of mass production.
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Firm seeks U.S. approval for mini-nuclear reactors

Postby Oscar » Wed May 19, 2010 11:00 am

Firm seeks U.S. approval for mini-nuclear reactors

[ ... z0oIjlQJsp ]

Refrigerator-sized units could power small factories or remote towns


Manufacturers of refrigerator-sized nuclear reactors will seek approval from U.S. authorities within a year to help supply the world's growing electricity demand.

John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion Power Generation Inc., intends to apply for a licence "within a year" for plants that would power a small factory or town too remote for traditional utility-grid connections.

The Santa Fe, N.M.-based company and Japan's Toshiba Corp. are vying for a head start over reactor makers General Electric Co. and Areva SA in downsizing nuclear technology and aim to submit licence applications in the next year to U.S. regulators. They're seeking to tap a market that has generated about $135 billion US in pending orders for large nuclear plants.

"We're building iPhones when the nuclear industry has traditionally built mainframe computers," Deal said.

Hyperion has more than 150 purchase commitments from customers such as mining and telecom companies, provided its technology gets licensed for operation, he said.

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Another feeble-headed nuclear reactor concept drops dead

Postby Oscar » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:13 am

Another feeble-headed nuclear reactor concept drops dead

From: Gordon Edwards
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 2010 9:18 AM
Subject: Another feeble-headed nuclear reactor concept drops dead


As the "nuclear renaissance" sputters and stalls, nuclear proponents have trotted out one new idea after another, trying to keep the dream of a nuclear-powered paradise alive.
"Breeder reactors", otherwise known as "fast reactors", have been dusted off and touted as a futuristic concept even though they have failed repeatedly in the past.
"Thorium-fueled reactors" have been presented as a new and exciting idea even though (1) thorium is not a nuclear fuel at all (it needs plutonium to get started and it depends on 100 percent enriched uranium-233 as a weapons-usable byproduct) and (2) it is a very old idea that was abandoned by the U.S.A. decades ago.
Generation III reactors were supposed to be larger, more powerful, cheaper, and quicker to build, but when these promises turned out to be untrue, nuclear proponents did an about-face and promoted small, stand-alone, modular reactors that would provide both heat and electricity. Once again, these promises seem to be based not so much on scientific evidence as on engineering euphoria.
Gordon Edwards.

= = = = =

Another feeble-headed nuke drops dead

by Harvey Wasserman, CounterPunch, September 24, 2010

As the "reactor renaissance" desperately demands new billions from a lame duck Congress, one of its shining stars has dropped dead. Other much-hyped "new generation" plans may soon die with it.

For years "expert" reactor backers have touted the "Pebble Bed" design as an "inherently safe" alternative to traditional domed light water models. Now its South African developers say they're done pouring money into it.

The Pebble Bed's big idea was to create a critical mass of uranium particles coated with silicon carbide and encased in graphite. These intensely radioactive "pebbles" would seethe in a passive container, cooled by helium. Without the need for a containment dome, the super-heated mass would produce both heat and electricity. Touted as needing no back-up emergency systems to prevent a major disaster, the plan was to mass-produce these "smaller, simpler" reactors for use throughout the industrial world.

Pebble Bed technology originated in Germany. But it was adopted and developed by the government of South Africa. For some it was a source of pride that a "developing" nation had become a significant player in the so-called nuclear renaissance.

But the South African government has now cut off funding for the project. Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan has told the National Assembly that "sobering realities" included the lack of working demonstration model, the lack of customers, the lack of a major investment partner and the impending demand for $4.2 billion in new investment capital. As deadlines consistently slipped, Westinghouse withdrew from the project in May.

- - - - SNIP - - - -

This anti-green arsenal has also included fast breeder reactors, which would magically create new fuel from used fuel. Canada's heavy water CanDu. Thorium reactors, which would burn a radioactive element other than uranium. Fusion reactors, which would mimic the gargantuan power of the sun. The AP 1000, new from Westinghouse. The European (or Evolutionary) Power Reactor, new from France's Areva. And a whole fleet of "Fourth Generation" designs which are unproven and often wildly impractical.

Like older proposed projects such as nuclear-powered aircraft, homes built of uranium and nuclear-tipped anti-ballistic missiles, all have run afoul of reality. None offer a realistic solution to the problems of waste or terrorism, not to mention cost, heat emissions and greenhouse gas production in all but the fission/fusion portion of the process. The first big breeder, Fermi I, nearly exploded in Monroe, Michigan, in 1966, threatening to irradiate the entire Great Lakes region. Today's models are extremely dangerous, dirty and have been widely rejected outside France and Japan, where they barely operate.

Canada has been unable to find buyers for its Candu design, and has put its own Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd., up for sale. Thorium reactors are unproven, with no prototypes. Fusion reactors are periodically hyped and always "twenty years away." The AP1000 and EPR face major regulatory, safety and financial hurdles.

Meanwhile a "Fourth Generation" of proposed reactors is theoretical and all over the map. As Michael Mariotte of the Nuclear Information & Resource Service puts it: "The Pebble Bed has failed for the same reason all the other new reactor designs ultimately will fail: they are too expensive compared to the competition. Renewables and energy efficiency are cheap and getting cheaper; nuclear is expensive and getting more so."

Sensing an unending march of hotly hyped but feeble headed new design failures, the US industry is now pushing hard to get its aging fleet -- originally designed to operate 30 to 40 years -- licensed to run for 60 to 80 years. But not one of 104 US reactors has a containment dome designed to withstand a serious jet crash. Reactor builders now say they'll put stronger domes on the new models, but prefer not to discuss cost or logistical realities.

