environment,energy,greenhouse,gas,carbon,dioxide,global,nuclear energy,clean energy,emissions,global climate change,environmental impacts, Nuclear Energy Can Save US: Bottlenecks to the Coming Nuclear Renaissance

Nuclear Energy Can Save US--America�s 100 nukes equal four million barrels of oil per day.

Billions of lives and civilization itself may be at risk from the Global Warming & End of Cheap Oil, Crisis. Rising sea levels and rising oil prices could be the end of civilization as we know it. The problem is so huge that the most powerful answer, many nuclear plants, must be deployed. Currently, America‘s 100 nukes deliver the energy of four million barrels of oil per day. Wind and solar cannot do the job, and may delay the real answer too long. Still, all kinds of clean energy, plus conservation, plus reducing deforestation, will be needed to help the poor half of the world, and for civilization to survive through this century.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Bottlenecks to the Coming Nuclear Renaissance

The world is ready for nuclear energy, to prevent climate change; America's NRC expects 30 applications for plant licenses within the next few years; 70 nations have announced interest in nuclear energy; a Global Nuclear Uranium Partnership is in the works; the US has let contracts to study reprocessing of spent nuke fuel (which is not waste); both China and India each seem poised to build 300, one-gig nukes during this century; and uranium mine production is rising everywhere; but can all the needed plants be built and staffed? All countries must rely on the same worldwide resources for engineers, and specialized factories.

There are at least three potential bottlenecks for deployment of enough plants to save our world economy and civilization itself--concrete, staffing and ultralarge forgings for the reactor vessels. Reactor containment structures will have to compete for concrete with the footings for millions of wind turbines. Concrete, currently in short supply, can probably ramp up. However, this will add to emissions; concrete production causes 4% of the world's CO2 right now. Nuclear staffing will be a race of long lead times for plants vs. retirement of industry old timers.

The most critical looming shortage is massive forgings for reactor vessels; and The Japan Steel Company, is the only one in the world that can do this work. Since 31 nuke plants are in the worldwide pipeline now, and Japan Steel has a 3.5 year backlog; will they be able to handle demand from 70 nations in coming decades? Last month, two American companies announced that they had placed orders for vessels even though they do not yet have licenses; a gamble they felt was necessary. Its past time, for some American company like GE, or foreign facility such as ThyssenKrupp to see the enormous business potential, and build a second plant for the world--before it is too late.


Left Atomics said...

I believe B & W is upgrading their forge in Indiana to manufacture the heavy forgings needed.

However, cleary, a move toward Molten Salt Breeding Reactors is what is needed as they don't even have to use uranium (they can use thorium instead) and because they operate at one atmosphere, they can be built much smaller with heavy casings but no pressure vessels...manufactured by almost any sheetmetal or other metal working facilities.

David Walters

shawrich said...

Thanks. This all sounds great to me. I believe that India is very interested in thorium as a reactor fuel; they also seem to have a good supply. America has some also. I will be happy to see as many new nuclear reactor designs as possible; particularly those that allow reprocessing of spent fuel to extend the uranium supply; 20 times per some reports.