Worldwide Nuclear Energy Research Programs
In this chapter, worldwide research efforts on advanced nuclear energy systems for power, heat, and hydrogen generation are presented. It is shown that the next generation of nuclear reactors will create a new energy paradigm shift by significantly improving the fuel utilization efficiency of nuclear reactors via increased operating temperatures and a reactor’s capability to cogenerate high-temperature process heat, power, and hydrogen. In former generations of nuclear plants, the coolant temperature was typically limited to ~300 °C leaving only larger size scale-up as the option for efficiency increases and cost per kWh reductions.
Generation of hydrogen via coal gasification, natural gas reforming, and petroleum naphtha reforming is used by many countries as a transitional phase towards a fully implemented hydrogen infrastructure which will use extraction of hydrogen from water. The Generation IV International Forum (GIF) was formed as an initiative of the US Department of Energy to lead an international cooperation on development of the next generation of nuclear reactors with hydrogen production capabilities. Six reactor concepts were selected by GIF as the most promising for commercial implementation. In addition, there are two major research and development efforts worldwide on thermochemical water splitting processes: the sulfur–iodine cycle and the copper–chlorine cycle.
KeywordsHydrogen Production Fast Breeding Reactor Nuclear Heat CANDU Reactor Nuclear Energy System
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