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Overview Skyscrubber Seascrubber coal2nuclear Energy Parks New Nuclear
Minimizing coal with nuclear is a natural.
Nuclear can be a powerful tool for minimizing Climate Change by converting existing coal power plants
Converting the largest 2% of the coal plants to nuclear can quickly end this much Climate Changing CO2. >
Background: CCS Retrofitting of Coal-Fired Power Plants for CO2 Emissions Reductions - MIT - meeting-report.pdf
One of the new small modular nuclear reactors - the ThorCon - appears to be well suited to replace the coal boilers in these largest power plants.
They were designed to produce massive amounts of electricity to compete with nuclear power plants that are naturally VERY large - i.e., well above 1,000 megaWatts. Typically, a large power plant site will have many coal units. One small reactor will be needed to replace each coal unit.
(Aside: Your author made this realization in 2007 based upon data available from the 2007 CARMA web site. I'm a registered control systems engineer, not a mechanical engineer who has spent his entire life building this class of coal powered electricity generating. It would be good if this statement was vetted by such an electricity industry professional to confirm it's accuracy. At the time of my realization, I thought other engineers would also soon have the same idea and it would be published far and wide. So far, I haven't run across anything even faintly similar as a path for minimizing a major source of Climate Change.
A different type of nuclear reactor, the Molten Salt Reactor,
can duplicate the steam produced by coal boilers exactly. Many practical designs for molten salt reactors have emerged with
several being especially well-suited for the application at hand. I think it
is time to bring this to the attention of folks who can make a profit from it.
There could be as many as 6,000 small nuclear reactors involved. The idea of
repowering coal power plants with nuclear isn't new, see
There have been a few recent engineering studies looking into converting coal power plants into small nuclear power plants in the United States. It seems about half the value of a coal plant can be salvaged this way. ThorCon's web site describes their modular 250 megaWatt(e) version of the molten salt reactor built and run by Oak Ridge Laboratories in 1964 and run without problems between 1965 and 1969.)
Carbon Capture is proving to be prohibitively expensive for power generation, iron, steel, and cement production. Countries with lower labor costs such as China, Mexico, Indonesia and Poland have the lowest costs for implementing CCS, Germany has the highest costs.
Much of the world has difficulty affording coal, much less carbon capture. The coal industry has known for decades that since uranium, per pound, is a million times more powerful than coal, its raw cost must be much less than coal and in a free market no one would buy coal. This is even more true for thorium.
Much of the second and third world would be willing to quickly convert their coal power plants to clean nuclear fuel if the price and technology was right.
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