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Research Papers

Nuclear Power as a Basis for Future Electricity Generation OPEN ACCESS

[+] Author and Article Information
I. Pioro

Faculty of Energy Systems and Nuclear Science, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, 2000 Simcoe Street North, ON L1H 7K4, Canada e-mail: Igor.Pioro@uoit.ca

R. Duffey

DSM Associates Inc., PO 125, 3270 E.17th Street, Ammon, ID 83406 e-mail: duffeyrb@gmail.com

Manuscript received September 14, 2014; final manuscript received October 16, 2014; published online February 9, 2015. Assoc. Editor: Leon Cizelj.

ASME J of Nuclear Rad Sci 1(1), 011001 (Feb 09, 2015) (19 pages) Paper No: NERS-14-1041; doi: 10.1115/1.4029420 History: Received September 14, 2014; Accepted December 17, 2014; Online February 09, 2015

It is well known that electrical power generation is the key factor for advances in industry, agriculture, technology, and standards of living. Also, a strong power industry with diverse energy sources is very important for a nation’s independence. In general, electrical energy can be generated from (1) burning mined and refined energy sources such as coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear; and (2) harnessing energy sources such as hydro, biomass, wind, geothermal, solar, and wave power. Today, the main sources for electrical energy generation are (1) thermal power, primarily using coal and secondarily natural gas; (2) “large” hydraulic power from dams and rivers; and (3) nuclear power from various reactor designs. The balance of the energy sources is from using oil, biomass, wind, geothermal, and solar, which have a visible impact just in some countries. This paper presents the current status and role of the nuclear-power industry in the world with a comparison of nuclear-energy systems to other energy systems.

The ASME has a long-standing and excellent effort in energy systems and a technical interest in publishing and critiquing power-plant information on an impartial basis. It is in this tradition that this paper is written with special focus on the role of nuclear energy in global electrical-energy supply.

It is well known that electric-power generation usage is the key factor for advances in industry, agriculture, and the socioeconomic level of living (see Table 1 and Fig. 1) [1,2]. Also, a strong power industry with diverse energy sources is very important for a country’s independence. In general, electrical energy (see Fig. 2) can be generated by (1) burning mined and refined energy sources such as coal, natural gas, oil, and nuclear; and (2) harnessing energy sources such as hydro, biomass, geothermal, wind, solar, and wave power. Today, the main sources for global electrical energy-generation are:

  1. Thermal power, primarily using coal (41.0%) and secondarily natural gas (21.3%);

  2. “Large” hydraulic power from dams and rivers (15.9%); and

  3. Nuclear power from various reactor designs (13.5%).

The remaining 8.3% of the electrical energy is generated using oil (5.5%), biomass (1.3%), wind (1.1%), geothermal (0.3%), and solar energy (0.06%) in specific countries. In addition, energy sources, such as wind (see Fig. 3) and solar (see Fig. 4) and some others, like wave power, are intermittent depending on natural circumstances.

Table 2 lists the top 11 largest power plants in the world, and Table 3 lists the largest power plants in the world by energy source. Figures 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, and 12 show photos of selected power plants around the world, mainly hydro and renewable energy power plants. Figures 7 and 10 show maps of wind speed and annual average direct normal solar-resource-data distributions over the U.S. Thermal and nuclear power plants (NPPs) are discussed in Sections 1, 2, and 3, respectively. It should be noted that the following two parameters are important characteristics of any power plant: (1) overall (gross) or net efficiency1 of a plant; and (2) capacity factor2 of a plant. Some power plant efficiencies are listed in the captions to figures, as also will be discussed in Sections 1–3 for thermal and NPPs. The average capacity factors of power plants are listed in Tables 2 and 4.

Usually, thermal and NPPs operate semicontinuously because of a high capital cost and low operating costs. The relative costs of electrical energy generated by any system are not only dependent on building capital costs and operating expenses, but also on the capacity factor. The higher the capacity factor is the better, as generating costs fall proportionally. However, some renewable energy sources, with the exception of large hydroelectric power plants, can have significantly lower capacity factors compared to those of thermal and NPPs. Consequently, in today’s politico-socio-economic world, many governments subsidize selected low capacity-factor sources, like wind and solar, using preferential rates, enforced portfolios, artificial tariffs, market rules, and power-purchase agreements to partly offset the competitive advantage of lower cost generation from natural gas, coal, and nuclear. It is against the market background, of low-cost natural gas and of directly or indirectly subsidized alternates, that today’s and tomorrow’s NPPs must operate.

One example of how the various energy sources generate electricity in a grid can be illustrated based on the Province of Ontario (Canada) system. Figure 13 shows (a) installed capacity and (b) electricity generation by energy source in Ontario (Canada); and Fig. 14 shows power generated by various energy sources and their capacities (June, 2012). Analysis of Fig. 13(a) shows that, in Ontario, major installed capacities are nuclear (34%), gas (26%), hydro (22%), coal (8%), and renewables (mainly wind) (8%). However, electricity (see Fig. 13(b)) is mainly generated by nuclear (56%), hydro (22%), natural gas (10%), renewables (mainly wind) (5%), and coal (2%).

