Evolutionary Nuclear Fuel May Extend Safe Lifetimes of Existing Nuclear Reactors by Decades
The fuel rods made by Lightbridge differ from today’s in several ways. Rather than a ceramic oxide of uranium, they’re made of a uranium-zirconium alloy that transports heat more easily. And rather than a tube that contains cylindrical uranium pellets, each one is a single piece of metal, ridged like a piece of licorice and spiraling in a helix. This shape allows more water to flow across the rod’s surface, transferring more heat and thus increasing electricity generation. The bigger surface area also increases the safety margin of the reactor core, allowing the rods to sustain nuclear reactions at much lower temperatures: their internal temperature during operation is around 360 °C, nearly 900 degrees cooler than conventional rods. __ MIT Tech Review
This is a stop-gap approach to manage and extend the lives of existing nuclear reactors, until newer generations of safer, cleaner, more efficient, more scalable, more affordable, and more fool-proof reactors can be built, installed, and connected to power grids and process heat markets.
According to the article above, some developers of advanced liquid-fuel reactors appear threatened by Lightbridge’s stop-gap approach to extending the lives of old reactors using innovative new fuels. But. such a reaction is misplaced. It will take between 10 and 20 years for advanced new-gen reactors to be perfected, approved, built, and put in place. Perhaps longer, thanks to energy Luddites such as Obama, Hollande, Germany’s greens, and others.
Unreliable intermittent sources of low-quality energy — such as big wind and big solar — cannot replace current nuclear plants that are nearing the end of their conventional lifespan. No amount of wishful thinking or a cult-like belief in “clean green” can overturn the reality of power grid load leveling and power quality maintenance.
Simulating Nuclear Reactor Operation
The nuclear reactor simulators below can teach the fundamentals of nuclear power.
Nuclear Reactor Simulator Downloads:
More complex boiling water reactor nuclear simulator for download. Caution: Always scan application downloads for viruses before installing. Use discretion when choosing download sites.