StoppingClimateChange.com                          Chapter 4: Electricity Decarbonization, Future Large Coal
Home Page    Site Map (Contents & Chapters)    Footnotes & Links

In todayís world, every nuclear plant that is not built is a fossil-fuel plant that does get built, which in most of the world means coal.

Preempting Future Large Coal Power Plants     
 

     
An average 500-megawatt coal plant releases about 3.7 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.  (Click to enlarge)

Getting a handle on how we can preempt the world's 1,000+ future coal burning power plants.
Recent thorium reactor work.  Click on Transatomic Power's White paper to read the Transatomic Power White Paper 1.0.0 for further information.

Both wind and gas cost about $84 a megawatt hour to install worldwide, excluding subsidies, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Thatís 3 percent higher than a coal-fired power plant costs and about half that of nuclear reactors.
The best wind farms in the breeziest areas such as south Texas can be built for $60 a megawatt-hour, below the $65 price of a high-efficiency gas turbine, according to New Energy Finance.

Notice most of the world's population is on the coasts? (Click to enlarge)

This is why shipyard mass-produced power plants built on ocean-going barges make so much economic sense.
With the proper condensing system, nuclear reactor barges can produce both electricity and desalinated water.

A better product for substantially less money is the only way nuclear will preempt coal for making electricity.

(Below) 4 reactor-boiler units can be combined to make a 1,000 megaWatt nuclear power plant barge. 
1,000 megaWatts is enough electricity to power all of San Francisco, 1/5 of New York City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Lower Left) from Scientific American Magazine.


(Upper Right) Shoaiba Flash Desalination facility, Saudi Arabia.  75% of all their drinking water.  Uses an ocean tanker full of oil per day.
There are about 1,500 desalination facilities of various sizes in the Mideast.

Why mass produce nuclear power plants on barges?

The arrival of a single power plant barge can provide a coastal city with enough electricity to power a city the size of San Francisco. 
Extra electrical energy will be needed quickly as Global Warming begins to hit hard. 
The world's massive tropical population centers, many third-world poor, will be hit hardest first. 
The years it takes to build conventional coal power plants are slipping through our fingers.

(Right) Russian nuclear barge under construction, headed for a Siberian port on the Arctic Ocean.
(Below right) Small barge in drydock.

Fuel Cost: 

Fewer Global Warming emissions per kilowatt-hour means little to third-world country electricity providers. 
Making electricity cheaper than with coal should get their attention. 

Never underestimate the power of price. 

Conventional Power Plant Cost:

The electricity power plant barges depicted below are designed to compete economically and environmentally in every respect against today's coal or natural gas power plant.

The Energy Information Administration estimated in 2013 that advanced baseload nuclear generating capacity would carry a US overnight cost of $4,700/kW (in 2011 dollars), a new scrubbed coal facility would be $2,694/kW, and a gas-fired combined cycle plant would run $931/kW.

Barge Power Plant Cost:

The 1,000,000 kW barge would have to cost perhaps $0.9 billion to compete with natural gas turbines that have expensive fuel and a relatively short life and perhaps $1.8 billion for a modern scrubbed coal plant which typically has a 70 year life. 

To squeeze every dollar of cost out of these barge power plants, they would be built inside reinforced concrete barges by shipyards using nuclear upgraded conventional coal power plant superheated steam turbines and supporting equipment.  Serial production of barge power plants could begin immediately by using the world's several existing nuclear navy shipyards.  The world's general purpose shipyards built over 6,000 ocean going ships last year. 

The helium heated superheated steam generator set is of the extremely low cost "tube-in-shell" type.  Collectively, the steam generator tube set emulates a firewall type coal-burning dual pressure, single temperature, Loffler superheated steam boiler. 

Building with concrete provides additional radiation shielding.  The 50 foot high, 106 foot wide, 625 foot long barge would then be towed from the shipyard to a destination slip cut into a power plant's shore and locked on to pre-driven building pilings, effectively becoming a concrete building. 

All that would need to be done by the owner is to install electrical feed lines from the barge's electricity generator to the power plant's switchyard.

Maintenance Cost:

By having a manufactured nuclear power plant, the hazards of radioactivity can be better controlled by design in much the same way as the hazards of steam were mitigated during the early 1900s.  Maintenance shipyards would have gantry crane mounted robots that could reach down into the reactor and repair it without great concern about the radiation that always accompanies any reactor that has been run. 

For major repairs, the reactor confinement cells, which contain everything radioactive, are designed to be removed by lifting it vertically from the barge by a drydock gantry crane.  This is not all that different from removing an engine from an automobile.  All the equipment within the confinement cell that is radioactive - the reactor, pumps, and heat exchangers - are designed to be assembled and disassembled by robots at a maintenance yard located next to the drydock.  The maintenance yard would be designed to safely handle radioactive activities.  This is not a radical concept - nuclear medicine is practiced this way everywhere.  Think about x-ray rooms in doctor's offices.

For incidental major repair, the barges would be unlocked from their pilings, re-floated, and taken to a  regional maintenance drydock equipped with robots that can do nuclear maintenance and repairs.  The barge's parts would be built to mesh with the robot's tools. 

Highly automated power plant barges provide a country electrical energy flexibility that is unobtainable with power plants fixed in size and location.  Access to cheap electricity means access to a longer and better life for all of a country's citizens.  A country shouldn't have to develop and maintain costly personnel with nuclear skills and nuclear technology simply to gain access to inexpensive nuclear electricity anymore than a person should have to have the skills and tools to maintain and repair the automobile they depend upon for livelihood transportation.

Decommissioning Costs:

When no longer needed, the barge would be removed and taken to a sub-seabed  disposal site 600 miles North of Hawaii, leaving no radioactivity behind at the customer's power plant site.  Nothing highly radioactive would end up buried in the three mile deep disposal site's peanut butter-like mud.  The disposal site is hundreds of meters thick so eventually the barge would would sink to the bottom of the mud.     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_floor_disposal 

Leasing and Upsizing Costs:

The coastal power plant's slips and their pilings would be made to a standardized design to assure barge interchangeability, enabling any barge to be parked at any site.

Barges could be leased and replaced with a more, or less, powerful barge if desired, or, since they are about 100 feet wide, additional slips could be cut into the power plant's shore for additional power plant barges.

Barges have the ability to carry enormous amounts of weight so shielding does not have to be compromised.  Concrete is cheap, we make roads out of it.  A Panamax barge displaces about 4 million cubic feet.  Water weighs 62 pounds per cubic foot at 100F, that's 248 million pounds or 124,000 short tons. 

______________________________________________________________________________

An industry web site (by AREVA I suspect) about the TRISO "Next Generation Nuclear Plant"  http://www.ngnpalliance.org/ 
ANTARES Oil Recovery Slide Show .pdf   ANTARES .pdf

(Below left) Current uranium + thorium TRISO fueled "slow" neutron reactor connected to a
helium gas-driven 286 megaWatt (e) electricity generator.
  The generator's turbine has much more in common with an airplane's turbojet engine than with a coal power plant's steam turbine.
(Below right) New TRISO material, "fast" neutron reactor under development. 
It will run 30 years per fuel load on thorium, nuclear waste, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Below left) Steam boiler for this family of reactors.  (Below right) Relative size of the new EM2 fast reactor.

(Below) More about TRISO Prismatic helium cooled reactors.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

A potentially far less expensive to build and run version is a
500 megaWatt (e) molten salt reactor powered nuclear barge.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

________________________________________________________________

Footnotes & Links

________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

 

 

n