Figure 14 shows power generated by various energy sources in Ontario (Canada) on June 19, 2012 (a peak power hot summer day, when major air-conditioning was required) and corresponding to that shows capacity factors of various energy sources. Analysis of Fig. 14 shows that electricity that day from 12 a.m. until 3 a.m. was mainly generated by nuclear, hydro, gas, wind, “other,” and coal. After 3 a.m., wind power fell due to Mother Nature, but electricity consumption started to rise. Therefore, “fast-response” gas-fired power plants and later, hydro and coal-fired power plants plus “other” power plants started to increase electricity generation to compensate for both decreasing in wind power and increasing demand for electricity. After 6 p.m., energy consumption slightly dropped in the province, and at the same time, wind power started to be increased by Mother Nature. Therefore, gas-fired, hydro, and “other” power plants decreased energy generation accordingly (“other” plants dropped power quite abruptly, but their role in the total energy generation is very small). After 10 p.m., energy consumption started to drop even more. Therefore, coal-fired power plants with the most emissions decreased their electricity generation abruptly followed by gas-fired and hydro plants.

This example clearly shows that any grid that includes NPPs and/or renewable energy sources must also include “fast-response” power plants such as gas- and coal-fired and/or large hydropower plants. This is due not only to diurnal and seasonal peaking of demand, but also the diurnal and seasonal variability of supply. Thus, for any given market, the generating mix and the demand cycles must be matched 24/7/365, independent of what sources are used, and this requires flexible control and an appropriate mix of base-load and peaking plants.

In general, all thermal power plants [2,6] are based on one of the following thermodynamic cycles.

  1. Rankine steam-turbine cycle (the mostly widely used in various power plants; usually, for solid, gaseous, and liquid fuels, but other energy sources can be also used, e.g., geothermal, solar, etc.);

  2. Brayton gas-turbine cycle (the second one after the Rankine cycle in terms of application in power industry; only for clean gaseous fuels);

  3. Combined cycle, i.e., combination of Brayton and Rankine cycles in one plant (only for gaseous fuels);

  4. Diesel internal-combustion-engine cycle (for Diesel fuel used in Diesel generators); and

  5. Otto internal-combustion-engine cycle (usually, for natural or liquefied gas, but also gasoline can be used for power generation; however, it is more expensive fuel compared to gaseous fuels and also used in internal-combustion-engine generators).

The major driving force for all advances in thermal power plants is directed toward increasing thermal efficiency in order to reduce operating fuel costs and minimize specific emissions. Typical ranges of thermal efficiencies of modern thermal power plants are listed in Table 5 for reference purposes and can reach 62% in the combined-cycle mode.

Despite the advances in thermal power plants’ design and operation worldwide, they are still considered as not of minimum environmental impact due to significant carbon dioxide emissions3 and air pollution as a result of the combustion process. In addition, coal-fired power plants also produce virtual mountains of slag and ash, and other gas emissions may contribute to acid rains.

Although nuclear power is often considered to be a nonrenewable-energy source as the fossil fuels, like coal and gas, nuclear resources can be used for significantly longer or even indefinite time than some fossil fuels, especially, if recycling of unused uranium fuel, and thoria-fuel resources and fast reactors are to used. Major advantages of nuclear power are as follows:

  1. High-capacity factors are achievable, often in excess of 90% with long operating cycles, making the units suitable for semicontinuous base-load operation, alongside intermittent windmills backed by gas peaking plants.

  2. Essentially negligible operating emissions of carbon dioxide into atmosphere compared to alternate thermal plants.

  3. Relatively small amount of fuel required (e.g., a 500-MWel coal-fired supercritical-pressure power plant requires 1.8 million ton of coal annually, but a fuel load into 1300-MWel PWR is 115 ton (3.2% enrichment) or 1330-MWel BWR at 170 ton (1.9% enrichment)). Therefore, this source of energy is considered as the most viable one for electrical generation for the next 50–100 years.

In spite of all current advances in nuclear power, NPPs have the following deficiencies: (1) they generate radioactive wastes; (2) they have relatively low thermal efficiencies, especially water-cooled NPPs (up to 1.6 times lower than that for modern advanced thermal power plants (see Tables 5 and 6)); (3) there is a risk of radiation release during severe accidents; and (4) the production of nuclear fuel is not an environmentally friendly process. Therefore, all these deficiencies should be addressed.

First success of using nuclear power for electrical generation [2,9] was achieved in several countries within 1950s, and currently, Generations II and III nuclear power reactors are operating around the world (see Tables 6 and 7, Figs. 15 and 16). In general, definitions of nuclear reactors’ generations are as follows: (1) Generation-I (1950–1965) were early prototypes of nuclear reactors; (2) Generation-II (1965–1995) are commercial power reactors; (3) Generation-III (1995–2010) are modern reactors (water-cooled NPPs with thermal efficiencies within 30–36%; carbon dioxide-cooled NPPs with thermal efficiencies up to 42% and liquid sodium-cooled NPP with the thermal efficiency up to 40%) and Generation-III+ (2010–2025) are reactors with improved parameters (evolutionary design improvements) (water-cooled NPPs with thermal efficiencies up to 36–38%) (see Table 8); and (4) Generation-IV (2025–…) (see Section 3) [2,10] are reactors in principle with new parameters (NPPs with thermal efficiencies within 40–50% and even higher for some types of reactors).

