Genesis Morocco: Grid Ready at the Source, The Role of Nuclear Energy in Renewables.

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Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012    <<Home

Grid Ready at the Source, The Role of Nuclear Energy in Renewables.

Personal Notes : I would like to thank Gary for his insight into this question, the emergence of self contained reactors that require no maintenance over extended periods of time. Such utilities have got a tremendous potential for use at large scale renewable energy production units so as to achieve grid ready energy at the source of production. Add to that the fact that it makes it that much easier to manage a well balanced grid than otherwise. 

The fact that such capacity would be distributed in the various areas where large scale solar or wind is situated adds to the resiliency and capacity of the grid as a whole. 

It is one of the many examples where nuclear energy is a useful complement of renewables. People who are contemplating a future where energy will be mass produced without a technology such as nuclear to provide stability to the grid are not being realistic.

We are bound to see renewable energy developed in mass capacity that is for certain, but also the re-emergence of nuclear energy.

This role is a more significant and in line with a mature technology. The use and role of nuclear energy should however be curtailed to a certain role, not that of producing in mass amounts energy that could be more safely obtained otherwise, but keeping the grid balanced by providing an even base load, and nothing beyond it.

( -- Underground nuclear power plants no bigger than a hot tub may soon provide electricity for communities around the world. Measuring about 1.5 meters across, the mini reactors can each power about 20,000 homes. (Please see below for an update)
The small energy modules were originally designed by Otis "Pete" Peterson and other scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Now, the technology is being commercially developed by Hyperion Power Generation, which recently announced that it has taken its first orders and plans to start mass production within five years.

"Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world," said John Deal, CEO of Hyperion. "[The nuclear plants] will cost approximately $25 million each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $2,500 per home."

Because of their small size, the mini power plants can be assembled relatively quickly and transported by truck, rail or ship to remote locations, even places that currently do not have electricity. The power plants provide an alternative to current nuclear plants, which are large, expensive, and take about 10 years to build. Also, large-scale power plants don´t fit the needs of small populations or areas without available land. Hyperion´s modules can be connected together to provide energy for larger populations, as well.

In addition, the Hyperion modules have no moving parts to wear down, and never need to be opened on site. Even if opened, the small amount of enclosed fuel would immediately cool, alleviating safety concerns. "It is impossible for the module to go supercritical, ´melt down,´ or create any type of emergency situation," the company states on its Web site. Because the Hyperion plants would be buried underground and guarded by a security detail, the company explains that they´ll be out of sight and safe from illegitimate uses. Further, the material inside wouldn´t be appropriate for proliferation purposes.

The reactors need to be refueled about every seven to ten years. After five years of generating power, Hyperion says that the module produces a total waste of about the size of a softball, which could be a candidate for fuel recycling.

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