3, Power Plant Choices
Home Page     Sitemap      About      Foreword     Preface     Acknowledgment     Introduction      Prolog     A Quick Tour      Footnotes & Links

Site Facilities:     1  Unneeded Old Coal Power Plant      2  Building A Clean Energy Park       
Power Plant:       3  Power Plant Choices    3a  Pilot Plant Power Drop    Carbon Capture:  3b  Natural Gas    3c Oil Hybrid CO2    Nuclear:  3d  GA 1,560F    3e  NuScale 550F    3f  ThorCon 1,300F    3g  Terrestrial  1,300F 

Fuel Feedstock:  4  Hydrogen and Steam Generators      5  Biomass Preparation      6  Plasma Torch Biomass Gasifier     
Refinery:             7  Biosynfuel Refinery      7a Skyscrubber      8 Biosynthetic Fuels     
8a Cellulosic E85 BioEthanol     8b Cellulosic M70 BioMethanol     8c Cellulosic BioJet & BioDiesel     8d Green Hydrogen

          Introduction to this page:


Energy Parks           BACK to Home Page

An excellent introduction to advanced nuclear reactors may be obtained from chapter 3 (Advanced Reactor Technology Evaluation) of the recently-released MIT study:
"The Future of Nuclear Energy in a Carbon-Constrained World" (pdf). This is as close to a "Consumer Reports" report about tomorrows nuclear reactors as you will ever get.
This paper's 2018 guidance can be seen in this web page's date sequence.


Energy Park Power Plants


Electrical Grid Power Drop

When: NOW  3a  Pilot Plant - To Power A 1/5 Scale Carbon-neutral Fuel Manufacturing Technologies Plant To Optimize Facilities 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

(For grid powered pilot plant, use the existing coal plant grid connection substation in reverse to supply grid level electricity to the energy park pilot plant)
(One must pretend the electricity used by the pilot plant was made by a nuclear reactor, wind farm, or solar garden elsewhere that is attached to the same grid as the pilot plant.)


Carbon-captured Natural Gas and Oil Burning Turbines

When: NOW  3b  Carbon-captured Natural Gas Fuel Powered Plant 

(90% carbon capture from jet engine exhausts is no easy thing to make happen. It may prove to be safer, easier, and cheaper to use small TRISO nuclear reactors.)

Not all the modern studies of Molten Salt Reactor component behavior have been completed yet - at least another decade will be needed - and it would be relatively easy, quicker, and far less costly to get an
equally or more powerful natural gas powered carbon captured combined cycle gas turbine package unit with natural gas exhaust carbon capture columns and CO2 compressors added.
It must be pointed out that natural gas turbine exhausts have substantially less CO2 per cubic meter to capture than coal so the carbon capture columns are going to be big sheet metal silos.
Also, the steam turbine+electricity generator would be deleted and the Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs) become Heat Recovery Solar Salt Heaters (HRSSH) for process heat transport instead.

As an 80-year old engineer whose name is on a few electrical drawings for a 1958 "sodium cooled advanced reactor", it looks like writing a carbon captured twin gas turbine purchase order is the way to go until about 2025.

Carbon capture vs. nuclear. The world could have, and should have, begun moving away from fossil fuels as early as the 1950s. Now decarbonizing has become an urgent necessity. It is unlikely that it will be possible to quickly obtain production versions of the small nuclear reactors listed below before 2035. On the other hand, several post-combustion gas turbine carbon capture designs have been published. They are ready for detailed site construction drawings and cost estimates for a pair of currently marketed mass-produced 50 megaWatt or larger power plant natural gas turbines and their associated electricity generators. The carbon capture equipment could consume as many as 4 acres of plant site.

Natural gas prices should continue to reflect the increasing downward pressure being brought to bear on all fossil fuels.

CO2 disposal. Some of the unneeded coal power plant sites that could be considered to be in acceptable configuration and condition for upgrading to a Clean Energy Park happen to be located directly above underground strata considered an excellent CO2 disposal site. Since safe CO2 disposal can be achieved at these locations by simply drilling a CO2 disposal well on site property, CO2 disposal couldn't be safer, easier, or cheaper.

Bottom Line: For now, you'll get more electricity and heat for your dollar with a pair of natural gas turbines connected to an integral carbon capture system (below).

Integral Carbon Capture

This also brings up the issue of what kind of fossil fuel philosophy is best for this kind of application.


When: NOW  3c  Carbon-captured Hybrid CO2 Depleted Oil Powered Plant 

(100% oxyfuel carbon capture from jet engine exhausts is no easy thing to make happen. It may prove to be safer, easier, and cheaper to use small TRISO nuclear reactors.)


Small Modular Reactors (SMRs)

When: Soon+  3d  General Atomics SiGA EM2 Underground Nuclear Reactor    1,560F Hydrogen Gas Cooled TRISO   A Better Nuclear Waste Plan >

A TRISO-fueled, hydrogen gas cooled small reactor. Many versions of these reactors - both "pebble bed" and "prismatic" - have been built and run in the past with little trouble.
China is currently serial manufacturing their HTR-PM TRISO reactor for an electricity generating complex on their East coast.

The temperatures developed by these types of reactors are very conducive to powering Skyscrubbers and Thermochemical Hydrogen Generators. This gives this type of reactor a big advantage over the cooler reactors.