Currently, 31 countries in the world have operating nuclear-power reactors [7] (for details see, Tables 7–9 and A2 in Appendix). Analysis of the data listed in Table A2 shows that 15 countries plan to build new reactors; 16 countries do not plan to build new reactors; and 4 countries without reactors (Bangladesh, Belarus, Turkey, and United Arab Emirates (UAE)) work toward introducing nuclear energy on their soils.

An important question for widespread use of nuclear-based electrical energy generation is the safety of reactors. Table 10 lists selected accidents with casualties in power and chemical industries, transportation, and from firearms. Analysis of data in Table 10 clearly shows that the major cause of huge number of deaths in the world is car accidents, which are apparently deemed socially acceptable, because of the necessity for rapid, convenient transport. Nevertheless, the international nuclear and political communities have to do everything possible and impossible to prevent any future severe accidents at NPPs with radiation release and other consequences.

The three key challenges to new nuclear energy today are

  1. Competing with low-cost generating options, especially, natural gas and subsidized wind power;

  2. Improving safety, so that even the threat of uncontrolled releases and consequent public fear and evacuation is avoided; and

  3. Ensuring more sustainable fuel cycles, to make better use of existing natural resources, and reduced waste streams.

This recently developed oil- and gas-production method from the pressurized fracturing and cracking of underground shale formations (called “fracking”) has transformed the global-energy scene. The traditional use of energy as a political and financial tool, as shown by Europe’s dependency on imported gas, and a high global dependency on oil from the Middle East. This is coupled to the measures being considered, which are designed to place a price on carbon in the EU and to restrict future carbon dioxide and other emissions.

The demand for clean, nonfossil-based electricity is growing. Therefore, the world needs to develop new nuclear reactors with inherent safety and higher thermal efficiencies in order to increase electricity generation per kilogram of fuel and decrease detrimental effects on the environment. The current fleet of NPPs is classified as Generation-II and III (just a limited number of Generation-III+ reactors (mainly, advanced boiling water reactors (ABWRs)) operate in some countries). However, all these designs (here we are talking about only water-cooled power reactors) are not as energy efficient as they should be, because their operating temperatures are relatively low, i.e., below 350°C for a reactor coolant and even lower for steam in the power-conversion cycle.

One development that is being funded by the U.S. and in other countries, such as Russia, is an attempt to adapt current water-reactor technology to smaller units, in so-called small and medium-sized reactors (SMRs) or even having floating units (for example, KLT-40S, ROSATOM, Russia) (the latter are considered small modular reactors (SMRs)). Here, the emphasis is on factory-built “modules” of smaller size and output, with a series built of multiple units. This approach avoids a large initial capital outlay and can fit locations with a smaller grid or which are more remote. Despite decreasing thermal efficiency, and a potentially higher cost per unit output, some designs like the NuScale concept have indefinite cooling capability using natural circulation assuming a leak-tight system. These concepts use conventional once-through fuel cycles and offer the promise of deployment in regions where larger units just do not fit well, or where multiple builds can be spread over time.

Currently, a group of countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, European Union, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, have initiated an international collaboration to develop the next generation nuclear reactors (Generation-IV reactors) [2,10]. This was in recognition of the need for international collaboration at the precommercial phase and is intended for market deployment over a longer time frame after planned cooperative development. The ultimate goal of developing such reactors is to meet three challenges, with an increase in thermal efficiencies of NPPs from 30–36% to 45–50% and even higher (see Table 11). This increase in thermal efficiency would result in a higher generation of electricity compared to current light water reactor (LWR) technologies per 1 kg of uranium.

The Generation-IV International Forum (GIF) Program has narrowed design options of nuclear reactors to six concepts [2,10]. These concepts are as follows:

  1. Gas-cooled fast reactor (GFR) or just high-temperature reactor (HTR),

  2. Very high temperature reactor (VHTR),

  3. Sodium-cooled fast reactor (SFR),

  4. Lead-cooled fast reactor (LFR),

  5. Molten salt reactor (MSR), and

  6. Supercritical water-cooled reactor (SCWR) [17-20].

Currently, from all six concepts of Generation-IV reactors, only an SFR is in operation in Russia (BN-600). The next concept, which will be possibly put into operation in Russia, is an LFR (Brest-300) [2,10]. In general, we need to have a bright future for the most “popular” reactors, i.e., water-cooled ones, which are 96% of the total number of operating power reactors in the world. Therefore, an SCWR concept [17,18] looks quite attractive as the Generation-IV water-cooled reactor with high thermal efficiency. This concept is based on materials and technology and direct-cycle turbines already developed and deployed worldwide for supercritical pressure coal-fixed power plants, which have extended their efficiencies using higher temperatures and pressures in order to improve costs and reduce specific emissions. However, more research is required, especially, in material science to define candidate materials for reactor-core elements, which will be subjected to very aggressive medium such as supercritical water, high pressures and temperatures, and high neutron flux.

The intent of all the newer concepts is to have a recyclable fuel, and often to extend the resource use to include thorium-based cycles.

The basis for nuclear energy for future electric power generation must take into account the key influences of the global, political, financial, and social pressures in the evolving energy marketplace. The competitive pressures and political factors are likely to dominate the future usage and deployment, including national attitudes too, and international issues arising from energy security and climate change.

