As the French Flamanville EPR (European Pressurized Reactor, project name FA3) is under construction (It is supposed to be finish before 2016), I decided to introduce this new kind of reactor, which is supposed to be safer and to grant better electricity production rate.
The EPR construction started in 2006 in Flamanville, in the French Normandy. This reactor will constitute the third unit of the Flamanville nuclear power plant.It was the first EPR project to be developped, and currently, two others EPR are under construction and development, one in Finland, in the island of Olkiluoto (project name OL3) and the other in China (project Taishan). The reactor technology is based on PWR reactors, if you don’t remember how this technology work, I strongly recommend you to watch the video that is provided in my first post. The improvements of this new generation reactor is mostly based on safety :In this new version, wires are for exemple quadrupled where they were just doubled in previous versions. It has also a big improvement on sismic issues, and the building of this reactor is also designed to prevent terrorists attack.
In 2010, the amount of capital expenditure committed to the Flamanville EPR reactor was estimated at around €5 billion .
The Flamanville EPR under construction in 2011
For this second part, I will explain you how nuclear waste is managed in advanced countries like France. After the vitrification process that I explained in the previous post, French nuclear waste starts a 5000 hundred kilometers travel throught Germany, Poland and Bielorussia to finally end in the wide and unhabited areas of Siberia, in Russia. This process is only used for intermediate level waste that has an activity between low and high…
The big deal is with high level nuclear waste that radioactive period ranges from 10,000 to 1,000,000 years… After the vitrification process, this waste is stored in special factories, such as La Hague in France. But this solution is only possible for a while, and until scientists master the fission process, they will have to find another solution that ensure safety for thousand years.
The idea that gathers most scientists is the geological disposal. The idea is to find appropriate sites in deep stable geologic formations to store the nuclear waste. This storage must be done between 500 and 1000 meters deep to prevent radioactivity. Currently, this solution is not yet implemented, but most countries are developing this concept, such as France with the experimental laboratory in the department of Meuse.
One of the most important question about nuclear energy has always been : What will humans do with nuclear waste ? And that is totally a very big question nowadays… What will we do with this kind of waste in the future ? As a remind, a part of this waste will remain radioactive for years! As a quick introduction, let me introduce you to the two main types of nuclear waste… It will constitute the first part of a two-part post.
1 – Low Level Waste : These wastes have low level radioactivity. They are stored for only some days or month and then, their radioactivity do not present any risk for human health anymore. For example, a tool which has been used for maintenance on nuclear power plant is considered as a Low Level Waste.
2 High Level Waste : These ones, such as spent nuclear fuel or by-products of nuclear reprocessing, must be stored for thousands years to prevent radioactivity to contaminate the environment. Some of these wastes are so radioactive that a special kind of storage is needed : we call it the “vitrification” process : the waste is stored into glass cylinders, because glass is a one of the best isolant for radioactivity, then this way of storage is considered as the only one useable in 2011.
After this short presentation, I hope you have a better idea than you had about nuclear waste. You must know that a few years ago, in countries like England, France or even United States, nuclear waste was simply dropped into the sea… Of course, it was many times less expensive than nowadays management, but what a horrible thing for the seas and the whole environment!!
Next month, in the second part of this post, I will explain you in details how advanced countries deal with their nuclear waste, and what will be done in the future..
See you soon!
As a reply to Jeremy Janvier’s comment on my last entry, I decided to write a new post about the growing part of nuclear energy in India, and how it will be developed.
First of all, I have to say that even if the Fukushima accident has slowed down the whole nuclear industry, and has led some countries like Germany to get out of nuclear power, some other countries like China or India still need to increase the part of nuclear energy in their electricity production. There are two reasons : first, the population of these countries continue to increase year after year, as a consequence, they need more and more electricity to provide to these new customers. The second reason is, especially for India, that they have their own process of nuclear fuel production. Indeed, as India did not want to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1968, it was for 34 years excluded from trade in nuclear plant or materials so they decided to create their own nuclear fuel cycle and production. India is to much commited in nuclear energy to backtrack now.
But India has always wanted to be the first country to develop the fast nuclear power plant running with a new fuel, the Thorium. Thanks to their engineers skills, they are now about to success. Beyond the trade restrictions, they did make possible the new development of this new kind of power plant, which is a huge performance when you know that India is not a country which has a lot of Uranium in its territory.
India’s government has planned to double up the nuclear electricity production before 2017…
For people who can be interested in reading the full article about nuclear in India, you can visit the following website : http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf53.html
The article is a little bit long, but everything is well detailled and the english used in is not so difficult!
Atomicpps is back with a new article about the nuclear energy part in the world! Here is an abstract:
Since the 1950’s and the first operating nuclear power stations, nuclear energy has seriously grown to become a 15% part of the total amount of energy produced in the world. Why did a lot of countries make the choice of nuclear energy development more than 60 years ago? Will this part increase in the next years?
After World War II, the scientists of Manhattan project though about using the amazing energy production from nuclear fission (used to create the two Hiroshima and Nagazaki A-Bombs, Little Man and Fat Boy) in a civil power plant for electricity production. First, only USA and USSR did make that choice. And then, countries such as Germany, France and UK followed. Nowadays, nuclear energy is more than 14% of the energy produced over the world.
An increasing part
In 2011, over 56 countries have at least one nuclear power plant on their national territory. There is also more than 350 power plants in operation all over the world, in example 58 in France, more than a hundred in the US. But now, a new market has just opened with the huge needs of China and India, in example the Chinese communist government planned the construction of 27 reactors in the next 10 years.
An energy still studied
More and more research reactors are used to improve the production capacity or the knowledge of existing plants. In the 56 “atomic” countries, more than 250 research reactors provides informations to the scientists, and help developping the reactor of tommorow. Safety, production and storage are the main studied things.
For those who wanted to read the full article, you may find it at:
Here is a first video !!! This first one will show you as simply as possible how a nuclear power plant works. For a better understanding of the next posts, this video seems really essential… Adaptated for freshers as confirmed, this video will give a you a good idea of what nuclear industry is nowadays !
Since the beginning of the century, the nuclear energy has grown to become one of the most used energy in the world. This blog was created to give explanations about the nuclear technology, everything about the safety improvements, and the products. It will also include a “newsletter” which will gather all the news about new power plants to be built and new technological releases.
This blog will also discuss the latest events about nuclear in the world, such as Fukushima or the Germany decision to quit nuclear.
As a nuclear trainee engineer in the major nuclear company in the world, I am writing this blog to give a critical point of view of the nuclear world and I hope you will enjoy your visit and that your experience reading this blog will give you a better knowledge and culture about nuclear industry.