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Special Issue "Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies"

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A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Erich Schneider

Nuclear and Radiation Engineering Program, Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin TX 78712, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 5125921374
Fax: +1 512 471 4589
Interests: nuclear reactor physics; radiation transport modeling; nuclear fuel cycle simulation; optimization, proliferation countermeasures
Guest Editor
Dr. Peter Hosemann

Department of Nuclear Engineering, UC Berkeley, 4169 Etcheverry Hall MC 1730, Berkeley, CA 94720-1730, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: material science; mechanical properties; extreme environments; materials physics; radiation damage; small scale mechanical testing; materials degradation in nuclear systems; liquid metal corrosion; high temperature oxidation; steel, alloy development; energy technology; renewable energies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nuclear power provides 13% of the world’s electricity, a share whose near-constancy since 2000 masks rapid growth in some countries and a declining market share in others. Much current research focuses on development of safe, competitive, and sustainable nuclear energy technologies in a post Fukushima world. This special issue of Energies focuses on advances with the potential to transform contemporary reactor technologies or advanced nuclear energy systems and fuel cycles. Technologies considered in this special issue, for instance accident tolerant light water reactor fuels, nanomaterials for reactor applications and novel uranium recovery systems, will enable nuclear power systems to realize optimal performance. These developments may affect key areas including cost of construction, security of facilities and materials, and sustainability of waste management, so the issue also focuses on cross cutting fuel cycle analyses. Finally, the special issue addresses the role of nuclear energy in a future electricity markets that may feature a high presence of renewables and other variable sources as well as inexpensive peaking capacity.

Dr. Erich Schneider
Dr. Peter Hosemann
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords

  • advanced reactors
  • nuclear safety and security
  • advanced materials for nuclear systems
  • accident tolerant reactor and materials concepts
  • nuclear power economics
  • nuclear waste management
  • uranium resource sustainability
  • grid appropriate reactors

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Innovative Nuclear Energy Systems: State-of-the Art Survey on Evaluation and Aggregation Judgment Measures Applied to Performance Comparison
Energies 2015, 8(5), 3679-3719; doi:10.3390/en8053679
Received: 24 February 2015 / Revised: 1 April 2015 / Accepted: 21 April 2015 / Published: 30 April 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1931 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper summarizes the experience gained in the application of multi-criteria decision making and uncertainty treatment methods to a comparative assessment of nuclear energy systems and related nuclear fuel cycles. These judgment measures provide a means for comprehensive evaluation according to different conflicting
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This paper summarizes the experience gained in the application of multi-criteria decision making and uncertainty treatment methods to a comparative assessment of nuclear energy systems and related nuclear fuel cycles. These judgment measures provide a means for comprehensive evaluation according to different conflicting criteria, such as costs, benefits and risks, which are inevitably associated with the deployment of advanced technologies. Major findings and recommendations elaborated in international and national projects and studies are reviewed and discussed. A careful analysis is performed for multi-criteria comparative assessment of nuclear energy systems and nuclear fuel cycles on the basis of various evaluation and screening results. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the lessons learned, to share the identified solutions, and indicate promising future directions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle Radiological Impacts and Regulation of Rare Earth Elements in Non-Nuclear Energy Production
Energies 2015, 8(3), 2066-2081; doi:10.3390/en8032066
Received: 4 December 2014 / Revised: 4 March 2015 / Accepted: 5 March 2015 / Published: 13 March 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (471 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Energy industries account for a significant portion of total rare earth usage, both in the US and worldwide. Rare earth minerals are frequently collocated with naturally occurring radioactive material, imparting an occupational radiological dose during recovery. This paper explores the extent to which
[...] Read more.
