Nuclear Engineering Handbook “Mechanical Engineering Series” Edited by Kenneth D. Kok.
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Section I Introduction to Section 1: Nuclear Power Reactors
1. Historical Development of Nuclear Power
2. Pressurized Water Reactors (PWRs)
3. Boiler Water Reactors (BWRs)
4. Heavy Water Reactors
5. High-Temperature Gas Cooled Reactors
6. Generation IV Technologies
Section II Introduction to Section 2: Nuclear Fuel Cycle
7. Nuclear Fuel Resources
8. Uranium Enrichment
9. Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
10. Spent Fuel Storage
11. Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing
12. Waste Disposal: Transuranic Waste, High-Level Waste and Spent Nuclear Fuel, and Low-Level Radioactive Waste
13. Radioactive Materials Transportation
14. Decontamination and Decommissioning: “The Act of D&D”—“The Art of Balance”
15. HWR Fuel Cycles
Section iii Introduction to Section 3: Related Engineering and Analytical Processes
16. Risk Assessment and Safety Analysis for Commercial Nuclear Reactors
17. Nuclear Safety of Government Owned, Contractor Operated Nuclear (GOCO) Facilities
19. Radiation Protection
20. Heat Transfer and Thermal Hydraulic Analysis
21. Thermodynamics/Power Cycles
22. Economics of Nuclear Power
Purpose: The purpose of this Handbook is to provide an introduction to nuclear power reactors, the nuclear fuel cycle, and associated analysis tools, to a broad audience including engineers, engineering and science students, their teachers and mentors, science and technology journalists, and interested members of the general public. Nuclear engineering encompasses all the engineering disciplines which are applied in the design, licensing, construction, and operation of nuclear reactors, nuclear power plants, nuclear fuel cycle facilities, and finally the decontamination and decommissioning of these facilities at the end of their useful operating life. The Handbook examines many of these aspects in its three sections.
Overview: The nuclear industry in the United States (U.S.) grew out of the Manhattan Project, which was the large science and engineering effort during WWII that led to the development and use of the atomic bomb. Even today, the heritage continues to cast a shadow over the nuclear industry. The goal of the Manhattan Project was the production of very highly enriched uranium and very pure plutonium-239 contaminated with a minimum of other plutonium isotopes. These were the materials used in the production of atomic weapons. Today, excess quantities of these materials are being diluted so that they can be used in nuclear-powered electric generating plants.
Many see the commercial nuclear power station as a hazard to human life and the environment. Part of this is related to the atomic-weapon heritage of the nuclear reactor, and part is related to the reactor accidents that occurred at the Three Mile Island nuclear power station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in 1979, and Chernobyl nuclear power station near Kiev in the Ukraine in 1986. The accident at Chernobyl involved Unit-4, a reactor that was a light water cooled, graphite moderated reactor built without a containment vessel. The accident produced 56 deaths that have been directly attributed to it, and the potential for increased cancer deaths from those exposed to the radioactive plume that emanated from the reactor site at the time of the accident. Since the accident, the remaining three reactors at the station have been shut down, the last one in 2000. The accident at Three Mile Island involved Unit-2, a pressurized water reactor (PWR) built to USNRC license requirements. This accident resulted in the loss of the reactor but no deaths and only a minor release of radioactive material.
The commercial nuclear industry began in the 1950s. In 1953, U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower addressed the United Nations and gave his famous “Atoms for Peace” speech where he pledged the United States “to find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life.” President Eisenhower signed the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, which fostered the cooperative development of nuclear energy by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and private industry. This marked the beginning of the nuclear power program in the U.S.
Earlier on December 20, 1951, 45 kw of electricity was generated at the Experimental Breeder Reactor-I (EBR-I) in Arco, Idaho.
The nuclear reactor in a nuclear power plant is a source of heat used to produce steam that is used to turn the turbine of an electric generator. In that way it is no different from burning coal or natural gas in a boiler. The difference is that the source of energy does not come from burning a fossil fuel, but from splitting an atom. The atom is a much more concentrated energy source such that a single gram of uranium when split or fissioned will yield 1 megawatt day or 24,000 kilowatt hours of energy. A gram of coal will yield less than 0.01 kilowatt hours.
Nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. began in the 1950s. The Shippingport power station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, was the first to begin operation in the U.S. It was followed by a series of demonstration plants of various designs most with electric generating capacity less then 100 Mw. During the late 1960s, there was a frenzy to build larger nuclear powered generating stations. By the late 1970s, many of these were in operation or under construction and many more had been ordered. When the accident at Three Mile Island occurred, activity in the U.S. essentially ceased and most orders were canceled as well as some reactors that were already under construction.
In 2008, there was a revival in interest in nuclear power. This change was related to the economics of building new nuclear power stations relative to large fossil-fueled plants, and concern over the control of emissions from the latter. It is this renewed interest that this handbook attempts to address by looking at not only the nuclear power plants, but also the related aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle, waste disposal, and related engineering technologies.
The nuclear industry today is truly international in scope. Major design and manufacturing companies work all over the world. The industry in the U.S. has survived the 30 years since the Three Mile Island accident, and is resurging to meet the coming requirements for the generation of electric energy. The companies may have new ownership and new names, but some of the people who began their careers in the 1970s are still hard at work and are involved in training the coming generations of workers.
It is important to recognize that when the commercial nuclear industry began, we did not have high-speed digital computers or electronic hand calculators. The engineers worked with vast tables of data and their slide-rules; draftsmen worked at a drawing board with a pencil and ruler. The data were compiled in handbooks and manually researched. The first and last Nuclear Engineering Handbook was published in 1958, and contained that type of information. Today, that information is available on the Internet and in the sophisticated computer programs that are used in the design and engineering process. This Handbook is meant to show what exists today, provide a historical prospective, and point the way forward.