The Pebble Bed's backers could not find private investors, and the South African government finally got tired of footing the bill. If/when that happens here -- and the sooner the better -- the technologies of true green power and efficiency will finally get their day.

Then the "too cheap to meter" six-decade Peaceful Atom fantasy, with its fast breeding corps of failed new designs, can take its final rest in the very dead pebble bed.
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Postby Oscar » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:39 am


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News Release - August 25, 2011

Innovation Minister Rob Norris today joined with Mr. Hiroto Uozumi, President of Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd. and Mr. Taiji Yoshida General Manger of Hitachi, Ltd. to announce $10 million in funding for two Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) that will facilitate and support research collaborations in nuclear medicine, materials science, nuclear safety and small reactor design.

"Almost six months ago Premier Wall announced our new research centre for nuclear medicine and materials science at the University of Saskatchewan and today I'm pleased to announce a new partnership with Hitachi Ltd, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd. (Hitachi-GE), GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas LLC (GEH) and Global Nuclear Fuel - Americas LLC, (GNF-A) to further establish Saskatchewan as a leader in nuclear science and medicine," Norris said.

Innovation Saskatchewan will provide $5 million over the next five years to support R&D activities pursuant to the MOUs in collaboration with Saskatchewan-based research institutions including the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina, the Saskatchewan Research Council and the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron. The Hitachi Group, including its alliance with General Electric will match Saskatchewan's contribution.

The new research partnership will leverage Hitachi's successful development and commercialization of proton beam therapy technologies and Saskatchewan's world class research facilities such as the Canadian Light Source Synchrotron to investigate the development of new nuclear medicines and nuclear imaging technologies.

Nuclear safety will be another major research priority as Hitachi and Innovation Saskatchewan consider research proposals pursuant to the MOUs.

Another area of interest to both Saskatchewan, Hitachi-GE, GEH and GNF-A is research into the reclamation of unused uranium fuel rods.

Under the MOUs, Innovation Saskatchewan will also work with Hitachi-GE, GEH and GNF-A on research into the design and feasibility of small reactor technologies although any decision on whether to pursue nuclear power in Saskatchewan is still many years away.

Today's $10 million investment in nuclear R&D builds on announcements by the Governments of Canada and Saskatchewan this year to invest $30 million for the establishment of a new centre for research in nuclear medicine and materials science, $17 million for the establishment of a Centre for Innovation in Cyclotron Science, $12 million to support innovative research in the production of life saving medical isotopes and $10.1 million for the development of Saskatchewan's first PET/CT facility for diagnosis and treatment of cancer and heart disease at the University of Saskatchewan. -30-

For more information, contact:

Yuichi Izumisawa
Hitachi, Ltd.
Phone: 81-3-5208-9324

Mickey Takeuchi
Hitachi America, Ltd.
Phone: 914-352-5800

Rebecca Rogoschewsky
Executive Council
Phone: 306-787-0980

Related Documents

Hitachi Backgrounder.pdf (23.3 KB)
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The Government of Saskatchewan and Hitachi Ltd. has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on and support nuclear research and development in areas including nuclear medicine and medical imaging.

The Government of Saskatchewan has also signed an MOU between Innovation Saskatchewan and Hitachi-General Electric Nuclear Energy Ltd (Hitachi-GE), General Electric-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Americas LLC (GEH) and Global Nuclear Fuel – Americas LLC (GNF-A) to collaborate on and support nuclear R&D in nuclear safety, materials science, nuclear fuels and feasibility of small reactor technologies.

Hitachi and Saskatchewan

Hitachi and the Province of Saskatchewan have built a strong and cooperative working relationship over 40 years in the power generation field including work on coal, hydro, natural gas and wind generation technologies. Hitachi has provided generation facilities to Saskatchewan Power Corporation (“SaskPower”). In 1988, Hitachi established Hitachi Canadian Industries Ltd. as a manufacturing base for power generation equipment in Saskatchewan province thereby deepening its relationship with SaskPower and Saskatchewan. In February 2010, SaskPower and Hitachi agreed to collaborate on the advancement and implementation of technology in the fields of low-carbon energy technologies, including Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS). In May 2010, Saskatchewan and Hitachi reached a landmark agreement with the signing of a joint declaration to work together and share information for developing energy and environmental technologies, including CCS for thermal power plants, renewable energy and smart grid technologies. Hitachi is also providing an innovative, first-of-its-kind turbine for SaskPower’s world leading Boundary Dam Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage project.

About Innovation Saskatchewan

Innovation Saskatchewan is a special operating agency established by the Government of Saskatchewan to coordinate the Province’s support for research and development and science and technology. Innovation Saskatchewan works to encourage and facilitate the development and commercialization of new ideas, products and processes with the goal of ensuring the long-term sustainable growth of an innovation-driven economy in Saskatchewan.

About Hitachi Ltd.

Hitachi, Ltd., (NYSE: HIT / TSE: 6501), headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, is a leading global electronics company with approximately 360,000 employees worldwide. Fiscal 2010 (ended March 31, 2011) consolidated revenues totaled 9,315 billion yen ($112.2 billion). Hitachi will focus more than ever on the Social Innovation Business, which includes information and telecommunication systems, power systems, environmental, industrial and transportation systems, and social and urban systems, as well as the sophisticated materials and key devices that support them. For more information on Hitachi, please visit the company's website at

About Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd

Hitachi-GE, a joint venture established by Hitachi, Ltd. and General Electric Company in July 2007, as one of the world's leading comprehensive plant manufacturers, engages in the development, planning, design, manufacture, inspection, installation, pre-operation, and maintenance of nuclear reactor-related equipment and is able to execute integrated project management. Hitachi-GE has been involved with 23 reactors in Japan to date, including those currently under construction. Among them, it has participated in all of Japan's Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) projects-four ABWRs are already operational and three are under construction. Overseas, it has supplied major nuclear reactor equipment for the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant in Taiwan.

About GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy

Based in Wilmington, N.C., GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) is a world-leading provider of advanced reactors and nuclear services. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry. The nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor performance, power output and safety.

About Global Nuclear Fuel – Americas, LLC

GNF is a joint venture of General Electric (NYSE:GE), Toshiba Corporation and Hitachi, Ltd. Global Nuclear Fuel (GNF) is a world-leading supplier of boiling water reactor fuel, including uranium dioxide and MOX fuel and fuel-related engineering services. GNF operates primarily through Global Nuclear Fuel-Americas, LLC in Wilmington, N.C., and Global Nuclear Fuel- Japan Co. Ltd. in Kurihama, Japan.

About Hitachi’s cooperative relationship with GE in the nuclear power field

Hitachi and GE established joint venture companies in 2007 to construct, maintain, and provide related services for nuclear power plants in Japan and the United States, and are proactively pursuing international business activities. The Japanese joint venture, Hitachi-GE Nuclear Energy, Ltd., is roughly 80% owned by Hitachi and 20% owned by GE, and in the United States, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy is 40% owned by Hitachi and 60% owned by GE. Both companies are utilizing their accumulated know-how and experience to further expand their nuclear power businesses in global markets.

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ROBBINS: The Little Reactor That Couldn’t

Postby Oscar » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:46 pm

The Little Reactor That Couldn’t

From: Walt Robbins
Date: Nov. 8, 2011

Subject: Small Reactors

You might be interested in an article I wrote about our experience with the Slowpoke 10 which Atomic Energy of Canada attempted to market back in the 1990's. (A battle which we won and was also successfully fought subsequently at the U. of Sask).

It can be accessed on our grandfolkies web site.
Go to
The link is on the upper left, called "Small Reactors? No Way!
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The Little Reactor That Couldn’t

