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GE and Hitachi plan new reactor to burn UK plutonium stockpile

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posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:06 AM
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GE and Hitachi plan new reactor to burn UK plutonium stockpile


www.guardian.co.uk

General Electric set out proposals on Wednesday to build a new nuclear reactor at Sellafield that would convert the UK's stockpile of radioactive plutonium into electricity.

The multibillion pound project would take plutonium – the residue from the UK's nuclear power plants – and use it as fuel for a 600MW reactor that could provide power for 750,000 homes, according to GE Hitachi.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
en.wikipedia.org
bravenewclimate.com

Related AboveTopSecret.com Discussion Threads:
Use Nuclear 'Waste' as Fuel with the Ultimate Nuclear Reactor




posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:06 AM
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Too much doom and gloom on ATS. Here's some good news.

Summary:
1. This design could destroy existing nuclear waste reducing the long-term radiotoxicity of existing nuclear waste by many orders of magnitude.
2. No mining is required for hundreds of years as existing waste is used as fuel.
3. Generates enormous amounts (600 megwatts (!)) of electricity while destroying waste that currently costs 2 billion pounds per year to maintain.
4. It is very safe by the use of natural air circulation for cooling, rather than active electrical system.
5. In many ways this technology is very similar to the Thorium concept we have been hearing about.

I actually created a thread on this technology previous, it's in the related discussion links.

Only one thing left to do. Build it.

www.guardian.co.uk
(visit the link for the full news article)
edit on 1/12/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)

edit on 1/12/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:08 AM
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Sounds like a great plan as my understanding is that the UK has one of the largest stock piles of this waste..

thumbs up from me
and thanks for sharing



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:11 AM
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reply to post by C0bzz
 


Thank you for posting this. We have specialised for years in taking other countries' nuclear waste so a plan to put actually put it to use is a good thing.

Still, it would be nice if we could use thorium reactors instead.



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:17 AM
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Great idea, now to just wait and see if this will make the electric bill affordable.



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:21 AM
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Originally posted by Trolloks
Great idea, now to just wait and see if this will make the electric bill affordable.


Don't be daft, the wrong kind of rain will mean that the water used for cooling was more expensive or some other weak excuse will see prices go up, not down!



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:21 AM
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no chance.

The energy companies here in the UK have 'got used' to ripping us off now and will continue to do so until the energy regulator grows a pair and tells them what to do (which wont happen).



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:22 AM
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*in need of a sarcastic font


2nd



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:23 AM
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Originally posted by diddy1234
no chance.

The energy companies here in the UK have 'got used' to ripping us off now and will continue to do so until the energy regulator grows a pair and tells them what to do (which wont happen).


Energy is essentially a matter of economic, human health, and environmental importance. If the energy companies don't wish to build it then get the government to make them.



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:30 AM
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reply to post by Flavian
 


Wrong type of leaves in the reactor. lol
(In reference to the train companies excuses)
here



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:46 AM
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If you have a reactor design that needs little or no cooling in a scram you could put then in areas where water is less available.

In the US we have just such a area that is also a high security area. plus its already contaminated.
This is the atomic test site in Nevada. that is going to waste now that we have ended bomb testing.

Why would they need water for steam to power the turbines.
some geothermal power plants use refrigerant as a operating fluid.
www.yourownpower.com...
www.yourownpower.com...
www.kgraenergy.com...

No water means safer operation with liquid sodium.

It also means you can run the reactor at lower temperatures so if you have a scram the natural cooling is even more efficient
edit on 1-12-2011 by ANNED because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 08:49 AM
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reply to post by ANNED
 


PRISM has an intermediate sodium loop to keep the reactor and its coolant away from the water that spins through the turbines. If a different coolant was used, like a gas, then perhaps this intermediate loop could be deleted. Would save on costs a fair bit too.
edit on 1/12/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 09:06 AM
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reply to post by diddy1234
 


The market is distorted, as "suppliers" (as in the companies you and I deal with) "buy" their electricity off "providers" which are part of the same company, effectively allowing them to rig the market.

There is an element of free market economics in the system with the Grid being the middle man and buying whomever sells it cheapest for onward transmission, but even within that, there is a transportation charge which varies depending on where the generator is. Companies pay less access fees to the Grid if the generator is closer to an urban centre, meaning cheaper, renewable energy sources, such as Wind and Tidal out in the sticks, off the coast or up in the Highlands is more expensive only by virtue of these access charges.

But, we can thank the EU for all this mess, it's their regulation that made it happen. Had we stuck with the state owned model we had back in the day, we could control prices and, if needs must, absorb price rises as the company would not be beholden to shareholders, so making a profit wouldn't be necessary. Despite being a "conservative" and a firm believer in free markets, I think there are some things that should be run by the state and not profitted off by private firms, such as Power, Water and Health.



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 09:10 AM
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As for the OP....

Seems like a great plan to use up the waste, but the same question hangs over it as every other power generator, namely, is this going to cost us or actually provide cheap power?



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 09:42 AM
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using depleted uranium is much safer compared to using plutonium.Fukushima had large amounts of plutonium and look what happened to the northern hemisphere.Plutonium is a fuel which should be preferably avoided.Depleted uranium and thorium in terms of fission are the way to go.


edit on 1-12-2011 by USAisdevil because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 1 2011 @ 10:21 AM
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Plutonium has a half life of 24,100 years that means you could still make weapons from it for over 200,000 years.

I would far rather see it burned up and gone forever.

