Nuclear energy has been in use for almost 70 years, and over 440 nuclear reactors are in operation in 30 countries. This technology provides 10% of the world’s electric power and it is the world’s second-largest carbon-free power source (providing 29% of the total electricity generated in 2017). In addition, almost 50 countries are relying on about 220 research reactors to produce medical and industrial isotopes, and approximately 200 nuclear reactors with over 13,000 reactor-years of reliable and safe usage power more than 160 ships. Also it should be noted that approximately 50 new nuclear power plants are under construction that will bring an additional 15% of generation capacity to the existing fleet of reactors. There is a clear need for new generating capacity around the world, both to meet increased demand for electricity in many countries and to replace old fossil-fuel units and transition to low-usage and carbon-free energy. Consider the fact that in 2017, fossil-fueled power plants generated approximately 65% of the world’s electricity. Despite the strong support for and growth of intermittent, renewable sources in recent years, the fossil-fuel contribution has remained virtually unchanged in the past 10 years. The OECD International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that “sustainable development,” “decarbonization,” or “net zero emission” scenarios favoring the provision of clean and reliable energy and a reduction of air pollution call for nuclear generation to increase by almost 40% by 2030. Therefore the technology has great potential to eventually play a key role in continuing to provide the world with safe, reliable, economically competitive, and secure proliferation-resistant energy. In this volume, we consider heavy-water reactors (HWRs), which use heavywater deuterium oxide (D2O) as a coolant and/or as a neutron moderator. Pressurized HWRs (PHWRs) are characterized by, among other things, high-pressure heat transport systems, multiple channel cores, online refueling, and the use of natural uranium or low-enriched uranium fuel. Of the 442 nuclear plants currently operating, 49 are PHWRs, operating in seven countries. Overall, in 2020 these plants contributed about 10% of the world’s nuclear electricity production, totaling nearly 2000 TWh. The PHWR operational experience over more than 50 years has been excellent. In comparison to their light water siblings (PWR and BWR reactors), PHWRs are noticeably simpler in design and easier to manufacture, with a clear economic advantage particularly in the case of smaller-sized plants. Similarly to the light water reactors, the history of PHWRs goes back to 1940s. Research and development work on different designs for HWR was pursued by a number of countries, namely Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the USSR, and the United States. Even though a number of those designs were built as demonstrations or pilot plants, only two resulted in successful commercial plants: the heavy-water-moderated and -cooled pressure-type reactor in Canada and recently in India; and a pressure-vessel design in Germany by KWU. This book, Volume 8 in this series, is meant to bridge the gap between (1) the fundamental concepts of nuclear physics, fluid mechanics, radiation protection, and power plant manufacturing and construction, and (2) maintenance and operation of a nuclear power plant. It contains three chapters focused on contemporary and practical design features of, and operational experience with, PHWR. It offers for the first time the most comprehensive overview of the design provisions and safety aspects pertaining to research and development and operation of Atucha II as a pressure-vessel-type of PHWR. This volume is a joint effort of many individuals generously sharing their expertise. The Editor owes a special thanks to Professor Francesco d’Auria and his team of co-authors for contributing their manuscripts and to all the reviewers for helping us to create what will hopefully be a reference of enduring value.

Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors – Atucha II

D’Auria Francesco
Penultimo
Conceptualization
;
2021-01-01

Abstract

Nuclear energy has been in use for almost 70 years, and over 440 nuclear reactors are in operation in 30 countries. This technology provides 10% of the world’s electric power and it is the world’s second-largest carbon-free power source (providing 29% of the total electricity generated in 2017). In addition, almost 50 countries are relying on about 220 research reactors to produce medical and industrial isotopes, and approximately 200 nuclear reactors with over 13,000 reactor-years of reliable and safe usage power more than 160 ships. Also it should be noted that approximately 50 new nuclear power plants are under construction that will bring an additional 15% of generation capacity to the existing fleet of reactors. There is a clear need for new generating capacity around the world, both to meet increased demand for electricity in many countries and to replace old fossil-fuel units and transition to low-usage and carbon-free energy. Consider the fact that in 2017, fossil-fueled power plants generated approximately 65% of the world’s electricity. Despite the strong support for and growth of intermittent, renewable sources in recent years, the fossil-fuel contribution has remained virtually unchanged in the past 10 years. The OECD International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that “sustainable development,” “decarbonization,” or “net zero emission” scenarios favoring the provision of clean and reliable energy and a reduction of air pollution call for nuclear generation to increase by almost 40% by 2030. Therefore the technology has great potential to eventually play a key role in continuing to provide the world with safe, reliable, economically competitive, and secure proliferation-resistant energy. In this volume, we consider heavy-water reactors (HWRs), which use heavywater deuterium oxide (D2O) as a coolant and/or as a neutron moderator. Pressurized HWRs (PHWRs) are characterized by, among other things, high-pressure heat transport systems, multiple channel cores, online refueling, and the use of natural uranium or low-enriched uranium fuel. Of the 442 nuclear plants currently operating, 49 are PHWRs, operating in seven countries. Overall, in 2020 these plants contributed about 10% of the world’s nuclear electricity production, totaling nearly 2000 TWh. The PHWR operational experience over more than 50 years has been excellent. In comparison to their light water siblings (PWR and BWR reactors), PHWRs are noticeably simpler in design and easier to manufacture, with a clear economic advantage particularly in the case of smaller-sized plants. Similarly to the light water reactors, the history of PHWRs goes back to 1940s. Research and development work on different designs for HWR was pursued by a number of countries, namely Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the USSR, and the United States. Even though a number of those designs were built as demonstrations or pilot plants, only two resulted in successful commercial plants: the heavy-water-moderated and -cooled pressure-type reactor in Canada and recently in India; and a pressure-vessel design in Germany by KWU. This book, Volume 8 in this series, is meant to bridge the gap between (1) the fundamental concepts of nuclear physics, fluid mechanics, radiation protection, and power plant manufacturing and construction, and (2) maintenance and operation of a nuclear power plant. It contains three chapters focused on contemporary and practical design features of, and operational experience with, PHWR. It offers for the first time the most comprehensive overview of the design provisions and safety aspects pertaining to research and development and operation of Atucha II as a pressure-vessel-type of PHWR. This volume is a joint effort of many individuals generously sharing their expertise. The Editor owes a special thanks to Professor Francesco d’Auria and his team of co-authors for contributing their manuscripts and to all the reviewers for helping us to create what will hopefully be a reference of enduring value.
D’Auria, Francesco; Galassi, G. M.; Mazzantini, O.; Riznic, J.
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