Japan expects to produce oil using a mini-nuclear power plant

The Japanese company Toshiba, which earlier promised to supply a small nuclear mini-reactor, if not in every house, then practically every quarter, now offers to extract oil using such a reactor. Of course, oil will play a very important role in the world economy for many years to come, but the future of the Japanese project as well as the country's entire nuclear power industry is rather vague. Despite this, interest in mini-nuclear power plants today is in many countries around the world, including Russia, the United States, and EU countries.


Toshiba has been developing the Toshiba 4S mini-NPP project for quite a long time; this project was decoded as Super-Safe, Small and Simple - ultra-reliable, small and simple. According to the creators of this rekator, he had to have a service life of about 30 years (without reloading the fuel). The whole complex of the NPP and the reactor do not need constant maintenance - they only need episodic control by the serving character. The declared capacity of the mini-NPP was 10 MW. The reactor dimensions were 22 on 16 on 11 meters; it was supposed to use a metallic alloy of plutonium, uranium and zirconium as fuel. Serial production of such reactors in Japan is expected to be established no earlier than 2020 of the year. At one time in the USSR there was a similar project to create a mini-reactor "Elena".

Issues related to nuclear power after the accident at the Fukushima-1 NPP, cause a lot of uncertainty. In 2011, due to the panic caused by the strongest earthquake and subsequent tsunami, in Japan they seriously discussed the possibility of closing all nuclear power plants or at least suspending the construction of new power units. Despite this, at the end of 2012, the new Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, promised to start building new reactors, but this statement almost caused mass protests. It seems that the Japanese public will remember for quite a long time how, in the first months after the disaster at the Fukushima-1 NPP and the emergency stop of most of the NPPs located in northeast Japan, air conditioning was turned off in offices and trains even on hot days evening Tokyo was impossible to find out because of the illuminated illumination of shopping centers and skyscrapers. And the ghost of the Chernobyl disaster does not allow to forget about yourself.
Japan expects to produce oil using a mini-nuclear power plant

According to the Japanese newspaper Yomimuri Shimbun, without waiting for any decisions about the fate of reactors in Japan, Toshiba began creating a mini-reactor, inventing a very unusual sphere of use for its use: oil extraction from tar sands. It is in this form that deposits of oil in sufficiently large quantities can be found in Mexico, Venezuela and Canada, while only relatively recently, experts began to consider them as full-fledged oil reserves.

Oil production from tar sands can be performed in a variety of ways, but all of these can be very energy intensive, especially if the sand beds are at a sufficiently large depth. Most often we are talking about 300 meters and more. In the process of their production, the oil sands through the drilled well are saturated with hot steam, after which the resulting viscous material is pumped out with the help of another well, which is lower than the well with steam supply. In addition to high energy and water costs, this method of extraction has another drawback: gas boilers are used to produce steam, which are distinguished by high carbon dioxide emissions and relatively high labor costs.

Oil reserves, which is located in the tar sands in Orinoco (Venezuela) and Alberta (Canada), amount to about 2,0 and 1,7 trillion. barrels, respectively, while global reserves of ordinary oil at the beginning of 2006 were estimated at 1,1 trillion. barrels. Thus, tar sands account for up to 2 / 3 of all the world's oil reserves. According to the World Energy Council, there are about 600 oil sands deposits in the world, located in 23 countries of the world, with the largest in Canada. But the technologies used to extract this oil are not yet sufficiently efficient and economically viable.

It is worth noting that in the foreseeable future, the production of such oil will be no more than a few percent of the total production of “black gold”. The main difficulty lies in the fact that the extraction of oil from tar sands requires a large amount of fresh water and total energy costs, which according to some estimates constitute 2 / 3 of the energy potential of oil produced by this method.
Place of oil extraction from tar sands

According to experts, mini-nuclear power plants can be sufficiently used for oil production only if their introduction is economically feasible, and therefore will directly depend on the price of natural gas, and a continuous increase in prices for blue fuel is not at all axiom. As a result of the so-called “shale revolution” of the last decade, gas workers from the United States became so involved in gas production that prices overcame seriously due to overproduction. All this, of course, does not exclude the likelihood of toughening international legislation on the amount of harmful emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful substances into the atmosphere, which can make the mini-NPP quite attractive for the oil business. However, the difficulties encountered in extending the Kyoto Protocol in the 2012 year show how difficult it is to achieve intergovernmental coordination and cooperation in environmental matters.