  1. The major advantages of nuclear power are well known, including cheap reliable base-load power, high capacity factor, and low emissions and minor environmental impact. But these factors are offset today by a competitive disadvantage with natural gas, and the occurrence of three significant nuclear accidents (Fukushima, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island), which caused significant social disruption and the high capital costs.

  2. Major sources for electrical energy production in the world today are

    • Thermal, primarily coal (41%) and secondarily natural gas (21%) (also, oil is used (5.5%));

    • “Large” hydro (16%); and

    • Nuclear (14%).

    Other energy sources have visible impact just in some countries, especially where there are government incentives for wind- and solar-power portfolios with electricity prices guaranteed by legislation and power-purchase contracts.

  3. The attractive renewable-energy sources, such as wind, solar, and tidal, are not really reliable as full time 24/7/365 sources for industrial power generation. Therefore, a grid must also include “fast-response” power plants such as gas- and coal-fired and/or large hydropower plants.

  4. In general, the major driving force for all advances in thermal and NPPs is thermal efficiency and generating costs. Ranges of gross thermal efficiencies of modern power plants are as the following: (1) combined-cycle thermal power plants—up to 62%; (2) supercritical-pressure coal-fired thermal power plants—up to 55%; (3) carbon dioxide-cooled reactor NPPs—up to 42%; (4) sodium-cooled fast reactor NPP—up to 40%; (5) subcritical-pressure coal-fired thermal power plants—up to 40%; and (6) modern water-cooled reactors—30–36%.

  5. In spite of advances in the design and operation of coal-fired thermal power plants worldwide, they are still considered as not particularly environmentally friendly due to producing gaseous carbon dioxide emissions as a result of combustion process, plus significant tailings of slag and ash. Recently, legislated measures have been proposed to limit such emissions, going beyond voluntary and regional emission credits and allowable portfolios.

  6. Combined-cycle thermal power plants with natural-gas fuel are considered as relatively clean fossil-fuel-fired plants compared to coal and oil power plants, and are dominating new capacity additions, because of lower gas-production costs using “fracking” technology, but still emit carbon dioxide due to the combustion process.

  7. Nuclear power is, in general, a nonrenewable energy source as the fossil fuels unless fuel recycling is adopted, which means that nuclear resources can be used significantly longer than some fossil fuels, plus nuclear power does not emit carbon dioxide into atmosphere. Currently, this source of energy is considered as the most viable one for base-load electrical generation for the next 50–100 years.

  8. However, all current and oncoming Generation-III+ NPPs are not very competitive with modern thermal power plants in terms of thermal efficiency; the difference in values of thermal efficiencies between thermal and NPPs can be up to 20–25% with NPPs having higher generating cost and construction times than natural-gas turbines.

  9. Therefore, enhancements are needed beyond the current builds, which are now mainly in Asia, to compete in the future marketplace, especially without government subsidies or power price guarantees. New generation (Generation-IV) NPPs must have thermal efficiencies close to those of modern thermal power plants, i.e., within a range of at least 40–50%, and improved safety measures and designs in order to be built in the nearest future.

The authors would like to express their great appreciation to unidentified authors of Wikipedia-website articles and authors of photos from the Wikimedia-Commons website for their materials used in this paper. Materials and illustrations provided by various companies and used in this paper are gratefully acknowledged. Also, technical support from K. Krasnozhen, A. Dragunov, and N. Kozioura during the preparation of this paper is very much appreciated.

  • P =

    pressure, MPa

  • T =

    temperature, °C

  •  Subscripts

     

    • cr =

      critical

    • el =

      electrical

    • in =

      inlet

    • max =

      maximum

    • out =

      outlet

    • th =

      thermal

     Abbreviations

     

    • ABWR =

      advanced boiling water reactor

    • AECL =

      Atomic Energy of Canada Limited

    • AGR =

      advanced gas-cooled reactor

    • ann. =

      annual

    • av. =

      average

    • BN =

      fast neutrons (reactor) (in Russian abbreviation)

    • BWR =

      boiling water reactor

    • CANDU =

      Canada deuterium uranium

    • CAR =

      Central African Republic

    • DR =

      Democratic Republic

    • EGP =

      power heterogeneous loop reactor (in Russian abbreviations)

    • el. =

      electrical

    • eff. =

      efficiency

    • EU =

      European Union

    • GCR =

      gas-cooled reactor

    • GE =

      General Electric

    • gen. =

      generation

    • HDI =

      human development index

    • LFR =

      lead-cooled fast reactor

    • LGR =

      light-water graphite-moderated reactor

    • LMFBR =

      liquid-metal fast-breeder reactor

    • LNG =

      liquefied natural gas

    • LWR =

      light-water reactor

    • MHI =

      Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

    • NPP =

      nuclear power plant

    • PHWR =

      pressurized heavy-water reactor

    • PV =

      photo voltaic

    • PWR =

      pressurized water reactor

    • RBMK =

      reactor of large capacity channel type (in Russian abbreviations)

    • Rep. =

      Republic

    • S =

      South

    • SCWR =

      supercritical water reactor

    • SFR =

      sodium fast reactor

    • SMR =

      small modular reactor (use in U.S.)

