The Climate Friendly 100

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I have made available this 100 megawatt capacity comparison primer. In it I attempt to provide official numbers and information for three deployable climate-friendly energy technologies, two of which have been adopted and are legal to construct in Australia.

Along with output profiles, costs, etc., some information on the corporations which construct, own and operate these electricity factories is included. Large industrial plants are businesses, notwithstanding much of the surrounding narrative, and businesses need to be profitable and productive. Solar and windfarms, along with nuclear plants, are supplied by some of the largest corporations in the world.

Why choose China’s high temperature gas-cooled reactor? After all, there are myriad small modular reactor designs. This one in particular is distinguished by being close to constructed and operational, with its revolutionary safety profile where loss of heat rejection leads directly to shut down. China intends to export the HTR in the near future.

There’s also a poetry in potentially including such technology in Australia’s future energy mix, since our own reactor research in the 50s and 60s was focused on a gas-cooled pebble bed design.

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In prohibiting all nuclear power, Australia’s current regulations forbid even this inherently benign reactor. It’s time for Australia to embrace the future of nuclear and get real on decarbonisation.

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2 thoughts on “The Climate Friendly 100

  1. Everybody assumes the frontrunners for Gen IV are IFRs and MSRs but I wonder if HTGRs will get there first. Main problem I understand is that the pebbles can’t be reprocessed.

    If light water reactors still have the lowest LCOE after years of 4th gen development then the east coast baseload coal plants should be replaced with light water while SA gets a waste burning 4th gen plant.

    • As far as main problems go HTGRs are doing pretty well. Fissile material is being locked up in irradiated, long-term stored parcels for which the reprocessing technology barely exists, so that’s the proliferation hazard mostly addressed.

      The expected burnup is 90 gigawatt days per tonne HM, way higher than LWRs, so much less is “wasted”… and if stored wisely, if the remaining fissile/fertile fuel is actually needed in a century or so I for one won’t underestimate technological progress in that timeframe.

      I’m also hopeful that the 40 year lifespan on the HTR-PM is a conservative estimate.

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