In turn, Japanese journalists look to the future with optimism and well assess the chances of the mini-nuclear power plant project. According to them, only in Canada there are more than 100 petroleum deposits, which have enough oil reserves in Japan for 100 years. However, the Japanese concern Toshiba sees other prospects for its reactors. According to them, the power of reactors is quite enough for the operation of stations for the desalination of sea water or the operation of electrolytic equipment for vehicles on hydrogen fuel cells. In addition, such mini-reactors can be used as the most common power plants, although in this case you will probably have to carry out serious work with local residents who are unlikely to want to have an operating nuclear reactor in their yard.

It is worth noting that the creation of a mini-nuclear power plant, Japan began in the early 2000 years. Toshiba’s 2007 press release noted that the corporation hoped to use these reactors for sale to individuals. The use of mini-nuclear power plants should have been to provide homes with electricity and their heating. However, after the 2011 event of the year and Fukushima, this idea seems to have ceased to meet any enthusiasm among Japanese homeowners.

It is worth noting that the development of compact reactors is rather densely engaged not only in Japan, but also in the USA. The company from America Gen4 Energy, which until March last year was called Hyperion, is going to enter the mini-nuclear power plant market with a capacity of about 25 MW. The Hyperion reactor is a fairly compact unit that feeds on low-enriched uranium. Its capacity will not exceed 27 MW, which will be quite enough to ensure not the largest industrial production or 20 thousands of average households. According to the manufacturer, the cost of "nuclear" electricity will not exceed 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The prices for these mini-nuclear power plants also promise to be quite democratic. According to the executive director of the company, they will be sold on the market for about 25 million dollars apiece. For a community of thousands of households from 10, they will be a fairly affordable purchase — a total of 2 500 dollars per house. Although the company sees its main sales market primarily in the industry, it has already received 100 orders for its installations mainly from companies in the energy and oil-producing complex. The company's plans for the production of mini-nuclear power plants can be recognized as Napoleonic, for the period from 2013 to 2023, it expects to launch up to 4 000 such reactors to be manufactured at 3 facilities located in different parts of the world.

Information sources:
-http: //www.atomic-energy.ru/news/2013/01/18/38282
-http: //www.talonrus.ru/Bituminoznye_neftjnye_peski.html
-http: //www.membrana.ru/particle/3301
-http: //ru.wikipedia.org
Author:
Ctrl Enter

Noticed a mistake Highlight text and press. Ctrl + Enter

22 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must to register.

I have an account? Sign in

  1. itr
    itr 22 January 2013 09: 34 New
    • 3
    • 0
    +3
    I try to challenge if of course it works. In oil, there is such a thing called it NGL
    A wide fraction of light hydrocarbons. Let's just say the more it is in oil, the steeper it is and therefore more expensive. In life, it looks like water in a liquid state (I honestly didn’t see much) if it is immediately poured from a container into an open container (bucket), it will immediately begin to "Boil", that is, evaporate. Well, I strongly doubt that in these fields that the author describes, NGL will be present in that amount, at least for the production of diesel fuel. bitumen, it is bitumen. Let the Japanese mine it, I do not mind. I think for another 50 years, the peace treaty itself will be asked to conclude so that it can stick to normal resources. To be honest, no relation to the article is related to oil anymore. I liked the article.
    1. homeland
      homeland 23 January 2013 06: 51 New
      • 0
      • 0
      0
      NGL is not part of oil, it is part of associated petroleum gas. After the so-called “topping”, about 85-90% of the gas is obtained, which is used as ordinary natural gas. The remaining 10-15% form NGL.
      When transporting it by rail, it is liquefied by a transport, there are also pipelines through which NGL is transported.
      The passengers of two trains died in the accident of one of them in 1989, according to about 600 people, and more than 600 were hospitalized.
      Now in Russia there are about 2,5 thousand km of these pipelines, for comparison in the USA it is 60 times more.
      It is necessary to transport NGL in compliance with special safety requirements, then serious accidents can be avoided.
      NGL is very similar to champagne - if the pipe is damaged, this liquid turns into gas.
      I don’t understand what kind of value it is in question, but at the most modern recently launched large field in the Russian Federation, it will be burned by feeding it from a gas compressor station to a track heater.
  2. itr
    itr 22 January 2013 09: 50 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    10 cents per kilowatt hour it's honestly a lot
    1. Alexey 22 January 2013 11: 27 New
      • 0
      • 0
      0
      "10 cents per kilowatt hour is honestly a lot"
      Wrong 1 dollar per watt for sooooo many hours, or rather years
  3. Sinbad 22 January 2013 11: 19 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    Japanese policy on nuclear energy is not entirely clear. That refusal to use nuclear power plants, then the use of mini nuclear power plants.
  4. Misantrop
    Misantrop 22 January 2013 11: 48 New
    • 2
    • 0
    +2
    IMHO will not work for them nichrome. Especially in terms of the declared durability of the fuel assembly. In this type of energy, this issue is now the MOST bottleneck, partially resolved only in the USSR. Only in the USSR was the principle of training specialists with a FULL training cycle adopted. Everyone else believes that the well-worn technological instructions, i.e. the operator AT ALL is not a specialist and in case of an accident make the right decision not capable in principle. Which was demonstrated at Fukushima.

