turbguy

A Natrium Reactor to be built in Wyoming!

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I was entertained enough to glance at some of the material. This basically a nuclear reactor which will also store energy in molten salt. Okay, sure, although I was under the impression that molten salt had proved difficult to use in this way. They may be better of with a nuclear reactor and batteries, and maybe do without the batteries .. I have no problem with a small scale nuclear reactor to deal with intermittency. The rest may be over-engineering, but whatever.. 

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(edited)

47 minutes ago, markslawson said:

I was entertained enough to glance at some of the material. This basically a nuclear reactor which will also store energy in molten salt. Okay, sure, although I was under the impression that molten salt had proved difficult to use in this way. They may be better of with a nuclear reactor and batteries, and maybe do without the batteries .. I have no problem with a small scale nuclear reactor to deal with intermittency. The rest may be over-engineering, but whatever.. 

My concern would be liquid sodium leaks (I think that's the coolant fluid), and perhaps materials of construction that may have some long-term unexpected corrosion or attack mechanism on the primary coolant side.

But, Fermi ran for quite a while MANY years ago...

If they can obtain steam conditions near those used at the retiring coal plant (they should be able to) there's a LOT of equipment and "brownfield" infrastructure they can reuse!

It makes sense to tear down the boiler and Air Quality Control Systems and plop a nuclear reactor in the space, no??

Edited by turbguy

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Looks like they are planning on the cost being at least $3.2 billion. Not cheap. 

https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/us-department-energy-announces-160-million-first-awards-under-advanced-reactor

DOE is awarding TerraPower LLC (Bellevue, WA) and X-energy (Rockville, MD) $80 million each in initial funding to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years. The awards are cost-shared partnerships with industry that will deliver two first-of-a-kind advanced reactors to be licensed for commercial operations. The Department will invest a total of $3.2 billion over seven years, subject to the availability of future appropriations, with our industry partners providing matching funds.

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8 minutes ago, Jay McKinsey said:

Looks like they are planning on the cost being at least $3.2 billion. Not cheap. 

https://www.energy.gov/ne/articles/us-department-energy-announces-160-million-first-awards-under-advanced-reactor

DOE is awarding TerraPower LLC (Bellevue, WA) and X-energy (Rockville, MD) $80 million each in initial funding to build two advanced nuclear reactors that can be operational within seven years. The awards are cost-shared partnerships with industry that will deliver two first-of-a-kind advanced reactors to be licensed for commercial operations. The Department will invest a total of $3.2 billion over seven years, subject to the availability of future appropriations, with our industry partners providing matching funds.

What early-development energy system does not get a political policy decision favorable to the early actors?

They ALL did.

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18 minutes ago, turbguy said:

What early-development energy system does not get a political policy decision favorable to the early actors?

They ALL did.

For sure. My concern though is that nuclear power does not have a track record of decreasing costs. If it did it would rule the world. They don't even tout it as being the potential low cost option but as the backup power for renewables. This means that in the real world it is going to have low capacity factor which will drive its cost per MW through the roof and its competition will be relatively low marginal cost storage such as green hydrogen, flow battery electrolyte, etc.

image.png.d04226ef2dd80d43e3a2dba29eb0516c.png

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(edited)

56 minutes ago, Jay McKinsey said:

For sure. My concern though is that nuclear power does not have a track record of decreasing costs. If it did it would rule the world. They don't even tout it as being the potential low cost option but as the backup power for renewables. This means that in the real world it is going to have low capacity factor which will drive its cost per MW through the roof and its competition will be relatively low marginal cost storage such as green hydrogen, flow battery electrolyte, etc.

image.png.d04226ef2dd80d43e3a2dba29eb0516c.png

Just needs a healthy subsidy...😃

An easily cycle-able large power reactor plant (without all the poisoning issues that would otherwise arise) would be an advantage.

Renewables eventually must present a source of base load.  Yes, you can overbuild the renewables, and use storage, and use demand management.  That will take many decades.  Currently, only "pie-in-the-sky" space-based systems can provide something near base-load type of output.

Space-based systems will be REALLY expensive!

