CyberB0B39 writes: "The Department of Energy is set to approve $6.5B for a Georgia nuclear power plant, the first such plant in more than 3 decades. While other nuclear plants are shutting down due to competition from natural gas, Atlanta-based Southern Company is forging ahead with its planned construction of the plant."
[ED Note: "For those that are wondering, the new nuclear plant will be based on the AP1000 design by Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, a company based in Pittsburgh, PA and a subsidiary of Toshiba."]
Topic says it all.
LFTR is a great idea. We need a utility-scale demonstrator to be built and run for a few years before anybody will take it seriously, though. Gone are the days where such demonstrator plants can be built quickly and inexpensively to test unproven designs. (And please don't try to tell me LFTR is proven... I'm talking about detailed design ready for construction, commissioning, startup testing, and commercial ops... not a conceptual design.)
I'm talking about demonstrators (US-centric) like:
Vallecitos, Elk River, La Crosse, Humboldt Bay - GE Boiling Water ReactorsHallam - Liquid Metal cooled Graphite Moderated ReactorFermi 1 - Liquid Metal Fast BreederPiqua - Organically cooled and ModeratedShippingport - Pressurized Water Reactor, later conversion to Light Water BreederPeach Bottom 1 - High Temperature Gas-cooled ReactorPathfinder - Allis Chalmers Boiling Water ReactorCarolinas_Virginia Tube Reactor (CVTR) - Pressurized Heavy Water ReactorBoiling Nuclear Superheater (BONUS) - as the name saysSaxton - Pressurized Water Reactor
These were all built in the 60s (I think), each in 3 to 4 years. They were all small reactors, but they were utility-scale. They all started up. Some ran for several years, and some were failures (Hallam, Fermi 1, Pathfinder, etc.) The successes formed the base of the commercial industry that exists today. It's important to note that these were all built and operated by utilities, with Atomic Energy Commission (now Nuclear Regulatory Commission) oversight... not at national labs. This is the kind of thing we need for LFTE before anyone in the industry will ever take it seriously.
Anyway, those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head. I think I may have missed a couple.
"We need a utility-scale demonstrator to be built and run for a few years before anybody will take it seriously, though"
60MW in Prague already in operation, sir, developed by an Australian company. Prototype was done in 2012.
Actually, 60 MW would satisfy me. That's big enough to demonstrate commercial feasibility. Many of the demonstrators I listed were of similar size. Light Water Reactor industry kind of followed a sequence like: 5 MW test, 50 MW demonstrator, 200-300 MW small plant, 600-800 MW full-size plant, 900-1300 MW fully developed evolution of basic design.
Please provide a reference! This would be exciting news... but the only stuff I can find is the general "consortium is formed, development is in progress, exciting future upon us" kind of thing. The whole situation is rather reminiscent of the Pebble Bed Modular Reactor (PBMR) craze from last decade; lots of basic research, lots of announcements, lots of excitement, but still no operating demo reactor anywhere that I'm aware of. The apparent leading consortium for PBMR was placed in a politically induced coma a couple of years ago.
http://www.bdlive.co.za/articles/2010/09/17/hogan- ends-pebble-bed-reactor-project [bdlive.co.za]
Exactly. The real problem with this new reactor is its going to be right beside the other 2 - on the opposite side of the state from Atlanta that actually uses the electricity. We should be building a thorium plant down near the airport on the south side of the city and cutting out the constant transmission line upgrade/expansion (and subsequent eminent domain debate every time we need a new one)