    And the second, no less important. "a metal alloy of plutonium, uranium and zirconium was supposed to be used as fuel." The trouble is that this alloy is metallic only ... at the time the assembly begins. Further there - hell knows what, but not metal. There is such a concept - "swelling" of nuclear fuel. The atom of uranium or plutonium during decay with the release of energy decays into two (or three, rarely) atoms. These atoms are almost any element from the middle part of the periodic table. And the distance between these atoms is no longer atomic, but molecular (and this is orders of magnitude greater). The assembly begins to swell. And this inflating continues until the strength of the fuel assembly protective sheath is exceeded. The vast majority of fuel assemblies are not replaced by exhaustion of fuel, but destruction. Since after the destruction, the most active (in radiation and chemical terms) fuel composition begins to be washed out by the coolant of the circuit, sharply increasing its radioactivity and abrading the structure of the circuit. What can this lead to, is it necessary to decrypt? Especially if there is a half-educated private trader in the operator’s chair ... winked
    1. Snake4
      Snake4 22 January 2013 14: 33 New
      • 1
      • 0
      +1
      In industrial heavy duty reactors - yes!
      But in assemblies of 10-30 megawatts, a fuel composition in the form of an alloy placed in a channel (remember RBMK), which is not directly in contact with the coolant, is quite possible.
      In addition, the presence of zirconium in the alloy apparently implies a rejection of isolated channels (like TVEL fuel assemblies) and the fuel itself becomes a structural element.
      I don’t presume to calculate in detail - I studied at another department, but the idea is quite viable. According to the manufacturers, the fuel is slightly enriched, that is, reactivity and power rise are very slow, but at the same time, long-term established work is quite possible.
      As an option - the use of separate containers for collecting decomposition products (in ЖМТ pr 705 BM-40A there was a similar principle for collecting decomposition products to prevent the reaction of the coolant).
  5. rudolff 22 January 2013 13: 38 New
    • 1
    • 0
    +1
    Misantrop, isn't it Dzerzhinka?
    1. Misantrop
      Misantrop 22 January 2013 17: 38 New
      • 0
      • 0
      0
      Quote: rudolff
      Is it not Dzerzhinka?

      Not Dzerzhinka. Holland, issue-83 wink
      Quote: Snake4
      fuel itself becomes a structural element.
      A structural element that arbitrarily and unpredictably changes all its characteristics? winked Well, well, Westinghouse does it famously, assemblies of its production are not only quarters of the resource not nursed, it’s also impossible to pull them out, so they swell wassat And the lack of contact with the coolant fuel dramatically reduces the efficiency of the installation.

      Quote: Snake4
      in LMT pr 705 BM-40A, there was a similar principle for collecting decomposition products to prevent the reaction of the coolant

      Well, just because of this, they had eternal problems of slagging. And with coolant leaks through holes drilled in the circuit. Their happiness was that alpha activity was mostly on that installation, otherwise no one would come close to those piers. I was at 705 in practice, an interesting setup, but ... ill-conceived
      Quote: Snake4
      low enriched fuel, i.e. reactivity and power rise are very slow

      But what do reactivity and fuel enrichment have in common? At the 2nd generation WWR, the maximum enrichment was no more than 29% (if not lower, the numbers already fall out of memory). And reactivity
      it had no effect. The heating rate was determined by the need for uniform heating of the metal of the circuit (100 degrees per hour with standard and 200 per hour with accelerated).

      But, one hell, a competent operator is needed, otherwise, in any emergency situation, we get the Fukushima option, when 4 blocks were blown up in a row according to the same technological instruction, rams wassat
      1. Snake4
        Snake4 22 January 2013 18: 01 New
        • 0
        • 0
        0
        Quote: Misantrop
        A structural element that arbitrarily and unpredictably changes all its characteristics? Well, well, Westinghouse does this famously, assembly of its production is not only impossible to take out quarters of the resource, it’s also impossible to pull them out, so they swell. And the absence of contact of the coolant with the fuel sharply reduces the efficiency of the installation.

        And who says that they will be pulled out? it is written - 30 years without changing the coolant.
        We take the tube of the channel, cover the outer radius with fuel, inside, leave the channel in the fuel to output decomposition products. I think it will last if the relative thickness of the fuel is commensurate with the channel wall.
        Well, at the expense of reducing efficiency, I do not quite agree, the same VVER works according to the channel principle, and even in the fuel element, I see the problem of only overheating the fuel compared to taking it directly from the fuel assembly.