Back in the late 1950's, ideas for the use of small nuclear reactors for various purposes were in vogue. During that period, when I worked for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, I heard speculation over the possible use of atomic energy to run our autos, heat our houses, lift our rockets to the heavens. Many of these ideas were so wild, they were quickly dropped. However, some small reactors were designed and used for university research projects, medical and industrial isotope production and even nuclear submarine propulsion.
Small nuclear reactors can range in power output from less that one up to several hundred megawatts.
More recently, prospects for a so-called nuclear renaissance have revitalized speculation about the design and use of small reactors in Canada. For example, in an interview with CBC News, in February, 2009, Premier Brad Wall said “... he hoped Saskatchewan could play a role developing small reactor technology. He went on to say the provincial government might be able to devote some resources to research and development in that area.”
A report by Saskatchewan’s Uranium Development Partnership, (UDP) included an upbeat statement that “because they require little or no refueling and produce both heat and electricity, small reactors could eventually compete with small-scale diesel, oil and gas generation as a power alternative in remote sites.” The report went on to state that, “Saskatchewan has the opportunity to participate in this market by partnering with a commercial technology developer on a demonstration project.”
Ah, but–the history of small reactors in Canada includes some very expensive “lemons,” something that should give pause to anyone seriously contemplating getting into that kind of business.
As an example, one of those not so successful small reactor efforts was the SLOWPOKE 3, a brainchild of Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. (AECL).
The Slowpoke became an issue for me in 1986, when I was a spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens’ of Manitoba (CCM.), Canada, a nuclear waste watchdog group. After years of our lobbying, the Manitoba provincial government was poised to pass a bill which would prohibit the burial or long-term storage of high level nuclear waste in the Province.
AECL officials were quite upset over the upcoming legislation, one of their concerns being that the bill contained a clause which prohibited the storage of high-level nuclear waste originating from outside the Province for more than seven days. This, according to the AECL testimony, would result in its inability to store the waste from its new "Safe Low Power Kritical (sic) Experiment," (a.k.a. SLOWPOKE) at its Whiteshell, Manitoba based nuclear research station.
The SLOWPOKE 3 was to be a small (10 Megawatt) heat and isotope producing nuclear reactor that AECL was actively marketing around the world, even though it was still in the early stages of untested design. AECL maintained that the pending legislation would force it to set up waste storage facilities elsewhere at additional cost, and that Manitoba would lose "commercial benefits" from the SLOWPOKE 3 program.
It appeared that AECL planned to retrieve the waste from all the SLOWPOKE 3 reactors that it expected to sell in Canada, and abroad, and bring it to Manitoba for storage! Nevertheless, the Manitoba legislation was enacted into law.
However, that did not stop AECL from promoting its mini-nuke.
I recalled reading an article in the Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba, Leader of June 15, 1982, headlined "Nuclear Furnaces Could Soon Be Heating Your House." It went on to describe the small, unattended, SLOWPOKE reactor which could heat a building and require refueling only once every five years.
"Safe Low Power Kritical Experiment!" It was fascinating that AECL chose to use the word "Safe," to describe its new "baby" reactor. It left me with more apprehensions than I already had about its large power reactors, with the acronym, "CANDU," which lacked that vital word “Safe.” Would they now change CANDU to "SCANDU"?
Also, I wondered why the use of the word "experiment." After all, who wants to buy a radioactive "experiment" to heat their community centre or other buildings?
A demonstration 2-megawatt version of the SLOWPOKE 3 reactor began very low-power operation at AECL's Pinawa, Manitoba, Whiteshell research station on July 15, 1987. But well before that small demonstration model was up and running, the Crown Corporation was already actively marketing the non-existent 10 mw version in such places as China, Korea, Europe and Canada's own Northwest Territory.
By January, 1988, AECL had signed a memorandum of agreement with Hungary for a potential SLOWPOKE 3 sale.
A May 29, 1986, Winnipeg Free Press article headlined "Radioactive Waste Repository for Manitoba Planned by Agency," really caught our attention. AECL’s idea was to remove spent fuel from each SLOWPOKE 3 reactor every five to eight years. The thirty or forty fuel bundles would be placed in concrete cylinders at its research facilities at Pinawa, Manitoba and Chalk River, Ontario. Eventually, it was reported, the waste would go into the (still non-existent) permanent underground waste repository. CCM took the position that the Province should not permit storage of SLOWPOKE 3 waste and that (it should) ". . . block the buildup of anything which tends to take us closer to a nuclear waste repository in Manitoba."
CCM considered that if AECL started bringing its foreign customers' SLOWPOKE 3 excrement back to Canada, it would be well on the road to the full-scale commercial international radioactive waste dump about which CCM had been warning the public for so many years.
According to the article, Provincial Environment Minister Gerard Lecuyer was surprised by this development and indicated that ". . his initial reaction was one of opposition."
CCM's interest in the SLOWPOKE 3 grew further as a result of another article in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 24, 1987, which reported AECL's Metro Dmytriw as saying that the Corporation had received an initial inquiry about the purchase of one from an interested party in Manitoba.
According to that article, Dmytriw also suggested that a SLOWPOKE 3 nuclear reactor might be a replacement for Winnipeg's aging central steam heating plant. The article pointed out that AECL had held no discussions with the city nor did city officials express any interest in the idea at the time.
Other groups had also been criticizing the SLOWPOKE 3. The Montreal Gazette, May 22, 1986, reported Norm Rubin of Energy Probe in Toronto as saying . . .(the idea is) "crazy." Rubin wondered how, in the event of an accident, a hospital or shopping mall could be evacuated, especially since the SLOWPOKE 3 would operate "unattended" for some periods of time.
The same Gazette article included similar concerns expressed by Gordon Edwards, President of the Montreal-based Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. Both Rubin and Edwards pointed to the unsolved nuclear waste problem as a good reason for not proceeding with the development and marketing of the SLOWPOKE 3 nuclear reactor.
Aside from the waste, safety, and economic questions surrounding the SLOWPOKE 3, CCM expressed concern over reactor security. An unattended reactor operating in a small community or a building in a large city could present unparalleled opportunities for anyone who might want to steal highlevel nuclear waste. (The design called for spent fuel rods to be stored within each reactor, until removed to some other location.)
Other possible acts might include sabotaging the untended reactors themselves, or pumping out the water (which becomes more radioactive as the reactor operates), into a municipal system. Unforeseen and unanticipated damage and acts of terrorism are a real possibility when one considers the many unstable political situations around the world.
Even large power reactors have their security problems. According to the October 2, 1987 Critical Mass Energy Project's newsletter, Public Citizen, in the US, "Dozens of security breaches occurred at nuclear plant sites in 1986. These include vandalism and sabotage directed at reactor operations; use of firearms on plant sites by unauthorized persons; and increasing drug use among nuclear workers." Also, some workers have been found, literally, asleep at the switch.
My personal involvement with the SLOWPOKE, became even more intense when my wife, Phyl, and I moved from Manitoba to Québec, in 1988.
We had just arrived at the home of friends in the town of Beebe, in the Eastern Townships of Québec. It was March 15, 1988, and we were on a house hunting expedition.
