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Nuclear Fission

Nuclear Fission

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Nuclear Fission

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  1. Nuclear Fission Hillary Call

  2. Outline • Benefits of Nuclear Energy • How Fission Works • Nuclear Power Plant Basics • Overview of Uranium Fuel Cycle • Energy Lifecycle of Nuclear Power • Generation IV Reactors • Technical Challenges • Conclusions

  3. Benefits of Nuclear Energy • Continuous, reliable supply of energy • Well-developed technology • 12,700 reactor-years of commercial experience • Accounts for ~16% of world electricity generation • Extensive fuel supply • Breeder reactors • Fissile materials other than Uranium

  4. How Fission Works • Water or other moderator slows neutrons, thermalizing them • Thermal neutron collides with U-235 • Unstable nucleus splits in two • Energy and neutrons are released • Reaction repeats

  5. Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) A common type of Light Water Reactor (LWR) http://www.eas.asu.edu/~holbert/eee460/pwrdiag.gif

  6. Uranium Fuel Cycle http://www.arevaresources.com/nuclear_energy/datagb/cycle/cyclerep.gif

  7. Energy Lifecycle of Nuclear Power Based on 3090 MW Forsmark plant operating for 40 years. http://nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/TheScienceOfNuclearPower

  8. Challenges • Radioactive waste storage/disposal • Yucca Mountain • Reprocess spent fuel • Safety • Only fatalities from commercial nuclear power plant occurred at Chernobyl • Must overcome public fear

  9. Generation IV Reactors http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf77.html * high = 7-15 Mpa+ = with some U-235 or Pu-239** 'battery' model with long cassette core life (15-20 yr) or replaceable reactor module

  10. Fast Breeder Reactors • U-238 captures a neutron and transmutes to Pu-239 • Pu-239 is fissile like U-235 • Increases efficiency of uranium use >50x • Could use up depleted uranium stockpiles & plutonium from dismantled weapons http://www.atomeromu.hu/mukodes/tipusok/gyorsreak-e.htm

  11. Fast Breeder Reactors • 290 reactor-years of commercial experience • Monju (Japan) and Superphenix (France) • Not economically practical • More costly to construct • More difficult to operate • Proliferation dangers associated with plutonium

  12. Conclusions • Nuclear fission is a viable energy source • It cuts down on CO2 emissions, improving air quality • New designs have made nuclear power safer and more economically feasible • Issue of radioactive waste will need to be addressed