BUT:  If you can utilize the steam cycle and the infrastructure of EXISTING plant, first cost will be heavily reduced.

I would consider it a reasonable option in the "mix" required to cut emissions.  At least until renewables plus storage can meet "dispatchable" expectations. 

 

Edited by turbguy

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Pardon me...... does this mean dropping sodium into a water containing reactor and producing a one time explosion huge enough to turn the water into steam and activate the turbine and etc..... ?? 😳

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5 hours ago, specinho said:

Pardon me...... does this mean dropping sodium into a water containing reactor and producing a one time explosion huge enough to turn the water into steam and activate the turbine and etc..... ?? 😳

 

Google "Fermi Unit 1".

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22 hours ago, turbguy said:

My concern would be liquid sodium leaks (I think that's the coolant fluid), and perhaps materials of construction that may have some long-term unexpected corrosion or attack mechanism on the primary coolant side.

That is a major problem where its been used in renewable generators that are supposed to be able to work around the clock.. it would otherwise be a handy store of energy but its tough to use.. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 7:50 PM, markslawson said:

I was entertained enough to glance at some of the material. This basically a nuclear reactor which will also store energy in molten salt. Okay, sure, although I was under the impression that molten salt had proved difficult to use in this way. They may be better of with a nuclear reactor and batteries, and maybe do without the batteries .. I have no problem with a small scale nuclear reactor to deal with intermittency. The rest may be over-engineering, but whatever.. 

As a demonstrator project, it probably contains several different 'experiments' in it, thus accounting for the seemingly excessive complexity.  plus there are probably some backups for things that will not fail (but nobody knows that yet) If the concept proves out, then later ones would be simplified - or it might not work very well - time will tell. A 3rd possibility is that molten salt as a 'storage' device works OK, but it should be used standalone instead of tied to a nuke plant.  A reasonably sized molten salt system heated by excess renewable power during good parts of the day, and discharged during bad ones might work pretty well.  

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Ahh, FINALLY SOMETHING USEFUL.

This tech is some of the oldest of the Gen IV designs, and there's no reason it shouldn't be used at this point. 

I also love the common sense energy storage approach. Way more power dense, and less expensive, than batteries. 

Good that it's a 300 MW system too. I was expecting one of those stupid small modular designs at 50 MW. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 8:32 PM, turbguy said:

My concern would be liquid sodium leaks (I think that's the coolant fluid), and perhaps materials of construction that may have some long-term unexpected corrosion or attack mechanism on the primary coolant side.

Yes sodium is the coolant. It's a fast reactor, so the neutrons operate on the fast spectrum. A water cooled reactor would moderate the neutrons into a "thermal" or slow state 

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On 6/2/2021 at 10:35 PM, Jay McKinsey said:

If it did it would rule the world.

It sure did before some people had their say...

The day will come where it will rule, but first we need more startups (like this) to prove the new tech. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 10:35 PM, Jay McKinsey said:

This means that in the real world it is going to have low capacity factor which will drive its cost per MW through the roof and its competition will be relatively low marginal cost storage such as green hydrogen, flow battery electrolyte, etc.

This simply isn't true. Nuclear plants aren't required to "throttle down". They've got a license of sorts to run at maximum capacity all of the time. Therefore the opposite struggle is taking place in the solar/wind sector. 

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2 Super wealthy assholes doing it WY to prove a point against coal, I guess Bill is board since he has had to stop using Epstein’ UNDER AGE pipeline……

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57 minutes ago, KeyboardWarrior said:

This simply isn't true. Nuclear plants aren't required to "throttle down". They've got a license of sorts to run at maximum capacity all of the time. Therefore the opposite struggle is taking place in the solar/wind sector. 

It isn't a blanket rule. Must-run is decided at regional and local levels for power plants with high fixed cost. Geothermal, land fill gas and even many coal plants are also tagged as must-run. It is guidance to the market to choose pre-designated sources of inflexible supply. 

If they were relying on must-run status then why all the effort to market it as a flexible energy source? Maybe because inflexible supply is lower value than flexible supply?

 

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31 minutes ago, Jay McKinsey said:

If they were relying on must-run status then why all the effort to market it as a flexible energy source? Maybe because inflexible supply is lower value than flexible supply?