Somewhat tired from the day's journey, which included a six-hour long delayed flight from Winnipeg, and a long drive in a rented car through a heavy snow storm from Montréal, we looked forward to some relaxation and good conversation that evening.
Our friends, however, stood by quietly watching, as we stared incredulously at the March 14 edition of the Sherbrooke, Québec, Record, which was propped up on their dining table.
Plastered across the front page was a story about AECL's plan to construct and operate a ten megawatt SLOWPOKE ("Safe Low Energy Critical Experiment") nuclear reactor at the Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS), the large University Medical Centre located in Québec’s Eastern Townships.
I quickly scanned the story, which someone had leaked to the newspaper, revealing AECL's plan to build the reactor for the stated purpose of heating the hospital.
AECL was to own and operate it, and the hospital would pay the heating bill. Most importantly, the reactor, the first of its kind, was planned to serve as a demonstration based on the two megawatt version (which we knew was still nowhere near full power) at the Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment at Pinawa, Manitoba.
"I don't believe this," and "You've got to be kidding," were but a few (printable!) comments made by the two of us, as we read the lead article.
Our activities in Manitoba were well known to some of the environmental and peace activists in the Townships area. We had made contact with them during the 1985 controversy over a possible U.S. nuclear waste dump in northern Vermont, very close to the Canadian border.
When some of them heard that we were moving into the area, we were asked to join them in dealing with the new-to-Sherbrooke SLOWPOKE 3 issue.
Thus, a short time after our arrival into what we had hoped would surely be a relaxed new start in retirement life, Phyl and I were involved in strategy meetings with peace and ecology groups, a meeting with AECL and hospital officials, news conferences and media interviews.
It was as if we had never left Winnipeg.
Since my concern about the so-called SLOWPOKE 3 reactor had already started to grow over the past several years in Winnipeg, it seemed somehow appropriate to be involved in this new controversy.
The more I learned about the new mini-nuke, the less I liked it: It would use highly-enriched uranium which must be imported from other countries. It would create high-level radioactive waste, which would contain weapons usable plutonium. It would be marketed anywhere in the world. It would operate unattended for periods of time, leaving it vulnerable to those with malicious intent. Also, it would routinely emit radioactive gasses into the environment.
Yet, the plan now was to place such a machine in, of all places, a large teaching hospital, where, as is true of anything else designed by humans, accidents could, and did happen.
When Phyl and I finally moved from Winnipeg, we had put our belongings in storage as we continued to search for a house in the Eastern Townships. As it turned out, we did not find a house we liked before we sold our place in Winnipeg. So, we rented a furnished mobile home in a farming area near the town of Beebe.
We brought the essentials for living with us in our camper van which pulled our old 1960s'tent trailer from Winnipeg to the Townships.
However, I had packed one box of assorted files on nuclear waste issues in the tent trailer. Now, I am not especially a mystic, but it turned out that one of those files was full of papers on the SLOWPOKE reactor! It contained information which later proved to be very useful in shaping future events.
However, it now seemed as if our dream of "peace, quiet and contemplation" in the rolling hills of the Eastern Townships was not to be. [Our histories showed that we were probably never cut out for that kind of a life anyway!] For us, it would be the "Year of the SLOWPOKE."
The minutes of a February 16, 1988 meeting between AECL and the CHUS Hospital Board of Directors include an AECL quote that ". . . an appropriate strategy produces very little public reaction."
This time, however, AECL's "appropriate strategy" obviously did not take into account that someone(s) high up within the hospital's staff itself might have more than a few misgivings about the venture and would leak the information to the media.
The Townships Peace Group asked us to attend a May 2, 1988 meeting at the CHUS with hospital officials, AECL representatives, and persons concerned about the SLOWPOKE project.
We were already seated at the board room conference table when the AECL contingent arrived. Several AECL officials present from the Pinawa, Manitoba, Whiteshell Nuclear Research Establishment (WNRE), were visibly shaken when they saw us there. Of course, they did not know that we had very recently moved from Winnipeg to Québec. "What are you doing here?" asked one of them. "We live here." I retorted. I'll never forget the astonished look on their faces.
The Robbins, former Concerned Citizens of Manitoba stalwarts, were probably the last two people they wanted to see that morning!
They were no doubt unhappy about the presence of others who also were at the meeting, including Gordon Edwards, well known nuclear critic from Montréal, and Max Krell, a local university professor, (and a very concerned nuclear physicist).
The hospital officials and AECL reminded me of a group of kids who had just got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. I imagine that they all realized at that moment, that their "appropriate strategy" might have just gone down the tube!
Although good manners were observed throughout, it became quite obvious that the citizens' representatives were not going to buy in on the proposal.
It did not take long for a coalition of peace and environmental groups and other concerned individuals to take shape in the Eastern Townships. The group used the same initials used by the hospital, i.e., the "Coalition CHUS" (Continue Hydro, not Uranium for our Safety, or, in French, Continuer l'Hydro non l'Uranium pour notre Sécurité.)
After the initial flurry of organizational and media activity, Phyl and I settled into a relatively benign role of "behind the scenes" support to the mostly French speaking coalition. But I had one more moment in the spotlight, which Phyl provided for me.
She had carefully reviewed the contents of the SLOWPOKE file that we had brought with us from Winnipeg, and had found an amazingly frank, and startling statement by John Hillborn, the inventor of the SLOWPOKE reactor, concerning the possibility of nuclear accidents.
In a June, 1981 paper he co-authored for the Second Annual Meeting of the Canadian Nuclear Society in Ottawa,(AECL document No. 7438), Hillborn said that, "It is now well known that people will accept frequent, small disasters more readily than rare catastrophes."
Airplane crashes were used as an example. The paper continued, "Although we may have to endure the legacy of Three Mile Island for many years, a decentralized system of small reactors which effectively eliminates the possibility of a single big accident may have a significant advantage in licensing, insuring, and gaining public acceptance. Eventually the public may accept accidents to small reactors to the same extent that they accept fires, explosions, and airplane crashes, as long as the consequences are not obviously worse. It would be unrealistic however, to expect many communities to welcome nuclear reactors within their boundaries until there are severe regional shortages of gas and electricity."
On June 22, 1988, I read this statement, without comment, at the Coalition's first press conference. The media jumped on it. The following day the quote was used in the lead editorial in the Sherbrooke Record. Hilborn's statement became one of the Coalition's, and the media's favorite items. It was an excellent example of the fact that one of our most powerful weapons against AECL was its own prose.
I was not alone in finding Hilborn's statement to be a chilling one, with its assessment of public reaction to "small" nuclear catastrophes. The 1980s witnessed bitter and protracted conflict and public concern over radioactive spills from discarded medical equipment in scrap yards, radioactive soil in housing developments, radioactive materials dropping from space satellites, and missing quantities of plutonium.
The fact that there is no safe level of radiation was understood by the public. Increasingly, evidence points to negative health effects from the most negligible levels of radiation. And the public has become aware of the consequences from nuclear radiation in whatever forms and amounts. Even the negative side of natural radiation has become more evident. There is nothing to suggest that the public will, in Hilborn's terms, easily accept "small" nuclear disasters.

