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Energies 2016, 9(11), 863; doi:10.3390/en9110863

Quantification of the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Nuclear Power Generation Systems

1
Center for Energy & Environmental Sustainability, Prairie View A & M University, Prairie View, TX 77446, USA
2
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Prairie View A & M University, Prairie View, TX 77446, USA
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Prairie View A & M University, Prairie View, TX 77446, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Pierre Trambouze
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [787 KB, uploaded 25 October 2016]   |  

Abstract

This paper statistically quantifies the lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from six distinct reactor-based (boiling water reactor (BWR), pressurized water reactor (PWR), light water reactor (LWR), heavy-water-moderated reactor (HWR), gas-cooled reactor (GCR), fast breeder reactor (FBR)) nuclear power generation systems by following a two-step approach that included (a) performing a review of the lifecycle assessment (LCA) studies on the reactor-based nuclear power generation systems; and (b) statistically evaluating the lifecycle GHG emissions (expressed in grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour, gCO2e/kWh) for each of the reactor-based nuclear power generation systems to assess the role of different types of nuclear reactors in the reduction of the lifecycle GHG emissions. Additionally, this study quantified the impacts of fuel enrichment methods (centrifuge, gaseous diffusion) on GHG emissions. The mean lifecycle GHG emissions resulting from the use of BWR (sample size, N = 15), PWR (N = 21), LWR (N = 7), HWR (N = 3), GCR (N = 1), and FBR (N = 2) in nuclear power generation systems are 14.52 gCO2e/kWh, 11.87 gCO2e/kWh, 20.5 gCO2e/kWh, 28.2 gCO2e/kWh, 8.35 gCO2e/kWh, and 6.26 gCO2e/kWh, respectively. The FBR nuclear power generation systems produced the minimum lifecycle GHGs. The centrifuge enrichment method produced lower GHG emissions than the gaseous diffusion enrichment method. View Full-Text
Keywords: lifecycle assessment; greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear energy; power generation; reactors; enrichment lifecycle assessment; greenhouse gas emissions; nuclear energy; power generation; reactors; enrichment
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Kadiyala, A.; Kommalapati, R.; Huque, Z. Quantification of the Lifecycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Nuclear Power Generation Systems. Energies 2016, 9, 863.

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