As in, power generated at peak demand nets more than power 24/7? I would say that's a possibility, but it's quite difficult to change the output of a nuke on the whim. I'm going to see if I can find nuclear plants that don't operate at 99% all of the time. 

[EDIT] Now I see what you mean. The molten salt thermal storage must be what they're calling flexible supply, since slowing the reactor doesn't seem like a good idea. 

Edited by KeyboardWarrior

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3 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

A reasonably sized molten salt system heated by excess renewable power during good parts of the day, and discharged during bad ones might work pretty well.  

I don't disagree but they have ben talking about molten salt as an energy store for a long time and my understanding is that its hard to handle - likely to cause leaks in the container and so on.. but I certainly agree it is better to pair it with renewable energy projects rather than an on-demand project.. 

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3 hours ago, KeyboardWarrior said:

This simply isn't true. Nuclear plants aren't required to "throttle down". They've got a license of sorts to run at maximum capacity all of the time. Therefore the opposite struggle is taking place in the solar/wind sector. 

Light Water reactors have a record of running pedal to the metal once on-line. 

Cycling the reactor caused "poisons" to arise (such as Xenon), which makes them more 'challenging' to operate.

You still have mandated minor power-downs (such as on-line turbine valve testing) that nuc plant management challenges every so often .

Else, it's pedal-to-the-metal.

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1 hour ago, turbguy said:

Light Water reactors have a record of running pedal to the metal once on-line. 

Cycling the reactor caused "poisons" to arise (such as Xenon), which makes them more 'challenging' to operate.

You still have mandated minor power-downs (such as on-line turbine valve testing) that nuc plant management challenges every so often .

Else, it's pedal-to-the-metal.

Exactly, thus the problems they had while "experimenting" with shutdown procedures at Chernobyl. 

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On 6/2/2021 at 7:50 PM, markslawson said:

I was entertained enough to glance at some of the material. This basically a nuclear reactor which will also store energy in molten salt. Okay, sure, although I was under the impression that molten salt had proved difficult to use in this way. They may be better of with a nuclear reactor and batteries, and maybe do without the batteries .. I have no problem with a small scale nuclear reactor to deal with intermittency. The rest may be over-engineering, but whatever.. 

They definitely won't be better off with batteries. Amazing how thermodynamics and finance cross over in this industry. You'll find that molten salt thermal energy storage yields far better returns than batteries. 

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(edited)

1 hour ago, KeyboardWarrior said:

You'll find that molten salt thermal energy storage yields far better returns than batteries. 

That is quite the claim. 

 

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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(edited)

24 minutes ago, Jay McKinsey said:

That is quite the claim. Can you provide any supporting information?

Greater losses result in conversion of thermal to electrical energy with subsequent battery storage. If you store this thermal energy directly without any conversion (and subsequent loss) you retain a greater energy value to profit on. 

The best option in terms of financial benefit is synthetic fuel from the excess thermal energy. They'll catch on eventually. 

EDIT: For further clarification, the battery system would lose 10% more than the thermal system, and would be more expensive to install. Think about it: a molten salt system requires insulated tanks and a heat exchanger. Far more cost effective than tons of lithium metal sitting in a yard.

Edited by KeyboardWarrior

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(edited)

5 hours ago, KeyboardWarrior said:

Greater losses result in conversion of thermal to electrical energy with subsequent battery storage. If you store this thermal energy directly without any conversion (and subsequent loss) you retain a greater energy value to profit on. 

The best option in terms of financial benefit is synthetic fuel from the excess thermal energy. They'll catch on eventually. 

The loss in efficiency of immediately producing electricity and storing it in a battery vs. storing as heat is less than 10%. However, you aren't addressing the capital and operating costs of molten salt vs. batteries. 

The efficiency of converting electricity to heat is 100%. This begs the question, if salt storage yields much better returns then why is everyone installing batteries instead?

Hopefully their salt storage works better than it did at Crescent Dunes. 

 

Please do tell more about how synthetic fuel is the best in terms of financial benefit. 

 

 

Edited by Jay McKinsey

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