Coalition CHUS continued to raise questions about the safety of the reactor.
An exchange of correspondence between an official of Canada's Atomic Energy Control Board (AECB) and myself, revealed that the so-called "nuclear regulators" had no(!) safety information on the reactor. Their October 5, 1988 letter to me stated that "It is likely that the 10-mw reactor will be significantly different from the (2-mw) SDR." The letter also noted that "At this time the AECB does not have any detailed design information on the proposed 10-mw installation."
Not only was the 10-megawatt SLOWPOKE 3 an "experiment" in the true sense of the word, even its supposed prototype 2-mw version, at the WNRE, was still in its embryonic stages. AECB had reviewed that reactor and requested that AECL take a number of significant steps to improve its safety.
As the SLOWPOKE issue developed and the Coalition CHUS quickly grew during the Summer and Autumn of 1988, Phyl and I continued to provide it with advice, moral support, and assistance in developing letters and fact sheets. I was absolutely astounded at the energy and the effectiveness of the anti-SLOWPOKE coalition. Something was happening all the time. Meetings, mailings, radio and TV coverage, debates, button and t-shirts sales --- just about every legitimate, democratic, non-violent form of protest and expression was taking place.
By October, 1988, the movement had acquired a life of its own. There were so many media events, activities, and speakers' appearances going on that it was difficult just to keep track of them all.
As Coalition CHUS rapidly expanded, Phyl and I continued work in our behind the scenes role to supply information and ideas. For example, in one of her fact sheets Phyl included information about AECL's own stated policy of excluding pregnant women and small children from tours and open houses at the WNRE, which contained the 2 megawatt "prototype" of the SLOWPOKE.
Pregnant women and small children visit the CHUS medical centre every day for medical treatment. Would not a ten megawatt reactor at the hospital provide at least equal, if not greater risk? The point was not lost on the nurses at the hospital. Their union passed a unanimous resolution opposing the reactor, declaring it a public health risk.
By November, 1988, coalition support was estimated at twenty-five thousand, with almost ten organizations a week joining our forces. Much of the opposition came from the hospital staff itself. Politicians were falling over themselves to come onside.
The handwriting on the wall was writ large and clear. On December 20, 1988, we received the best Christmas present of all: the hospital Board of Directors announced its withdrawal from the SLOWPOKE project, a decision taken in spite of AECL's initial offer to absorb the five-to-seven milliondollar capital cost. Coalition CHUS had done its work well.
AECL folded its tents and left Sherbrooke. It had lost another round in its struggle to market its mini-nuke.
AECL's public relations and sales forces had again failed to convince any community that they had invented the perfect nuclear heating machine; one which they promoted as being inherently safe, and which would operate in the midst of a populated area without negative consequences, for at long as 30 years -- - even though the design of the reactor had not yet been finalized or approved!
Undaunted, the federal Crown Corporation continued to seek a location for a full-scale demonstration SLOWPOKE 3 to enhance the reactor's credibility in the eyes of potential foreign customers. But no one was buying. After two more failed attempts (one at a G.E. plant in Peterborough, Ontario, and another lengthy one at the University of Saskatchewan), the marketing project stalled.
A few years later, the two megawatt "prototype" at WNRE (which had never operated at full strength. By November 1991, and forty-five million dollars later, the entire SLOWPOKE 3 project was consigned to oblivion.
In a 2007 article on “ Nuclear Smoke and Mirrors,” Jim Harding, a retired University of Regina, professor of environmental and justice studies commented on some of the Canadian reactor designs.
He wrote that “... the list of botched AECL designs is lengthy. There was the Organic Cooled Reactor in Manitoba, which was an expensive dead end. There was the Candu Boiling Light Water Reactor in Québec, which (without even including design costs) was a $126 million disaster. Then there was the Slowpoke Energy System, for which design work cost $45 million, which didn’t work properly. Next came the Candu-3, for which design work cost $75 million, which no one wanted. And the Candu-9, with design costs still secret, which was a no-go in South Korea. More recently AECL built the Maple Reactor at Chalk River, which threatens to become another technological and financial fiasco since the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) is refusing to even license it for operation”.
The moral of this story is that there is no such thing as an inherently safe nuclear reactor. Those who contemplate going down that road should carefully assess the lessons from the past. If they do so, they might very well choose other, more preferable alternatives.
Walt Robbins
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Potential for Small Nuclear Reactors in Northern SK