Energy industries account for a significant portion of total rare earth usage, both in the US and worldwide. Rare earth minerals are frequently collocated with naturally occurring radioactive material, imparting an occupational radiological dose during recovery. This paper explores the extent to which rare earths are used by various non-nuclear energy industries and estimates the radiological dose which can be attributed to these industries on absolute and normalized scales. It was determined that typical rare earth mining results in an occupational collective dose of approximately 0.0061 person-mSv/t rare earth elements, amounting to a total of 330 person-mSv/year across all non-nuclear energy industries (about 60% of the annual collective dose from one pressurized water reactor operated in the US, although for rare earth mining the impact is spread out over many more workers). About half of the collective dose from non-nuclear energy production results from use of fuel cracking catalysts for oil refining, although given the extent of the oil industry, it is a small dose when normalized to the energy equivalent of the oil that is used annually. Another factor in energy industries’ reliance on rare earths is the complicated state of the regulation of naturally occurring radiological materials; correspondingly, this paper also explores regulatory and management implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle Impact of the Taxes on Used Nuclear Fuel on the Fuel Cycle Economics in Spain
Energies 2015, 8(2), 1426-1439; doi:10.3390/en8021426
Received: 7 November 2014 / Revised: 28 January 2015 / Accepted: 6 February 2015 / Published: 13 February 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2013, the Spanish government created two new taxes on used nuclear fuel. This article aims to present the results of an economic study carried out to compare the costs of long-term storage of used nuclear fuel –open cycle strategy–, with
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In 2013, the Spanish government created two new taxes on used nuclear fuel. This article aims to present the results of an economic study carried out to compare the costs of long-term storage of used nuclear fuel –open cycle strategy–, with the cost of the strategy of reprocessing and recycling used fuel– closed cycle strategy– taking into account the impact of the new taxes on the global cost of the fuel cycle. The results show that the costs of open-cycle and closed-cycle spent fuel management, evaluated in Spain after the introduction of the taxes, are sufficiently similar (within the bounds of uncertainty), that the choice between both is predicated on other than purely economic criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle Hybrid Statistical Testing for Nuclear Material Accounting Data and/or Process Monitoring Data in Nuclear Safeguards
Energies 2015, 8(1), 501-528; doi:10.3390/en8010501
Received: 13 November 2014 / Accepted: 15 December 2014 / Published: 13 January 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of nuclear safeguards is to ensure that special nuclear material is used for peaceful purposes. Historically, nuclear material accounting (NMA) has provided the quantitative basis for monitoring for nuclear material loss or diversion, and process monitoring (PM) data is collected by
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The aim of nuclear safeguards is to ensure that special nuclear material is used for peaceful purposes. Historically, nuclear material accounting (NMA) has provided the quantitative basis for monitoring for nuclear material loss or diversion, and process monitoring (PM) data is collected by the operator to monitor the process. PM data typically support NMA in various ways, often by providing a basis to estimate some of the in-process nuclear material inventory. We develop options for combining PM residuals and NMA residuals (residual = measurement − prediction), using a hybrid of period-driven and data-driven hypothesis testing. The modified statistical tests can be used on time series of NMA residuals (the NMA residual is the familiar material balance), or on a combination of PM and NMA residuals. The PM residuals can be generated on a fixed time schedule or as events occur. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle Atmospheric Dispersion of Radioactivity from Nuclear Power Plant Accidents: Global Assessment and Case Study for the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
Energies 2014, 7(12), 8338-8354; doi:10.3390/en7128338
Received: 24 October 2014 / Revised: 4 December 2014 / Accepted: 5 December 2014 / Published: 12 December 2014
PDF Full-text (3735 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents using the ECHAM/Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) atmospheric chemistry (EMAC) atmospheric chemistry-general circulation model at high resolution (50 km). We present an overview of global
[...] Read more.
We estimate the contamination risks from the atmospheric dispersion of radionuclides released by severe nuclear power plant accidents using the ECHAM/Modular Earth Submodel System (MESSy) atmospheric chemistry (EMAC) atmospheric chemistry-general circulation model at high resolution (50 km). We present an overview of global risks and also a case study of nuclear power plants that are currently under construction, planned and proposed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East, a region prone to earthquakes. We implemented continuous emissions from each location, making the simplifying assumption that all potential accidents release the same amount of radioactivity. We simulated atmospheric transport and decay, focusing on 137Cs and 131I as proxies for particulate and gaseous radionuclides, respectively. We present risk maps for potential surface layer concentrations, deposition and doses to humans from the inhalation exposure of 131I. The estimated risks exhibit seasonal variability, with the highest surface level concentrations of gaseous radionuclides in the Northern Hemisphere during winter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Figures