The handbook is organized into the following three sections:
• Nuclear Power Reactors
• Nuclear Fuel Cycle Processes and Facilities
• Engineering and Analytical Applications
The first section of the book is devoted to nuclear power reactors. It begins with a historical perspective which looks at the development of many reactor concepts through the research/test reactor stage and the demonstration reactor that was actually a small power station. Today these reactors have faded into history, but some of the concepts are re-emerging in new research and development programs. Sometimes these reactors are referred to as “Generation I.” The next chapters in the section deal with the reactor that are currently in operation as well as those that are currently starting through the licensing process, the so-called “Generation II” and “Generation III” reactors. The final chapter in the section introduces the Generation IV reactor concepts. There is no attempt within this section to discuss research and test reactors, military or navel reactors, or space-based reactors and nuclear power systems. There is also no attempt to describe the electric generating portion of the plant except for the steam conditions passing through the turbines.
Twenty percent of the electrical energy generated in the U.S. is generated in nuclear power plants. These plants are Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR) and Boiling Water Reactors (BWR). The Generation II PWRs were manufactured by Westinghouse, Combustion Engineering and Babcock and Wilcox, whereas the BWRs were manufactured by General Electric. These reactor systems are described in Chapters 2 and 3 of this section. The descriptions include the various reactor systems and components and general discussion of how they function. The discussion includes the newer systems that are currently being proposed which have significant safety upgrades.
Chapters 4 and 5 of this section describe the CANDU reactor and the High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR). The CANDU reactor is the reactor of choice in Canada. This reactor is unique in that it uses heavy water (sometimes called deuterium oxide) as its neutron moderator. Because it uses heavy water as a moderator, the reactor can use natural uranium as a fuel; therefore, the front-end of the fuel cycle does not include the uranium enrichment process required for reactors with a light water neutron moderator. The HTGR or gas cooled reactor was used primarily in the UK. Even though the basic designs of this power generating system have been available since the 1960s, the reactor concept never penetrated the commercial market to a great extent. Looking forward, this concept has many potential applications because the high temperatures can lead to increased efficiency in the basic power generating cycles.
The second section of the book is devoted to the nuclear fuel cycle and also facilities and processes related to the lifecycle of nuclear systems. The fuel cycle begins with the extraction or mining of uranium ores and follows the material through the various processing steps before it enters the reactor and after it is removed from the reactor core. The material includes nuclear fuel reprocessing, even though it is not currently practised in the U.S., and also describes the decommissioning process which comes at the end of life for nuclear facilities. A special section is added at the end of the section to describe the CANDU fuel cycle. This is done because it is unique to that reactor concept. The first three chapters, Chapters 7–9, of the section discuss the mining, enrichment and fuel fabrication processes. The primary fuel used in reactors is uranium, so there is little mention of thorium as a potential nuclear fuel. The primary enrichment process that was originally used in the U.S. was gaseous diffusion. This was extremely energy intensive and has given way to the use of gas centrifuges. During fuel fabrication the enriched gaseous material is converted back to a solid and inserted into the fuel rods that are used in the reactor.
Chapters 10 through 12 in the second section discuss the storage of spent fuel, fuel reprocessing and waste disposal. Spent fuel is currently stored at the reactor sites where it is stored in spent fuel pools immediately after discharge and can later be moved to dry storage using shielded casks. Fuel reprocessing is currently not done in the U.S., but the chemical separation processes used in other countries are described. Waste disposal of low-level nuclear waste and transuranic nuclear waste are being actively pursued in the U.S. The section also includes a discussion of the proposed Yucca Mountain facility for high-level waste and nuclear fuel.
Chapters 13 and 14 describe the transportation of radioactive materials and the processes of decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities. The section concludes with a discussion of the special elements of the CANDU fuel cycle.
Section III of the handbook addresses some of the important engineering analyses critical to the safe operation of nuclear power reactors and also introduces some of the economic considerations involved in the decisions related to nuclear power. These discussions tend to be more technical than the first sections of the Handbook. Chapters 16 and 17 in this section discuss the approaches to safety analysis that are used by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in licensing nuclear power plants and by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the licensing of their facilities. The approach used by the NRC is based on probability and uses probabilistic risk assessment analyses, whereas the DOE approach is more deterministic. Chapters 18 and 19 deal with nuclear criticality and radiation protection. Criticality is an important concept in nuclear engineering because a nuclear reactor must reach criticality to operate. However, the handling of enriched uranium can lead to accidental criticality, which is an extremely undesirable accident situation. Persons near or involved in an accidental criticality will receive high radiation exposure that can lead to death. Radiation protection involves the methods of protecting personnel and the environment from excessive radiation exposure.
Chapters 20 and 21 in Section III deal with the heat transfer, thermo-hydraulics and thermodynamic analyses used for nuclear reactors. Heat transfer and thermo-hydraulic analyses deal with the removal of heat from the nuclear fission reaction. The heat is the form of energy that converts water to steam to turn the turbine generators that convert the heat to electricity. Controlling the temperature of the reactor core also maintains the stability of the reactor and allows it to function. The thermodynamic cycles introduce the way that engineers can determine how much energy is transferred from the reactor to the turbines. The final chapter introduces the economic analyses that are used to evaluate the costs of producing energy using the nuclear fuel cycle. These analyses provide the basis for decision makers to determine the utility of using nuclear power for electricity generation.
Kenneth D. Kok
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Nuclear Engineering Handbook Edited by Kenneth D. Kok pdf.
⏩Editor: Kenneth D. Kok
⏩Copyright © 2009 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC
CRC Press is an imprint of Taylor & Francis Group
⏩Size: 22.3 MB
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