        Quote: Misantrop
        Well, just because of this, they had eternal problems of slagging. And with coolant leaks through holes drilled in the circuit. Their happiness was that alpha activity was mostly on that installation, otherwise no one would come close to those piers. I was at 705 in practice, an interesting setup, but ... ill-conceived

        How many years have passed? I think this was dealt with. Moreover, we are considering a hypothetical installation in which the coolant does not come into contact with the fuel.

        Quote: Misantrop
        But what do reactivity and fuel enrichment have in common? At the 2nd generation WWR, the maximum enrichment was no more than 29% (if not lower, the numbers already fall out of memory). And this did not affect the reactivity.

        Yes, in principle, nothing but overall dimensions :) if the fuel channels are close, then the reactivity gradient will be sane, but they want to use a low-enriched one, so the relative density of the fuel should be higher to maintain the cycle.
        I think one stop of boron steel is enough for a stop in such an assembly :)

        Fukushima residents are generally good fellows, reserve diesel engines in containers on the coast, then they dragged them away in a wave, got confused with the release of pressure, and the control and monitoring system in their BWRs from below the AZs, you won’t raise without sparkling.
        1. Mikhail3 22 January 2013 19: 02 New
          • 2
          • 0
          +2
          What safety margin needs to be put in the pumps so that they plow for thirty years? In the seals ... yes in everything. And if you take ordinary equipment ... Boats and icebreakers come to the port, to the repair room. At the nuclear power plant, the repair zone with equipment is part of the station. And to these little ones, the repair plant should be taken, to each. And a very difficult repair plant, as you know. So the price of electricity is ... a little understated. Five times, if you take into account one more fact.
          The Japanese, no matter how many academies you finish, are incapable of retreating from the instruction. And the overhaul of this baby, and even standing near the unstable bitumen sands .. every repair, it will be a creative process comparable to the development of a new station. So we have to repair, no one else can. I think the "swelling" of fuel here is not the main issue ...
  6. PDM80 22 January 2013 14: 10 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    Japanese play with atomic energy, and the whole world will be pulled am
    1. Snake4
      Snake4 22 January 2013 14: 39 New
      • 3
      • 0
      +3
      With the same success, we can say that they played out with transistors and already pulled the whole world :))
      There is nothing unpredictable in nuclear power, there is only a poor design calculation and irresponsible operation.
      1. PDM80 22 January 2013 14: 56 New
        • 0
        • 0
        0
        This is all right. But damn it from Chernobyl transistors it doesn’t work! And we have them at our side, it is not yet known how Fakusima ekns to us! no
      2. Misantrop
        Misantrop 22 January 2013 17: 43 New
        • 1
        • 0
        +1
        Quote: Snake4
        there is only a poor design calculation and irresponsible operation

        That's it. Even the rights to drive vehicles are issued only after studying. And in Japan there is not even a training system for nuclear power plant operators. Generally there is NO. Or is it now called responsible operation? wink
  7. Uncle 22 January 2013 18: 10 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    I want such a reactor at the cottage !!!
    1. Misantrop
      Misantrop 22 January 2013 19: 26 New
      • 1
      • 0
      +1
      Quote: Uncle
      I want such a reactor at the cottage !!!

      What for? Better domestic subcritical "Daisy", for it in general control is not needed wink
      1. Uncle 22 January 2013 19: 33 New
        • 0
        • 0
        0
        Quote: Misantrop
        Better domestic subcritical "Daisy", for it in general control is not needed
        What is that?
        1. Misantrop
          Misantrop 22 January 2013 19: 49 New
          • 1
          • 0
          +1
          Quote: Uncle
          And what is it?
          Monoblock mounted externally on a diesel submarine. A closed loop of a fuel subcritical assembly, a turbogenerator and a condenser. Closed loop maintenance free. It starts once, and then only produces electricity until the assembly resource is exhausted. Those. box put into the water (to ensure the flow of the cooler through the condenser) and with cable entries connected to the submarine network
          1. Uncle 22 January 2013 19: 54 New
            • 1
            • 0
            +1
            Quote: Misantrop
            Monoblock mounted externally on a diesel submarine.

            I'll sober up and talk about submarines. The death of the Kursk, K 274, Komsomolets is very interesting for me. There will be a suitable topic, let's talk.
  8. gizz 22 January 2013 22: 43 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    The Japanese have competent staff even at large stations. And this is "Fukushima in every quarter."
  9. wesmann
    wesmann 27 January 2013 07: 14 New
    • 0
    • 0
    0
    They gave the monkey a grenade. Now we look at what she did to her.
    After such an outcome, forever forbid the yellow barbarians from approaching the atom.