For the first time since 1979The Nuclear Regulatory Commission United States (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) February 9, 2012 has decided to issue a "combined license" for the construction and operation of two AP-1000 reactors at the plant Vogtl (Vogtle) in the state of Georgia. This decision is supported by four of the five members of the Commission, and its chairman Gregory Jask (Gregory Jazcko) did not support this decision and abstained from voting. "I could not support the issuance of the license as if Fukushima did not happen."
But before building a new pressure cooker at home, the U.S. decided to initially break in the technology in China, which has long sought a nuclear superpower.
Over 30 years of toil China has achieved excellent results in the nuclear industry. But they were overshadowed by a sense of shame and helplessness that arises in any discussion of the progress in the creation of new reactor projects. The Republic still has none of its own brand of commercial power reactors.
Operated in China 11 blocks use different technology. In Guangdong operating reactors from France, at Tianwan — from Russia, and in the third stage of the NPP "Qinshan" — from Canada. Only the first block is Qinshan reactor, which could be called by the Chinese, but it is, of course, refers to the second generation.
Block "Qinshan-1" — the subject of the historical pride of Chinese. The only unpaired block in China, he is the first Chinese nuclear power unit was established forces of Chinese enterprises and departments. His design used by the Chinese to export to Pakistan — the only country to buy from Chinese power reactors. — AtomInfo.Ru.
In late 2006, the Chinese government decided that it was time "to unify the technological roadmap for the development of nuclear energy." Behind these words lies the following strategy — to acquire technology, understand the technology to localize technology and begin to innovate based on it. The emphasis on China plans to work with the AP-1000, which is herein referred to as the most advanced project of the third generation. In May 2007, the company was founded SNTPC, and it was entrusted to implement the example of the AP-1000 strategy to unify the roadmap. "This is the path to prosperity independent of the nuclear industry, and we go out to start immediately with the mid-range. South Korea has proved that it is an effective strategy, "- said Wang Binhua. His words are reminiscent of the universal dream of the Chinese nuclear industry — to turn China into a superpower in the field of nuclear energy.
As soon as China has done at the end of 2006 opted for the AP-1000, many wondered — why the U.S. is not building at the blocks with such reactors, If they are so safe and advanced as assures advertising?
Doubts were, but China decided to lead the direction of the AP-1000 because it considered it — this will save her time and money. One would have to wait until the AP-1000 other clients, reference units, and only then decide on their order for China. But in this case, the country would have to pay for the units are much more expensive, and it would happen soon. As it became clear later, the Americans did not neglect the AP-1000 technology for themselves. The first nuclear power plant with the AP-1000 will be commissioned in the United States in 2016, and only three years later than in China.
Naturally, the Chinese are faced with unexpected difficulties and challenges at almost every stage of construction, and the Americans are given the experience of China, began their construction. Next Here is an excerpt of article In the United States begins construction of Westinghouse AP-1000 nuclear power plant, nicknamed "radioactive pipe"
Bad news for the U.S. nuclear industry
"This is bad news for the U.S. nuclear industry — said Peter Bradford (Peter Bradford), a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, United States — For the industry, is fully dependent on the political support to gain access to the wallets of taxpayers (through loan guarantees and other federal subsidies ) and wallets of consumers (through price guarantee [electricity], covering even the canceled projects and excess of the cost of construction), so public skepticism about fatal. "
"Nuclear energy is too expensive, dangerous and too radioactive for Wall Street — says Robert Alvarez (Robert Alvarez), Fellow of the American Institute of Political Studies, a former adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy — This poll shows that the [nuclear] industry has future unless the U.S. government will continue its support and will not force the public to bear all the risks. "
State support at the cost of $ 8.33 billion
In the U.S. civil nuclear industry has always received support from the state. During the "cold war" was obtained from the military nuclear fuel in exchange for spent nuclear fuel from which then recovered plutonium for nuclear weapons. It was then built 104 reactors USA. Now as much plutonium do not need massive building nuclear power plants in the United States ended after accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. However, the nuclear industry continues to receive support from the state, mainly due to softening of the safety requirements and by providing government guarantees for loans and credits.
President George W. Bush in 2007 announced a multi-year campaign for the construction of NPP "new generation". Last year, President Obama gave commitments to guarantee loans to ensure the expansion of nuclear power Vogtl in the amount of 8.33 billion U.S. dollars from the U.S. Department of Energy. Let me remind you that 77% of Americans oppose government support of the nuclear industry.
Developer AP-1000 reactor, a U.S. corporation Westinghouse (Westinghouse), advertises its product as "a simple, safe and innovative." The reactor is a further development of the technology of "water-water" nuclear reactors, similar to Russian VVER and French EPR.
As one of the main advantages of the present Westinghouse design simplification, reducing the number of components and a "modular" design, as well as the presence of "passive" safety systems. All this makes the project look like a Russian VVER-TOI, which will soon be widely advertise Rosatom.
AR-1000 has two cooling loops, 3,400 MW thermal and 1100 MW of electrical power. Plant efficiency is 32.4%. Thus, like its analogs uses only one third of thermal energy generated by the reactor. Two-thirds of power — more than 2,000 MW, will be released into the atmosphere via the cooling tower.
Passive safety systems
Westinghouse company, like any other manufacturer plant, touts its reactor. In this particular trend of advertising reactors in recent years is the emphasis on passive safety systems. In a statement on February 9, 2012 the Nuclear Regulatory Commission U.S. reactor is described as: «AP-1000 reactor is a pressurized water power capacity of 1,100 MW, which includes passive safety features that can cool the reactor after an accident without the need for electricity or human intervention . "
"Passive safety systems AP-1000 does not require operator action in the event of a design basis accident. These systems use only natural forces such as gravity, natural circulation, condensation of gas to perform safety functions. Do not use any pumps, diesel engines, coolers or other active devices, with the exception of a few simple valves operated automatically activating and passive safety systems, "- stated in the brochure of Westinghouse.