While slow-neutron TRISO fuels have always been considered more expensive per BTU than slow-neutron water cooled zirconium clad uranium pellets, General Atomics' version is a fast-neutron version with 30-year refueling intervals. This should reduce the EM2's fuel cost substantially.  Rod Adams recently took a look at this issue in his website:  


When: 2022+   3e  NuScale Underground Nuclear Reactor    550F Conventional Water Cooled     A Better Nuclear Waste Plan >

NuScale is a "Bridge" technology between your grandfather's nuclear reactors and your children's nuclear reactors. Consider the differences between piston engines and jet engines.
(Below: 5 several minute youtube videos about The NuScale Reactor - the first of the next generation nuclear reactors - currently under construction at Idaho National Laboratories.)
1. NuScale website introduction video: 
 2. Explaining how the NuScale reactor works and how it is different from your grandfather's first early 1950's reactors: 
 3. Jose Reyes, NuScale Technology Officer, Comments:  (youtube)
4. Identifying A NuScale reactor's main components:
5. Assembling the NuScale's main reactor power module components in the common coolant pool: 



When: 2030+   3f  ThorCon Underground Nuclear Reactor    1,300F Molten Salt Cooled    A Better Nuclear Waste Plan >



When: 2035+   3g  Terrestrial Energy Underground Nuclear Reactor    1,300F Molten Salt Cooled    A Better Nuclear Waste Plan >


NuScale is a U.S. Light Water Reactor (LWR) (conventional reactor), 50 megaWatt(e) Extra Safe "Bridge" Reactor.  

, U.S. company, designed it's dual 250 megaWatt(e) modules to be fabricated in Korean automated shipyard, the first unit to be assembled and run in Indonesia, is based on the 1965 8 megaWatt Oak Ridge Molten Salt that ran uneventfully for about 5 years. ThorCon thinks the Nuclear Regulatory Commission might have done a better job in the past.

Terrestrial Energy
(Canada) 190 megaWatt(e)

General Atomics
(U.S.) has been doing very leading-edge reactor development since 1960. 265 megaWatt(e). Many university teaching reactors came from GA. Like NuScale, this reactor technology has been around since almost the beginning. An early version of it was used to power the Ft. St. Vrain plant in Colorado. It was considered so safe the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said a containment building was unnecessary. It is the hottest of the nuclear technologies and ideal for thermochemical production of the hydrogen gas needed to power a hydrogen economy. 


Nuclear Reactor Information Sources

Information about new small reactors:

International Atomic Energy Agency: 

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:




A lot of tech-savvy millennials have seen through the wishful thinking surrounding using only wind and solar energy to power mankind's future.

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        Items and issues extracted from the above Canadian report:

SMALL MODULAR REACTORS UNDER DEVELOPMENT - These categories are distinguished primarily by their fuel and/or coolant properties:

1. Pressurized Water-cooled Reactors (PWR)                    (Modern SMR bridge versions of today's large water-cooled reactors.)
High-Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGR)            
3. Sodium-cooled Fast Reactors (SFR)
Lead-cooled Fast Reactors (LFR) 
5. Gas-cooled Fast Reactors (GFR)
Molten Salt Reactors (MSR)
7. Fusion Reactors


           Application                             Rank
1. District heating                              - #2
2. Industrial process heat                   - #5
3. Hydrogen production                      - #1
Synfuel production
5. Heavy oil recovery
6. Petrochemical refining
7. Desalination                                 - #3
8. Oxygen production
Energy storage                             - #4 Coupling with energy storage
10. Marine propulsion
11. Isotope production
12. Recycling of spent fuel to reduce current spent fuel volume and liability
13. Community infrastructure and services, such as greenhouses, wide-band internet for medical and educational use, and aquaculture



1. Operation beyond electricity generation
2. Simple design and operation
3. Quick deployment
4. Well understood and quantified risks
5. Reactor must be transportable
6. Schedules must be accurate and predictable
Off-grid reactors must have the capability for remote monitoring
Designs must be standardized
9. Designs must be scalable
10. Must have minimal staffing requirements
Early consideration and incorporation of safeguards issues, especially for novel designs
Option to recycle current spent fuel inventories for use as a fuel source

And, with the nuclear industry struggling to compete against low-cost natural gas generation, the birthplace of nuclear reactors, Idaho National Laboratories, is stepping up a search for ways to lower existing reactor operating costs, research on "accident tolerant" reactor fuels for existing water cooled reactors, i.e., developing safer fuel rod cladding than the zirconium that has been traditionally used, designing more efficient control rooms and using technology to reduce reactor safety inspection time and costs.

Small Modular Reactor (SMR) consortium:     About SMRs:   SMR Economics 


According to the American think tank Third Way, there are presently five SMRs in development in the US:
Global list of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs): 

NuScale Power, Corvallis, Oregon 
Radix Power and Energy Corp, Setauket, New York   
Holtec, Jupiter, Florida 
Westinghouse, Fulton, Missouri 
General Atomics, San Diego, California!/welcome/ 


NuScale is expected to file the first full design license application for a small modular reactor (SMR) later this year. The Oregon based developer was an early mover in the design licensing process, starting its NRC design certification pre-application project back in 2008. NuScale plans to submit its license application in late 2016 under a DoE funding agreement which will provide the firm with $217 million towards the design certification application and other commercialization engineering, analysis and testing.

NuScale is the largest single recipient of DoE funding for SMR licensing and development and the governments support mechanism requires the group to execute testing programs in support of design development and NRC review requirements. - - - Nuclear Energy Insider, Jan 12, 2016

Large energy, no matter if it is coal, natural gas, oil, or nuclear energy, must have government licensing.  Example:  Boiler License Example - Permit Extract - Los Angeles .pdf


How nuclear energies can be used to replace fossil fuel energies




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Footnotes & Links

The unneeded power plant your author has in mind is a small single unit coal power plant located over a prime Carbon Capture disposal strata in Michigan.



This website is still a draft. The candidate document's footnote numbers go with a private database. Copy the document's title and submit it to Google. The document may still be posted on the Internet.