    • SMRs =

      small and medium-sized reactors

    • UAE =

      United Arab Emirates

    • UK =

      United Kingdom

    • VVER =

      water-water power reactor (in Russian abbreviation)

Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Current Status of Electricity Generation in the World,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 783–795, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/783-795.pdf.
Pioro, I., 2012, “Nuclear Power as a Basis for Future Electricity Production in the World,” Current Research in Nuclear Reactor Technology in Brazil and Worldwide, A. Z. Mesquita and H. C. Rezende, eds., INTECH, Rijeka, Croatia, pp. 211–250, http://www.intechopen.com/books/current-research-in-nuclear-reactor-technology-in-brazil-and-worldwide/nuclear-power-as-a-basis-for-future-electricity-production-in-the-world-generation-iii-and-iv-reacto.
Human Development Report, 2013, UN Development Programme, March 14, 216 pp.
The World Fact Book, 2013, Central Intelligence Agency, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ca.html.
U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2013, Washington, DC.
Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Current Status of Electricity Generation at Thermal Power Plants,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 796–805, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/796-805.pdf.
Nuclear News, 2014, Publication of American Nuclear Society (ANS), pp. 45–78.
Nuclear News, 2011, Publication of American Nuclear Society (ANS), pp. 45–78.
Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Current Status of Electricity Generation at Nuclear Power Plants,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 806–817, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/806-817.pdf.
Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Generation IV Nuclear Reactors as a Basis for Future Electricity Production in the World,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 818–830, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/818-830.pdf.
Dragunov, A., Saltanov, Eu., Pioro, I., Kirillov, P., and Duffey, R., 2014, “Power Cycles of Generation III and III+ Nuclear Power Plants,” Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE-22), July 7–11, Prague, Czech Republic, Paper No. 30151, 13 pp.
Dragunov, A., Saltanov, Eu., Pioro, I., Ikeda, B., Miletic, M., and Zvorykina, A., 2013, “Investigation of Thermophysical and Nuclear Properties of Prospective Coolants for Generation-IV Nuclear Reactors,” Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE-21), Chengdu, China, July 29–August 2, Paper No. 16020, 11 pp.
Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2013, World Health Organization, Luxembourg, 318 pp.
Pioro, I., 2011, “The Potential Use of Supercritical Water-Cooling in Nuclear Reactors,” Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia: Science, Technology, & Applications, S. Krivit, J. Lehr, and T. Kingery, eds., Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp. 309–347.
Pioro, I. L., and Duffey, R. B., 2007, Heat Transfer and Hydraulic Resistance at Supercritical Pressures in Power Engineering Applications, ASME Press, New York, NY, 328 pp.
Oka, Y., Koshizuka, S., Ishiwatari, Y., and Yamaji, A., 2010, Super Light Water Reactors and Super Fast Reactors, Springer, Germany, 416 pp.
Schulenberg, T., and Starflinger, J., eds., 2012, High Performance Light Water Reactor: Design and Analyses, KIT Scientific Publishing, Germany, 241 pp.
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References

Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Current Status of Electricity Generation in the World,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 783–795, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/783-795.pdf.
Pioro, I., 2012, “Nuclear Power as a Basis for Future Electricity Production in the World,” Current Research in Nuclear Reactor Technology in Brazil and Worldwide, A. Z. Mesquita and H. C. Rezende, eds., INTECH, Rijeka, Croatia, pp. 211–250, http://www.intechopen.com/books/current-research-in-nuclear-reactor-technology-in-brazil-and-worldwide/nuclear-power-as-a-basis-for-future-electricity-production-in-the-world-generation-iii-and-iv-reacto.
Human Development Report, 2013, UN Development Programme, March 14, 216 pp.
The World Fact Book, 2013, Central Intelligence Agency, https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ca.html.
U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2013, Washington, DC.
Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Current Status of Electricity Generation at Thermal Power Plants,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 796–805, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/796-805.pdf.
Nuclear News, 2014, Publication of American Nuclear Society (ANS), pp. 45–78.
Nuclear News, 2011, Publication of American Nuclear Society (ANS), pp. 45–78.
Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Current Status of Electricity Generation at Nuclear Power Plants,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 806–817, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/806-817.pdf.
Pioro, I., and Kirillov, P., 2013, “Generation IV Nuclear Reactors as a Basis for Future Electricity Production in the World,” Materials and Processes for Energy: Communicating Current Research and Technological Developments (Energy Book Series, Vol. 1), A. Méndez-Vilas, ed., Formatex Research Center, Spain, pp. 818–830, http://www.formatex.info/energymaterialsbook/book/818-830.pdf.
Dragunov, A., Saltanov, Eu., Pioro, I., Kirillov, P., and Duffey, R., 2014, “Power Cycles of Generation III and III+ Nuclear Power Plants,” Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE-22), July 7–11, Prague, Czech Republic, Paper No. 30151, 13 pp.
Dragunov, A., Saltanov, Eu., Pioro, I., Ikeda, B., Miletic, M., and Zvorykina, A., 2013, “Investigation of Thermophysical and Nuclear Properties of Prospective Coolants for Generation-IV Nuclear Reactors,” Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Nuclear Engineering (ICONE-21), Chengdu, China, July 29–August 2, Paper No. 16020, 11 pp.
Global Status Report on Road Safety, 2013, World Health Organization, Luxembourg, 318 pp.
Pioro, I., 2011, “The Potential Use of Supercritical Water-Cooling in Nuclear Reactors,” Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia: Science, Technology, & Applications, S. Krivit, J. Lehr, and T. Kingery, eds., Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp. 309–347.
Pioro, I. L., and Duffey, R. B., 2007, Heat Transfer and Hydraulic Resistance at Supercritical Pressures in Power Engineering Applications, ASME Press, New York, NY, 328 pp.
Oka, Y., Koshizuka, S., Ishiwatari, Y., and Yamaji, A., 2010, Super Light Water Reactors and Super Fast Reactors, Springer, Germany, 416 pp.
Schulenberg, T., and Starflinger, J., eds., 2012, High Performance Light Water Reactor: Design and Analyses, KIT Scientific Publishing, Germany, 241 pp.