It should be noted that the passive safety systems, although not require external energy sources, can not operate effectively in the event of damage many pipes, tubes, valves. That is why even in the brochure Westinghouse claims that all these intricate systems will only operate in the case of "design basis accident". Experience shows that the case "beyond design basis accidents" (as Chernobyl and Fukushima is precisely a "beyond design basis accidents") of any active or passive safety systems do not allow to prevent the release of radioactivity outside the plant, the contamination of territories and water areas, evacuation of residents, etc.
It is not always passive system will "automatically" to act as it should, unfortunately, the engineers are not able to foresee all the possible ways of developing reactor accident.
For example, used in the project AP-1000 "vnutrikonteynmentny water tank» (In-containment refueling water storage tank, IRWST) thought to developer should provide heat removal from the reactor in the event of an accident through a complex system of pipes, valves and heat exchangers, which may be damaged or to be in an inoperable state.
According to the developers, in the case of a reactor core melt water from this tank to fill the space around the reactor, thereby cooling the metal casing of the reactor.
In some cases, the large mass flow of water on the hot reactor vessel may cause deformation, damage and the release of radioactive substances into the air containment and the environment.
Stop the automatic activation of "passive safety systems" will be impossible, because they are designed to operate without human team.
Everything else is likely containment plant will not be able to withstand a medium-range passenger aircraft, in this case, both active and passive safety systems are useless.
AP-1000 — radioactive pipe
American engineers Fairewinds Associates, Inc.warn, that the NPP with AP-1000 can become "radioactive pipe." Corrosion of steel or manufacturing defect containment in the event of an accident make the vaunted "passive heat removal system" into a powerful source of contamination.
Westinghouse proposed use is not a double and a single steel containment (containment vessel) to make it part of a passive heat sink. In the event of an accident the heat of the reactor facilities should be referred to a protective shell, and then carried away by the atmosphere through natural air circulation. If at the time of the accident the integrity of the single-layer protective shell is broken, the flow of air from the environment to be imposed not only heat damaged reactor, but there are all radioactive substances — is obtained by "radioactive pipe."
Unfortunately, corrosion of plant safety elements — is not unusual. Fairewinds Associates provides the following kinds of cross-linear Corrosion NPP Barsebeck, Sweden, in 1993, pass-through corrosion of 7 mm NPP Brunswick, USA, 1999, 8 mm; nuclear North Anna, United States, 1999, 10 mm; NPP DCCook , USA, 2000, 10 mm; plant Beaver Valley, USA, 2009, 10 mm. Corrosion rate in these cases by 0.3 to 0.5 mm. These are the cases of corrosion "outside-in", but at the same time should be considered and corrosion from the "inside out", as well as a number of factors contributing to the increased corrosion of the metallic containment shell.
"A large volume of research shows that the leakage of radioactivity from containment failures at the plant with AP-1000 can exceed federal safety limits in 1000. But the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission chose to ignore it, "- says Arnie Gundersen (Arnie Gundersen), chief engineer of Fairewinds Associates, Inc., A former nuclear power plant operator. www.fairewinds.com
Last glimpse of the "renaissance"
"The nuclear renaissance starts here", it is one of the registered trade marks of the company Vestngauz. But the AmericanService information on nuclear power (NIRS) warns that we should not buy into the empty advertising. NIRS cites a number of reasons why a license for a nuclear power plant Vogtl does not mean the beginning of the "nuclear renaissance":
1. U.S. nuclear industry shows no means "renaissance" and the folding of the plans to build the reactors. If in 2009 it was about 31 new reactor, but now there are only projects Vogtl and VC Summer in South Carolina.
2. Vogtl nuclear reactors are too expensive to produce electricity. Natural gas is much cheaper than nuclear power.
3. Obtaining a license does not mean that new reactors will ever be operational. There are many examples where nuclear projects licensed, not sold.
4. Vogtl plant is an example of the reactors are not built on time and do not fit into the budget. Construction of the two operating reactors of the nuclear power plant was continued for 15 years, the budget has been exceeded by 1200%.
5. The project is entirely dependent on the "nuclear socialism", namely 8.33 billion dollar government loan guarantees and resolution are already included in the cost of electricity price reactors that may never be completed.
A few links on the topic, in chronological order:
AP-1000 reactors were 2-3 times more expensive than previously thought
China plans to build 100 units with the AP-1000 up to 2020
U.S. customers Westinghouse feel insecure because of some in the AP-1000 licensing difficulties
China will not give permission for the construction of new units with AP-1000 to address comments to the draft
The failure on tests of pumps for the AP-1000 has caused doubts among Chinese
U.S. trade unions have opposed the import equipment on new areas
Canadian regulators have unveiled a list of questions to project the AP-1000
On the containment AP-1000 in the UK given the highest score of discontent regulators
To project the AP-1000, new questions
Qualification for Chinese MCP AP-1000 will take another year
Trying to maintain the schedule for Haiyang nuclear power plant with the AP-1000 has resulted in the death of 5 people
Licensing AP-1000 and EPR-1600 in the UK will not end in 2011
China has partially acknowledged the problems on its AP-1000
Chinese AP-1000 abandoned building modular safety
Production of modules for the AP-1000 in the United States is facing difficulties
At NRC had additional questions about the project the AP-1000
The first reports that manufacturers of MCP for the AP-1000 encountered problems appeared in October 2009 in one of China's core publications.
The cost of the blocks with the AP-1000 continues to grow
A formal vote on the AP-1000 will be held on December 22 in the NRC
Prepared according to the site atominfo.ru and bellona.ru
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