Postby Oscar » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:28 am

Potential for Small Nuclear Reactors in Northern Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan Hansard, November 7, 2012 (pp. 1811-1812)

Potential for Small Nuclear Reactors

Ms. Sproule: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. People are noticing that the Premier often makes surprise announcements to the people by musing out loud to the media. It’s a very odd habit. He’s introducing complex topics without any announcement either in the Sask Party’s pre-Throne Speech growth plan, the Throne Speech itself, or even their election platform. It appears to be an agenda of secrecy and surprise.

The latest example is yesterday’s musings about bringing nuclear power to the province’s North. When he had an opportunity to maybe discuss a plan for long-term care facilities and roads in the North, Mr. Speaker, the Premier instead chose to announce he is looking at nuclear power generation in the North. Why did the Premier suddenly announce plans to develop nuclear power in the North?

The Speaker: — I recognize the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Wall: — Well, Mr. Speaker, because the press gallery were asking some very good questions. We were having a discussion I think about the recent trade agreement, the recent nuclear co-operation agreement that we’ve struck with India. We want to acknowledge the fact that our Prime Minister, the federal government, have now two important markets for our uranium, have opened them up through nuclear co-operation agreements. I think it’s the first time in the history of a federal government, of a Prime Minister, to take that very specific Saskatchewan issue and put it on the table in terms of the potential for uranium sales in India and in China. And so as we discussed about ways to add value to uranium — I think it was a columnist from the Leader-Post was asking about value-added opportunities — we pointed out that, you know, perhaps down the road in northern Canada there’s a case for small-reactor technology development in these remote areas. So I simply agreed that this is the kind of value-added we needed to do.

This was part of our innovation agenda. We want to be leading in this regard. That’s why we funded the Sylvia Fedoruk Canadian Centre For Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan. We’ve got partners with Hitachi, Mr. Speaker. That’s where that comes from. It comes from a good discussion in the province of Saskatchewan, just out there, one that we’re happy to have with her as well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: — I recognize the member for Saskatoon Nutana.

Ms. Sproule: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier’s new weather balloon idea on nuclear power generation came in without any warning. He said, “Is there an opportunity in the mid and the long term for small reactors, 20, 30, 40 megawatts? We think there is.”

Mr. Speaker, the people of Saskatchewan already participated in earnest in the Perrins commission in 2009, the Sask Party government’s own study. The Perrins report was clear: “The overwhelming response to this public consultation was that nuclear power generation should not be a choice for Saskatchewan.” But yesterday, Mr. Speaker, the Premier has already chosen the location and a new reactor and figured out what size it would be. If he has already a plan developed, Mr. Speaker, why doesn’t he release it?

The Speaker: — I recognize the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Wall: — Well, Mr. Speaker, this is a two-year-old secret. Mr. Speaker, this side of the House announced a couple of years ago, maybe longer, that we would be funding the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Innovation at the University of Saskatchewan. We announced our vision for reclaiming leadership in nuclear medicine. That was part of it, and that is exactly what we’ve been doing.

But we also said then that we want to lead in terms of R & D [research and development] into potential small-reactor development. We even announced thereafter that we had a partnership with Hitachi. Hitachi is a partner in that centre . . . Well she’s shaking her head. She ought to get on the Google and just research it, Mr. Speaker. That’s exactly what the government said. We have a partnership with Hitachi. Hitachi’s interested in small nuclear technology. This is a two-and-half-year-old secret.

I can get why the hon. members are asking questions. They are uncomfortable even with mining uranium in this province. They’re uncomfortable with the fact that half of the workforce in those mines are First Nations. They’re uncomfortable with adding any value to it at all. We’re not. We want to lead, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker: — I recognize the member for Saskatoon Nutana.

Ms. Sproule: — Thank you. Mr. Speaker, of course the people of Saskatchewan support research involving nuclear medicine. And of course they support research about all forms of energy, including developing renewables and the cost of each type of energy production. But, Mr. Speaker, even small reactors being developed in China have price tags in the neighbourhood of $1 billion. That’s why people have clear concerns about nuclear power generation — because of the high fiscal and environmental costs.

Nuclear power seems to be the only egg in the Premier’s basket when it comes to sustaining our growing energy needs. If nuclear power in the North is the Sask Party government’s new policy, where is the public consultation? And what will this new policy cost the people of Saskatchewan?

The Speaker: — I recognize the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Wall: — Mr. Speaker, as I’ve said, there is no surprise here. A couple of years ago the government announced it would be funding, at the University of Saskatchewan, the creation of the Canadian Nuclear Innovation Centre. It’s now been named for Dr. Fedoruk.

Mr. Speaker, it wasn’t very long ago — five decades ago or so — when this province was a leader in terms of nuclear medicine. This is the province that pioneered cobalt treatment. And since then, after years of that member’s party in power, the CCF [Co-operative Commonwealth Federation] in power, after their discomfort with anything having to do with uranium, this sort of a very uncomfortable relationship even with mining uranium, we have lost our advantage.

We have lost our advantage in this important sector, though we mine 20 per cent of the world’s uranium, though 44 per cent of the workforce is Aboriginal in terms of the mining of that uranium, though we’re home to one of the world’s leading companies, in fact the leading company in the world in uranium. They are uncomfortable. Many that support their party — and we’ve heard from them — would like to ban uranium mining altogether, Mr. Speaker. They are on the wrong side of the uranium issue, and until they understand that, Mr. Speaker, they’re going to be out of step with northern development opportunities, Mr. Speaker.
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GEARY: Wall must avoid exuberance trap

Postby Oscar » Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:04 am

GEARY: Wall must avoid exuberance trap

[ ... z2COQrIMJ5 ] (*** LINK no longer works*** - Editor May 7, 2018)

By David Geary, The StarPhoenixNovember 16, 2012

Geary is a Saskatoon writer/researcher specializing in energy issues, and a member of the Saskatchewan Clean Green Coalition.

Re: Wall backs research in small reactors (SP, Nov. 8).

It's good to see Premier Brad Wall finally rule out large conventional nuclear reactors for Saskatchewan. That's a wise move.

Plentiful natural gas, no prospects for a carbon tax, non-competitive and staggering costs of nuclear plants, along with other serious liabilities spell the beginning of the end of the nuclear power era in Canada and the U.S.

It's bewildering then that Wall goes on to promote Saskatchewan taxpayer-funded research and development of a small nuclear reactor (SNR), because SNRs not only would retain their larger cousins' safety, emissions, waste and cost problems but would likely exacerbate them.