Open AccessArticle The Application of Discontinuous Galerkin Methods in Conjugate Heat Transfer Simulations of Gas Turbines
Energies 2014, 7(12), 7857-7877; doi:10.3390/en7127857
Received: 11 October 2014 / Revised: 1 November 2014 / Accepted: 5 November 2014 / Published: 26 November 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1546 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The performance of modern heavy-duty gas turbines is greatly determined by the accurate numerical predictions of thermal loading on the hot-end components. The purpose of this paper is: (1) to present an approach applying a novel numerical technique—the discontinuous Galerkin (DG) method—to conjugate
[...] Read more.
The performance of modern heavy-duty gas turbines is greatly determined by the accurate numerical predictions of thermal loading on the hot-end components. The purpose of this paper is: (1) to present an approach applying a novel numerical technique—the discontinuous Galerkin (DG) method—to conjugate heat transfer (CHT) simulations, develop the engineering-oriented numerical platform, and validate the feasibility of the methodology and tool preliminarily; and (2) to utilize the constructed platform to investigate the aerothermodynamic features of a typical transonic turbine vane with convection cooling. Fluid dynamic and solid heat conductive equations are discretized into explicit DG formulations. A centroid-expanded Taylor basis is adopted for various types of elements. The Bassi-Rebay method is used in the computation of gradients. A coupled strategy based on a data exchange process via numerical flux on interface quadrature points is simply devised. Additionally, various turbulence Reynolds-Averaged-Navier-Stokes (RANS) models and the local-variable-based transition model γ-Reθ are assimilated into the integral framework, combining sophisticated modelling with the innovative algorithm. Numerical tests exhibit good consistency between computational and analytical or experimental results, demonstrating that the presented approach and tool can handle well general CHT simulations. Application and analysis in the turbine vane, focusing on features around where there in cluster exist shock, separation and transition, illustrate the effects of Bradshaw’s shear stress limitation and separation-induced-transition modelling. The general overestimation of heat transfer intensity behind shock is conjectured to be associated with compressibility effects on transition modeling. This work presents an unconventional formulation in CHT problems and achieves its engineering applications in gas turbines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle Saturated Adaptive Output-Feedback Power-Level Control for Modular High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors
Energies 2014, 7(11), 7620-7639; doi:10.3390/en7117620
Received: 15 September 2014 / Revised: 11 November 2014 / Accepted: 12 November 2014 / Published: 19 November 2014
PDF Full-text (724 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are those nuclear fission reactors with electrical output powers of less than 300 MWe. Due to its inherent safety features, the modular high temperature gas-cooled reactor (MHTGR) has been seen as one of the best candidates for
[...] Read more.
Small modular reactors (SMRs) are those nuclear fission reactors with electrical output powers of less than 300 MWe. Due to its inherent safety features, the modular high temperature gas-cooled reactor (MHTGR) has been seen as one of the best candidates for building SMR-based nuclear plants with high safety-level and economical competitive power. Power-level control is crucial in providing grid-appropriation for all types of SMRs. Usually, there exists nonlinearity, parameter uncertainty and control input saturation in the SMR-based plant dynamics. Motivated by this, a novel saturated adaptive output-feedback power-level control of the MHTGR is proposed in this paper. This newly-built control law has the virtues of having relatively neat form, of being strong adaptive to parameter uncertainty and of being able to compensate control input saturation, which are given by constructing Lyapunov functions based upon the shifted-ectropies of neutron kinetics and reactor thermal-hydraulics, giving an online tuning algorithm for the controller parameters and proposing a control input saturation compensator respectively. It is proved theoretically that input-to-state stability (ISS) can be guaranteed for the corresponding closed-loop system. In order to verify the theoretical results, this new control strategy is then applied to the large-range power maneuvering control for the MHTGR of the HTR-PM plant. Numerical simulation results show not only the relationship between regulating performance and control input saturation bound but also the feasibility of applying this saturated adaptive control law practically. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle A Mine-Based Uranium Market Clearing Model
Energies 2014, 7(11), 7673-7693; doi:10.3390/en7117673
Received: 22 August 2014 / Revised: 15 October 2014 / Accepted: 10 November 2014 / Published: 19 November 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (857 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Economic analysis and market simulation tools are used to evaluate uranium (U) supply shocks, sale or purchase of uranium stockpiles, or market effects of new uranium mines or enrichment technologies. This work expands on an existing U market model that couples the market
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Economic analysis and market simulation tools are used to evaluate uranium (U) supply shocks, sale or purchase of uranium stockpiles, or market effects of new uranium mines or enrichment technologies. This work expands on an existing U market model that couples the market for primary U from uranium mines with those of secondary uranium, e.g., depleted uranium (DU) upgrading or highly enriched uranium (HEU) down blending, and enrichment services. This model accounts for the interdependence between the primary U supply on the U market price, the economic characteristics of each individual U mine, sources of secondary supply, and the U enrichment market. This work defines a procedure for developing an aggregate supply curve for primary uranium from marginal cost curves for individual firms (Uranium mines). Under this model, market conditions drive individual mines’ startup and short- and long-term shutdown decisions. It is applied to the uranium industry for the period 2010–2030 in order to illustrate the evolution of the front end markets under conditions of moderate growth in demand for nuclear fuel. The approach is applicable not only to uranium mines but also other facilities and reactors within the nuclear economy that may be modeled as independent, decision-making entities inside a nuclear fuel cycle simulator. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)
Open AccessArticle Optimizing the Design of Small Fast Spectrum Battery-Type Nuclear Reactors
Energies 2014, 7(8), 4910-4937; doi:10.3390/en7084910
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 7 July 2014 / Accepted: 18 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1675 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study is focused on defining and optimizing the design parameters of inherently safe “battery” type sodium-cooled metallic-fueled nuclear reactor cores that operate on a single stationary fuel loading at full power for 30 years. A total of 29 core designs were developed
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This study is focused on defining and optimizing the design parameters of inherently safe “battery” type sodium-cooled metallic-fueled nuclear reactor cores that operate on a single stationary fuel loading at full power for 30 years. A total of 29 core designs were developed with varying power and flow conditions, including detailed thermal-hydraulic, structural-mechanical and neutronic analysis. Given set constraints for irradiation damage, primary cycle pressure drop and inherent safety considerations, the attainable power range and performance characteristics of the systems are defined. The optimum power level for a core with a coolant pressure drop limit of 100 kPa and an irradiation damage limit of 200 DPA (displacements per atom) is found to be 100 MWt/40 MWe. Raising the power level of an optimized core gives significantly higher attainable power densities and burnup, but severely decreases safety margins and increases the irradiation damage. A fully optimized inherently safe battery-type fast reactor core with an active height and diameter of 150 cm (2.6 m3), a pressure drop limit of 100 kPa and an irradiation damage limit of 300 DPA can be designed to operate at 150 MWt/60 MWe for 30 years, reaching an average discharge burnup of 100 MWd/kg-actinide. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Nuclear Reactor and Fuel Cycle Technologies)

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