Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Is nuclear fission going to make a comeback and plug the gap in our energy needs? Will nuclear fusion ever become energetically viable?

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Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by careful_eugene »

This is much better than 2 or 3 mega projects.https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-54703204
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Post by adam2 »

If these can delivered affordably, then it sounds a good idea.
I am not anti nuclear but am opposed to Hinkley on cost grounds and also opposed to chinese innvolvement on national security grounds and for qaulity control reasons.

440 Mw is not exactly small, it is only slightly less than the output of our existing nukes. Which are in the 500 Mw to 600Mw range.

One of these proposed reactors would meet nearly 1% of the peak demand, A dozen would have a similar output to the present nuclear fleet.

I am still a bit doubtful about this ever progressing beyond the stage of studies, reviews, and consultations.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

Who is going to pay for the security of these? Hopefully it will be the consumer rather than the tax payer because I don't want to have to pay for something that I don't use and have made considerable efforts not to use. Security should be a cost for the owner of the plant rather than the taxpayer or if security is provided by the taxpayer it should be charged to the owner as it is one of the costs of dangerous nuclear power.

Small nukes will be better than large ones from the point of view that if one goes down for any reason it won't have too much of a effect on the grid.
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Post by careful_eugene »

kenneal - lagger wrote:Who is going to pay for the security of these? Hopefully it will be the consumer rather than the tax payer because I don't want to have to pay for something that I don't use and have made considerable efforts not to use. Security should be a cost for the owner of the plant rather than the taxpayer or if security is provided by the taxpayer it should be charged to the owner as it is one of the costs of dangerous nuclear power.
I was wondering about the possibility of putting them offshore, this would address some of the security concerns. It would also remove the need to purchase land, and as many people would object to living near to a nuclear facility it would take that issue away as well.
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Post by Initiation »

careful_eugene wrote: I was wondering about the possibility of putting them offshore, this would address some of the security concerns. It would also remove the need to purchase land, and as many people would object to living near to a nuclear facility it would take that issue away as well.
Problem with offshore is you need to get the transmission network out there. That adds huge costs in terms of cabling and offshore substations. Access for maintenance is also an issue.
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Post by adam2 »

I think that offshore is a greater security risk, vulnerable to foreign naval forces and to terrorists in boats, and russian "trawlers"

If these are to be built, I would prefer to see groups of perhaps four or five reactors on land.
Security is cheaper per reactor if they are grouped together.
Transmission lines would aldo be cheaper, remembering that these need duplication for nukes.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by kenneal - lagger »

Rolls Royce looking for subsidies on the first few reactors and suggests siting some at old decommissioned nuclear sites.

These things aren't small. They won't fit in a containers somewhere. They need a substantial warehouse type building to sit in.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by adam2 »

Nothing that generates that level of power is going to be small.
A 500 MW steam turbine and alternator is a very substantial piece of equipment without considering the actual reactor.
Still sounds worthwhile, I have more faith in Rolls Royce than in anything chinese or anything made by Hitachi.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by kenneal - lagger »

adam2 wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 7:33 pm ........ have more faith in Rolls Royce than in anything chinese or anything made by Hitachi.
I would agree with that.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by clv101 »

kenneal - lagger wrote: Tue May 18, 2021 5:17 pm
adam2 wrote: Mon May 17, 2021 7:33 pm ........ have more faith in Rolls Royce than in anything chinese or anything made by Hitachi.
I would agree with that.
Experience counts. China has ~50 reactors, plus 14 under construction and 2 fancy new breader reactors. China currently have WAY more nuclear engineering experience than the UK or Rolls Royce. While it's easy to mock cheap Chinese tech, they have just landed a rover on Mars at first attempt (something Europe hasn't achieved) and just launched the first part of their space station.

Don't underestimate Chinese tech! In many fields they are in the process of surpassing the west.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by kenneal - lagger »

My cousin worked for Rolls on nuclear power plants decades ago before he went to South Africa so they do have experience. Maybe not as up to date as china or not in the same field but the do have some.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by clv101 »

Indeed, decades ago British nuclear engineering was state of the art. We are a generation, more like two, since that high point though. Even 20 years ago when Hinkley C was first being considered, the idea of a British designed/build reactor was a non-starter and there has been further de-skilling since then.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by adam2 »

I still do not trust chinese tech for anything as complicated and potentially dangerous as a nuclear reactor. Too much risk of fake or defective components.
I also don't trust their computer software not to contain some remote shutting down or blowing up capability in case of any future falling out.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

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adam2 wrote: Thu May 20, 2021 5:01 pm I still do not trust chinese tech for anything as complicated and potentially dangerous as a nuclear reactor. Too much risk of fake or defective components.
I also don't trust their computer software not to contain some remote shutting down or blowing up capability in case of any future falling out.
I agree with every word of that. But also add neither would I trust the UK or the west in general. In my personal experience (I'm a chartered Engineer and have worked closely with Huawei when they first entered the European telecoms market) Chinese engineering can be every bit as competent, and can surpass anything the UK is capable of (nuclear and space are just two obvious examples). China gets a bad reputation due to the very poor quality (and cheap) low end - but it's important to realise they have a high end too, a very good high end. Also, they are on a rapidly improving trajectory, especially in AI fields. The China of 2021 absolutely isn't the China of 2000.

As for trusting their software - surely we know enough by now to understand the weaknesses in western developed software and especially our security agencies exploitation of such vulnerabilities.
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Re: Rolls Royce plans 16 mini-nuclear plants for UK

Post by clv101 »

Another thought on Chinese nuclear competency. Firstly, the EPR reactors which a western academic described as 'unconstrutable', is both massively over budget and time in Flamanville (2007-) and Olkiluoto (2005-). However, the Chinese also built one, considerably faster and cheaper 2009-2018 for reactor one and 2010-2019 for reactor 2. First reactor achieved 91% availability in 2019.

Anyone willing to bet on Hinkley coming in at £22-23bn and online by 2026? That's the Jan 21 estimate which has already climbed and slipped from initial schedule.

Secondly, their nuclear fusion reactor is breaking new records:
https://www.sciencealert.com/china-s-ar ... -milestone
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