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Effect of electrical energy consumption (EEC) on human development index (HDI) for all countries of the world (based on data from [3,4]): (a) graph with selected countries shown and (b) HDI correlation (in general, the HDI correlation might be an exponential rise to maximum (1), but based on the current data it is a straight line in regular–log coordinates)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Electricity generation by source in the world and selected countries (data from 2010 to 2013 presented here just for reference purposes) (“Electricity generation,” Wikipedia, last modified January 15, 2015, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_generation). (a) World: Population 7035 millions; EEC 19,320  TW h/year or 313  W/Capita; HDI 0.694 or HDI Rank 103. (b) China: Population 1354 millions; EEC 4693  TW h/year or 395  W/Capita; HDI 0.699 or HDI Rank 101. (c) India: Population 1210 millions; EEC 959  TW h/year or 90  W/Capita; HDI 0.554 or HDI Rank 136. (d) U.S: Population 316 million; EEC 3886  TW h/year or 1402  W/Capita; HDI 0.937 or HDI Rank 3. (e) Germany: Population 80 millions; EEC 607  TW h/year or 822  W/Capita; HDI 0.920 or HDI Rank 5. (f) UK: Population 63 millions; EEC 345  TW h/year or 622  W/Capita; HDI 0.875 or HDI Rank 26. (g) Russia: Population 143 millions; EEC 1017  TW h/year or 808  W/Capita; HDI 0.788 or HDI Rank 55. (h) Italy: Population 60 millions; EEC 310  TW h/year or 581  W/Capita; HDI 0.881 or HDI Rank 25. (i) Brazil: Population 194 millions; EEC 456  TW h/year or 268  W/Capita; HDI 0.730 or HDI Rank 85. (j) Canada: Population 33 millions; EEC 550  TW h/year or 1871  W/Capita; HDI 0.911 or HDI Rank 11. (k) Ukraine: Population 45 millions; EEC 182  TW h/year or 461  W/Capita; HDI 0.740 or HDI Rank 78. (l) France: Population 65 millions; EEC 461  TW h/year or 804  W/Capita; HDI 0.893 or HDI Rank 20

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Fig. 3

Power generated by 650-MWel wind turbines in the Western Part of Denmark (based on data from http://ele.aut.ac.ir/~wind/en/tour/grid/index.htm, accessed March 23, 2014). A summer week (6 days, i.e., various color lines) of wind-power generation is shown

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Fig. 4

Power generated by photovoltaic system in New York State (U.S.) (based on data from www.burningcutlery.com/solar). Three most sunny days are shown: February 19th; May 9th, and June 18th

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Fig. 5

Largest in the world by installed capacity (21,100-MWel; planned power 22,500  MWel) hydroelectric power plant (700  MWel×30+2×50  MWel Francis turbines) (Yangtze River, China) (Photo from Chinese National Committee on Large Dams, http://www.chincold.org.cn/dams/rootfiles/2010/07/20/1279253974143251-1279253974145520.pdf). The project costs $26 billion. Height of the gravity dam is 181 m, length is 2.335 km, top width is 40 m, base width is 115 m, flow rate=116,000  m3/s, artificial lake capacity =39.3  km3, surface area =1045  km2, length = 600 km, maximum width = 1.1 km, normal elevation = 175 m, hydraulic head = 80.6–113 m

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Fig. 10

Map of annual average direct normal solar-resource-data distribution over the U.S. (Printed with permission of the U.S. Department of Energy) (shown here just for reference purposes and as an example). In general, the amount of solar radiation that reaches any one spot on the Earth’s surface varies according to (1) geographical location; (2) time of day; (3) season; (4) local landscape; and (5) local weather

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Fig. 9

Aerial view of the first of such kind Gemasolar—a 19.9-MWel concentrated solar power plant with a 140-m high tower and molten-salt heat-storage system (Seville, Spain) (Wikipedia, 2012) (printed with permission of Torresol Energy). The plant consists of 2650 heliostats (each 120  m2 and total reflective area 304,750  m2), covers 1.95  km2 (195 ha), and produces 110  GW h annually, which equals to 30,000  tons/year carbon dioxide emission savings. This energy is enough to supply 25,000 average Spanish houses. The storage system allows the power plant to produce electricity for 15 h without sunlight (at night or on cloudy days). Capacity factor is 75%. Solar-receiver thermal power is 120  MWth, and plant thermal efficiency is about 19%. Molten salt is heated in the solar receiver from 260 to 565°C by concentrated sun light reflected from all heliostats, which follow the sun, and transfers heat in a steam generator to water as a working fluid in a subcritical-pressure Rankine-steam-power cycle

