Saturday, November 22, 2014

Nuclear Power, Where is China going with it?

According to Brian Wang, China has published its energy plans to 2020, while offering further energy projections to 2100.  The Chinese are estimating 58 GWe of nuclear power complete by 2020 with conventional nuclear output peaking at 200 GWe.

Despite a huge investment in wind and solar, China's recent investment in green electricity will pay off with more energy:
Wind 200 GW (290 TWh)
Solar 100 GW (60-70 TWh)
Nuclear 58 GW (410 TWh)

Among renewables, only nuclear and hydro are dispatchable, and nuclear has a much higher capacity factor.  Of course, of course, unlike nuclear, solar and wind require duplication and backup or energy storage, to make up for thdeir low capacity factor.  

According to Wang, Chinese plans to Top out to 200 GWe of LWR by the Middle of this Century and then start adding Fast Breeder Reactors:

Under previously announced plans, deployment of PWRs is expected to level off at 200 GWe by around 2040, with the use of fast reactors progressively increasing from 2020 to at least 200 GWe by 2050 and 1400 GWe by 2100.  

The fast reactor plan requires 85 years to implament.  This is largely due to the start charge bottleneck.  As I have pointed out it takes a fissionable fuel charge that is at least 10 times larger than the start charge of a thermal breeder, to go critical with a fast breeder.  Thus 10 LFTRs can go into operation for every fast Breeder that starts up.  This is why the Chinese are making a major investment in LFTR R&D.

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