This reactor and a few others does that and then it can never be made into weapons.



posted on Dec, 3 2011 @ 01:24 AM
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More information here:


Prism proposed for UK plutonium disposal

The proposal comes as the UK government consults on ways to manage its stockpile of uranium. The country is currently storing about 112 tonnes of civil separated plutonium at Sellafield, including some 28 tonnes of material belonging to overseas customers. The plutonium stored in the UK has been derived largely from nuclear fuel reprocessing activities that have been ongoing at Sellafield since the 1950s.

GEH has now suggested to the UK government that a plant comprising two 311 MWe Prism (Power Reactor Innovative Small Module) units should be built at Sellafield. The pool-type modules, built below ground level, contain the complete primary system with sodium coolant. These units would irradiate fuel made from the plutonium stored at the site. This fuel would consist of a mix of metal plutonium and depleted uranium. After 45-90 days of irradiation, GEH said that the fuel would be brought up to 'spent fuel standard' of radioactivity, after which is could be stored in air-cooled silos. It would then be suitable for disposal alongside the UK’s other high-level forms of radioactive waste.

According to GEH, the UK's entire plutonium stockpile could be irradiated in such a plant within five years, during which time the plant could also generate some electricity. Once all the stockpile of plutonium has been irradiated, the Prism plant could then start re-using the fuel solely for electricity generation. Fuel stays in the Prism reactor for about six years, with one-third removed every two years. The plant could operate for up to 60 years. Although used Prism fuel can be recycled after removal of fission products, GEH's proposal does not include a reprocessing plant at Sellafield, although one could be added later.

GEH anticipates the cost of the Sellafield plant would be comparable to that of a large conventional reactor. The company said that it has started to develop a supply chain in the UK to support its proposal.

www.world-nuclear-news.org...

edit on 3/12/11 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2011 @ 11:40 PM
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We need to talk about Sellafield, and a nuclear solution that ticks all our boxes

There are reactors which can convert radioactive waste to energy. Greens should look to science, rather than superstition

Let me begin with the context. Like other countries suffering from the idiotic short-termism of the early nuclear power industry, the UK faces a massive bill for the storage and disposal of radioactive waste. The same goes for the waste produced by nuclear weapons manufacturing. But is this really waste, or could we see it another way?

Conventional nuclear power uses just 0.6% of the energy contained in the uranium that fuels it. Integral fast reactors can use almost all the rest. There is already enough nuclear waste on earth to meet the world's energy needs for several hundred years, with scarcely any carbon emissions. IFRs need be loaded with fissile material just once. From then on they can keep recycling it, extracting ever more of its energy, until a small fraction of the waste remains. Its components have half-lives of tens, rather than millions, of years. This makes them more dangerous in the short term but much easier to manage in the long term. When the hot waste has been used up, the IFRs can be loaded with depleted uranium (U-238), of which the world has a massive stockpile.

But there's a better demonstration that it's good to go: last week GE Hitachi (GEH) told the British government that it could build a fast reactor within five years to use up the waste plutonium at Sellafield, and if it doesn't work, the UK won't have to pay. A fast reactor has been running in Russia for 30 years, and similar plants are now being built in China and India. GEH's proposed PRISM reactor uses the same generating technology as the IFR, though the current proposal doesn't include the reprocessing plant. It should.

If the government does not accept GEH's offer, it will, as the energy department revealed on Thursday, handle the waste through mixed oxide processing (mox) instead. This will produce a fuel hardly anyone wants while generating more waste plutonium than we possess already. It will raise the total energy the industry harvests from 0.6% to 0.8%.

www.guardian.co.uk...



Don't build MOX recycling plants. Build the IFR.



posted on Jan, 25 2012 @ 11:22 AM
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Update:


UK NDA still considering GE-Hitachi fast reactors at Sellafield for plutonium disposition

He said the NDA was prepared to provide financial support to develop the proposals if ongoing discussions demonstrate promise.

The GE-Hitachi proposals involve burning the UK’s plutonium stockpiles in the Power Reactor Innovative Small Module (Prism) fast reactors.

The burned plutonium fuel would reach IAEA spent fuel standards of radioactivity in as little as a few months, according to GEH, and could then be stored for recycling or burial.

The Prism reactors could also be used to generate electricity, and therefore income, for the NDA, under the proposal.

“The information used in this (Guardian) story is out of date and misleading to readers,” a GEH spokesman said January 24 in an emailed statement to i-NUCLEAR. He said Prism was only launched on the 30th November last year and that until that time “only very limited formal information was provided by GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy to any external parties, including the NDA, on the technology and its benefits,” the spokesman said.

GEH’s proposal represents an alternative to the government’s preferred option announced in December of using the plutonium in mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel to be used in commercially available light water reactors.

The Prism reactor remains a prototype, although the US NRC has issued a preliminary safety evaluation report on the design.

Hamilton said the NDA has not rejected nor ruled out the GEH proposal. If the proposal would turn out to be potentially advantageous to the NDA, it would consider contributing money to advance the proposals, Hamilton said.

“At the moment there has been no contractualisation,” he said.

www.i-nuclear.com...



posted on Feb, 3 2012 @ 12:37 AM
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Update:


A generation of "fast" nuclear reactors could consume Britain's radioactive waste stockpile as fuel, providing enough low-carbon electricity to power the country for more than 500 years, according to figures confirmed by the chief scientific adviser to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc).

Britain's large stockpile of nuclear waste includes more than 100 tonnes of plutonium and 35,000 tonnes of depleted uranium. The plutonium in particular presents a security risk as a potential target for terrorists and will cost billions to dispose of safely. The government is currently considering options for disposing of or managing it.


www.guardian.co.uk...




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