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Fig. 8

Aerial view showing portions of Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGSs) (California, U.S.) (photograph by A. Radecki, distributed under a CCBY 2.0 license). SEGS is the largest solar energy power plant in the world. SEGSs consist of nine concentrated-solar-thermal plants with 354  MWel installed capacity. The average gross solar output of SEGS is about 75  MWel (capacity factor is ∼21%). At night, turbines can be powered by combustion of natural gas. NextEra claims that the SEGSs power 232,500 homes and decrease pollution by 3,800  tons/year (if the electricity had been provided by combustion of oil). The SEGSs have 936,384 mirrors, which cover more than 6.5  km2. If the parabolic mirrors would be lined up, they will extend over 370 km. In 2002, one of the 30-MWel Kramer Junction sites required 90 million dollars to construct, and its O&M costs are about 3 million dollars per year, which are 4.6  ¢/kW h. However, with a considered lifetime of 20 years, the O&M and investments interest and depreciation triple the price to approximately 14  ¢/kW·h (Source: Wikipedia) (see annual average direct normal solar-resource-data distribution over the U.S. in Fig. 10)

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Fig. 7

Map of wind-speed distribution over the U.S. (Printed with permission of the U.S. Department of Energy) (shown here just for reference purposes and as an example). Figure shows that winds with average speed of 6  m/s and above (brown, red, and purple colors) have been uncovered only over the central part of the U.S. from north to south. However, average wind speed along the U.S. shores of Great Lakes, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and Gulf of Mexico is usually higher than 6  m/s at the height of 90 m from the sea level

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Fig. 6

Second largest in the world, 781-MWel onshore Roscoe wind-turbine power plant (Texas, U.S.) (photograph by Fredlyfish4, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license). Plant equipped with 627 turbines: 406 MHI 1-MWel; 55 Siemens 2.3-MWel; and 166 GE 1.5-MWel. The project costs more than 1 billion dollars, provides enough power for more than 250,000 average Texan homes, and covers area of nearly 400  km2, which is several times the size of Manhattan, New York, NY. In general, wind power is suitable for harvesting when an average air velocity is at least 6  m/s (21.6  km/h) (see wind-speed distribution over the U.S. in Fig. 7) (It should be noted that the latest and the largest in the world wind turbine by Alstom (6-MWel net wind turbine for the Haliade Offshore Platform has a rotor with the diameter of 150 m and tower 100-m high) can operate within the following range: from 3  m/s (10.8  km/h) and up to 25  m/s (90  km/h) (http://www.alstom.com/power/renewables/wind/turbines/).)

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Fig. 14

Power generated (a) and capacity factors (b) of various energy sources in Ontario (Canada) on June 19, 2012 (based on data from http://reports.ieso.ca/public/GenOutputCapability/) (shown here just for reference purposes)

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Fig. 13

Installed capacity (a) and electricity generation (b) by energy source in Ontario (Canada), 2012–2013 (based on data from Ontario Power Authority: http://www.powerauthority.on.ca and Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan)

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Fig. 12

Photo of a test system consisting of 40 high concentrating photovoltaic (HCPV) modules with about 34% efficiency (Siemens press photo; copyright Siemens AG, Munich/Berlin, Germany). This test system is a joint effort of Semprius (Durham, NC) and Siemens in collaboration with the Spanish Institute of Concentration Photovoltaic Systems (ISFOC) and the University of Madrid. Leading modules’ manufacturers of conventional PV technologies achieved the maximum module efficiency of about 20% with monocrystalline PV modules and about 16% with polycrystalline technology

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Fig. 11

Photo of fifth in the world 1.2-MWel concentrated photovoltaic (PV) solar-power plant (Spain) (photograph by afloresm, distributed under a CC-BY 2.0 license). The plant has 154 two-axis tracking units, consisting of 36 PV modules each, which cover area of 295,000  m2 with a total PV-surface area of 5913  m2. Plant generates 2.1 GWh annually. Conversion efficiency is 12%

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Fig. 15

Number of nuclear power reactors in the world by installed capacity as per March, 2014 [7]. For better understanding of this graph, the largest number of reactors have installed capacities within the range of 900–999  MWel

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Fig. 16

Number of nuclear power reactors of the world put into commercial operation versus years and age of operating reactors as per March, 2014 [7]. Five reactors have been put into operation in 1969, i.e., they operate for more than 45 years. It is clear from this diagram that the Chernobyl NPP accident has tremendous negative impact on nuclear power industry, which lasts for decades. And currently, we have additional negative impact of the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident

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Fig. 17

Age of nuclear power reactors in selected countries (11 nations with the largest number of reactors) as per March, 2014 [7] (shown here data on 348 reactors with the total installed capacity of 430  GWel Net) (also, for other details, see Table 8). Some symbols might represent more than one reactor, because in some cases, a number of reactors with the same installed capacity (power) have been put into commercial operation within the same year

