Skip to main content

It must be Atomic !

 

Bill Gates Debuts Mini-Reactor + Energy Storage To Balance Renewables

After long weeks of absence, I take up the pen again.  The vacations of this summer 2020 were an opportunity to discuss and meet brilliant people with whom I had the chance to exchange on what tomorrow could be like.  I have to write "could" because here, there are no exact sciences anymore, but relatively strong hypotheses. Remember the book  "The limit to growth" in 1972. The book was based on The World3 model, a system dynamics model for computer simulation of interactions between population, industrial growth, food production, and limits in the earth's ecosystems.

These hypotheses tell us that the energy mix road will be 35% renewable energy and 65% nuclear energy.

However, in Europe (Belgium, France, Germany), we turn away from nuclear power due to a lack of political courage or even the capacity to simply decide.  And yet we have developed all the technology.  What has become of it?

The only EPR reactors (European Pressurized Water Reactor) operating are ... in China. Taishan 1 and Taishan 2( 2 x 1750 megawatts) .  And within 15 years, Beijing will have built a hundred more.

The USA has also grasped the importance of nuclear power. They are testing the production of green hydrogen using nuclear power.  In a previous article (about Bill Gates), I wrote that his TerraPower project was dead, but now there are clear signs that this project is back on track. Great for the USA and great for the world. Hallelujah.  On August 27th (3 weeks ago!!!), TerraPower revealed a new prototype of a small sodium-cooled fast reactor. The reactor can continuously produce 345 megawatts of electrical energy. An attached storage system retains the heat in the form of molten salt that can discharge the calories when needed. This brings the total power of the reactor plant to 500 megawatts for more than 5.5 hours. In comparison, an average French nuclear reactor produces 1300 megawatts.

And meanwhile, Europe does nothing, tetanized by self-righteous people who prefer to go back to coal, hoping that things will get better with a little more CO2.  Ahhh, those cognitive biases that lead us towards the wrong decision...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Plasticity – Flexibility – Resiliency

Well, this all started well.  (french version below) Géry and I had to leave in 20 days to cross the USA with our bike, to meet those who are working to find solutions, alternatives, new ways to live in harmony on this planet. COVID 19 has caused us to revise our plans.  No possible plane for Géry, no solar-bike for me, no hotels or campground available, and no possibility for meeting with all those problem solvers.  So, it was a bit "should I stay, or should I go now"? We both decided to go together but separately.  We are going to travel two continents at the same time: America and Europe.  Some would see it as greed, we see resiliency. Having lost my co-driver and the "superbike", I turned to what was "close to me" (short circuit ;-): my son Léopold (21 years old) and my everyday bike. We will be leaving next week, with a sum of compromises that gives, in the end, a rather cheerful cocktail.  My wife Corine will accompany us to pro

Stanford University: a national leader in energy efficiency and carbon reduction

Gery was ending his last post proposing to share our discoveries and exploring the existing energy and food production alternatives. So, as a neighbour of Stanford University, I heard that the University had just completed a transformational campus-wide energy system.   Guess what?  They used to have a 100% fossil-fuel-based combined heat and power plant (co-generation) and today University has replaced it with grid-sourced electricity and a first-of-its-kind heat recovery system. The results are amazing : Greenhouse gas emissions slashed by 68% Fossil fuel use reduced by 65% Water use on campus reduced by 15%  This comprehensive Stanford Energy System Innovation (SESI) eliminates 150.000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually (the equivalent of removing 32.000 cars from the road every year.)  SESI combines an offsite, dedicated solar farm producing 68 megawatts of clean renewable electricity via 150.000 high-efficiency photovoltaic panels; conversion of th