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nuclear thermal efficiency

Page history last edited by Andrew Alder 1 year, 3 months ago

A page of energy issues with perhaps a good idea

 

The quest for thermal efficiency in nuclear power has been rather quixotic.

 

Probably the biggest failure so far is the AGR. Britain should have just built more MAGNOX reactors. Hindsight is cheap and wonderful but not always useful.

 

But at least the AGRs haven't blown up or killed people. Another way of improving the thermal efficiency is to do without the heat exchangers. Put the primary coolant through the turbines, as is done with the BWR, was done with the RBMK, and was proposed with the SGHWR.  

 

I have never liked the BWR or the RBMK, and that was even before Chernobyl and Fukushima, and before I realised that SL-1 was a BWR (the only BWR of the US Army Nuclear Power Program, whose little PWRs by way of contrast all worked quite well, I guess these days they'd be called SMRs). Some nukes are better than others.

 

But I have two questions.

 

One is, who really cares about thermal efficiency when the fuel is so cheap anyway?

 

And the other is, why not use a superheater?

 

It has been tried at least three times, once in Germany using oil firing, and twice in the in the USA, in the BORAX-V experiment and at Indian Point #1.

 

The obvious fuel for such a superheater is natural gas. Not carbon-neutral, but at least better than burning the stuff in a natural gas plant, surely?

 

I'll answer my own question. This is politically impossible. Those who like natural gas want natural gas plants. Those who like nukes want nukes, The hybrid has no obvious support base at all. 

 

See also (if you haven't followed the links above)

 

 

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