Tables

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Table 1 Electrical energy consumption (EEC) per capita in selected countries (listed here just for reference purposes) [3,4] (Data for all countries in the world are listed in Appendix, Table A1)
Table Footer NoteaEEC(W/capita)=EEC(TWh/year)×1012365days×24hPopulation(Millions×106).
Table Footer NotebHDI—Human Development Index by United Nations (UN); HDI is a comparative measure of life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living for countries worldwide. HDI is calculated by the following formula: HDI=LEI×EI×II3, where LEI—Life Expectancy Index, EI—Education Index, and II—Income Index. It is used to distinguish whether the country is a developed, a developing or an under-developed country, and also to measure the impact of economic policies on quality of life. Countries fall into four broad human-development categories, each of which comprises 42 countries: (1) Very high—42 countries; (2) high—43; (3) medium—42; and (4) low—42 (Wikipedia, 2014).
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Table 2 Eleven top power plants of the world by installed capacity (“List of the largest power stations in the world,” Wikipedia, last modified January 6, 2015, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_power_stations_in_the_world)
Table Footer NoteaAnother 1500MWel under construction.
Table Footer NotebThe maximum number of generating units allowed to operate simultaneously cannot exceed 18 (12,600MWel).
Table Footer Notec4912MWel are operational, three units (3300MWel) have not been restarted since 2007 Chūetsu earthquake.
Table Footer NotedAnother 245MWel under construction.
Table Footer NoteeCurrently, the largest fully operating NPP in the world.
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Table 3 Largest power plants of the world (based on installed capacity) by energy source (“List of the largest power stations in the world,” Wikipedia, last modified January 6, 2015, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_power_stations_in_the_world.)
Table Footer NoteaIt should be noted that, actually, some thermal power plants use multifuel options, e.g., Surgut-2 (15% natural gas), Shatura (peat—11.5%, natural gas—78%, fuel oil—6.8%, and coal—3.7%), Alholmens Kraft (primary fuel—biomass, secondary—peat, and tertiary—coal) power plants.
Table Footer NotebPV, photovoltaic.
Table Footer NotecCurrently, not in operation anymore.
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Table 4 Average (typical) capacity factors of various power plants (listed here just for reference purposes) (partially based on [5])
Table Footer NoteaCapacity factors depend significantly on a design, size, and location (water availability) of a hydroelectric power plant. Small plants built on large rivers will always have enough water to operate at a full capacity.
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Table 6 Typical ranges of thermal efficiencies (gross) of modern nuclear power plants [2,6]. (Ts diagrams of various power cycles of NPPs are shown in [11] and a comparison of various properties of nuclear-reactor coolants in [12]))
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Table 10 Casualties due to various accidents in power and chemical industries, transportation, and from firearms (listed here just for reference purposes) (“List of nuclear and radiation accidents by death toll,” Wikipedia, last modified December 12, 2014, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_and_radiation_accidents_by_death_toll)
Table Footer Notea56 direct deaths (47 NPP and emergency workers and 9 children with thyroid cancer), i.e., deaths due to the explosion and initial radiation release.
Table Footer NotebDeaths from cancer, heart disease, birth defects (in victims’ children), and other causes, which may result from exposure to radiation. Various sources provide significantly different estimations starting from 30,000 to 60,000 casualties and up to 200,000 and even up to 985,000 casualties. However, these deaths may also result from other causes not related to the accident, e.g., pollution from non-nuclear sources—industry, transportation, etc. In general, accurate estimation of all deaths related to the Chernobyl NPP accident is impossible.
Table Footer NotecThe same as for the Chernobyl NPP accident it is impossible to estimate accurately all casualties. Some other sources estimate casualties from cancer within 30 years after the accident up to 8000.
Table Footer NotedAlso, 145,000 died during subsequent epidemics and famine. In addition, about 11 million residents were affected. Some other sources estimate casualties as high as 230,000 people.
Table Footer NoteeIn addition to fatalities in car accidents about 50 million people become invalid annually in the world. Therefore, driving a car is a quite dangerous mode of travel!
Table Footer NotefIn 2000, commercial air carriers transported about 1.1 billion people on 18 million flights, while suffering only 20 fatal accidents. Therefore, air transportation remains among the safest modes of travel.
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Table 5 Typical ranges of thermal efficiencies (gross) of modern thermal power plants [2,6]
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Table A1 Electrical-energy consumption per capita in various countries (“List of countries by electricity consumption,” Wikipedia, last modified January 22, 2015, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_electricity_consumption and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index)
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Table A2 Power reactors by nation as per March, 2014 [7]
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Table 7 Number of nuclear power reactors in operation and forthcoming as per March 2014 [7] and before the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster (March 2011) [8] (Additional data on reactors are shown in Figs. 15 and 16)
Table Footer NoteaEGP—Power Heterogeneous Loop reactor (in Russian abbreviations), channel-type, graphite-moderated, light-water coolant, boiling reactor with natural circulation.
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Table 8 Number of nuclear power reactors by nation (11 nations with the largest number of reactors ranked by installed capacity) as per March, 2014 [7] and before the Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster (March, 2011) [8] (Selected data of this Table are shown in Fig. 17. Data for all countries with nuclear power reactors are listed in Appendix A, Table A2)
Table Footer NoteaCurrently, i.e., in January of 2015, no one reactor is in operation. However, some reactors are planned to be put into operation in the nearest future.
Table Footer NotebNo. of LGRs.
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Table 9 Selected Generation-III+ reactors (deployment in 5–10 years) (partially based on [7])
Table Footer NoteaVVER or WWER—Water Water Power Reactor (in Russian abbreviations).
Table Footer NotebAES—Atomic Electrical Station (Nuclear Power Plant) (in Russian abbreviations).
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Table 11 Estimated ranges of thermal efficiencies (gross) of Generation-IV NPP concepts (shown here just for reference purposes)

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