After more than 50 years of experimental design work globally, there is still no credible demonstration project of a commercial SNR, and thus no performance history. Being an unknown quantity, they pose a financial risk to governments and private investors.

- - - SNIP - - -

Safety parameters for these devices are unknown. Regulations for emergency evacuation zones, legal liability insurance, security standards, arms proliferation risks, and earthquake regulations would all have to be rewritten, slowing down commercial licensing prospects and thus discourage investors.

Prominent American physicist Edwin Lyman, senior scientist in the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, recently dismissed this technology by stating that SNRs are all in the "stage of fantasy" and characterized the public discussion of them as "irrational exuberance."

Some companies and countries that have researched SNRs are now beginning to cut their losses. For example, South Africa recently aborted building its small reactor, even after investing $1.3 billion into its design.
The U.S. Department of Energy was slated to contribute $452 million to assist three companies - Holtec International, NuScale, and Gen4Energy (formerly Hyperion) - to develop SNR technology at its Savannah River site in South Carolina. However on Nov. 7, it was announced that all work is on hold because DOE is cutting the funding.

Premier Wall should take note. I hope that he doesn't make the same mistake many other North American political leaders have made - letting irrational exuberance of nuclear ideology trump economic good sense.
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Toshiba - Small Reactors for AB Tarsands - 2020?

Postby Oscar » Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:23 am

QUOTE: "Therefore, Toshiba has been working in Alaska and municipalities in northern Canada to introduce its small reactor as a small-scale power station."

Toshiba developing small N-reactor / Reactor to be used to mine oil sands in Canada; initial operation by 2020 eyed

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Graphics)

Toshiba Corp. has been developing a small nuclear reactor for mining oil sands at the request of a firm engaged in such mining projects in Alberta Province, Canada, and aims to begin operating the reactor by 2020, it has been learned.

As the situation regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants and reactors in Japan remains unclear, Toshiba's move will likely attract attention as an effort toward utilizing the nation's nuclear technology in fields other than power generation.

Oil sands are sandstone deposits which contain a viscous form of petroleum, and can be used as petroleum-based fuel. Compared with oil fields, it has so far been difficult to develop oil sands. However, technological advances have led to the promotion of oil sands development in Venezuela and Canada. Canada is said to have about 100 oil sands deposits totaling about 170 billion barrels--the equivalent of about 100 years' worth of petroleum consumption in Japan.

- - - - SNIP - - -

Other purposes

Toshiba also plans to use the small reactor for purposes other than oil sands mining, the sources said.

For example, the firm is considering using it at desalination plants, which convert seawater into freshwater, or as a power source for electrolysis equipment to produce hydrogen for fuel battery-powered vehicles.

Usually, constructing a small reactor costs between 50 billion yen and 100 billion yen, less than 20 percent the cost of building a regular reactor. This would make the new reactor easier to introduce in frontier areas. Therefore, Toshiba has been working in Alaska and municipalities in northern Canada to introduce its small reactor as a small-scale power station.

To gain the understanding of local residents, Toshiba will disclose information about its small reactor to locals and carefully explain its safety to them.


- - - -

Toshiba May Sell Small Nuclear Reactor For Tapping Oil Sands

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

TOKYO (Nikkei)--Toshiba Corp. (6502) intends to commercialize a small nuclear reactor for oil sands extraction if requested from natural resource developers in Canada and elsewhere.

Steam generated by the nuclear reactor would be injected into the ground to pump up oil sands, which are also known as tar sands. Toshiba is considering offering a 10,000kw reactor, which is less costly to develop and construct than the 1-million-kilowatt reactors currently used at nuclear power plants.

MORE: . . . .
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Toshiba developing small N-reactor - for TARSANDS!!!

Postby Oscar » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:11 am

Toshiba developing small N-reactor / Reactor to be used to mine oil sands in Canada; initial operation by 2020 eyed

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Jan. 16, 2013)

Toshiba Corp. has been developing a small nuclear reactor for mining oil sands at the request of a firm engaged in such mining projects in Alberta Province, Canada, and aims to begin operating the reactor by 2020, it has been learned.

As the situation regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants and reactors in Japan remains unclear, Toshiba's move will likely attract attention as an effort toward utilizing the nation's nuclear technology in fields other than power generation.

Oil sands are sandstone deposits which contain a viscous form of petroleum, and can be used as petroleum-based fuel. Compared with oil fields, it has so far been difficult to develop oil sands. However, technological advances have led to the promotion of oil sands development in Venezuela and Canada. Canada is said to have about 100 oil sands deposits totaling about 170 billion barrels--the equivalent of about 100 years' worth of petroleum consumption in Japan.

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Re: (SMALL) Nuclear Reactor Types

Postby Oscar » Mon Jan 22, 2018 5:40 pm

Some important UPDATES: January 2018

Sask Party Leadership candidate (and next SK Premier) Alanna Koch, indicated that she's very interested in 'looking into' the use of SMRs . . . . see the final paragraphs of 2 articles here: [ viewtopic.php?f=20&t=5129 ].

= = = =

8th Annual International SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit

[ ... d-reactor/ ]

March 27-28, 2018 in Atlanta, along with over 350 senior level attendees from around the world, including significant representation from Canada (Ontario, Saskatchewan, etc.).

= = = = =

January 18, 2018

Webinar "NuScale Power: Blazing a Trail in the United States and Beyond" featuring Jack Bailey at NuScale Power discussing their exciting project recording: [ ]
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