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Topic Title: Thermal Power Output the Civilian Equivalent to a Submarine Nuclear Reactors
Topic Summary: Order of Magnitude Calculations
Created On: 05 December 2013 05:01 PM
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 05 December 2013 05:01 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

For the purpose carrying out order of magnitude calculations the inner-volume of submarine nuclear reactor can be considered to be roughly the size of a dustbin (Source: UK Ministry of Defence).

The volume of a UK household dustbin in the UK is around 100 to 200 litres. (e.g. my Dustbin has a height of 0.6 metres and a diameter of 0.5 metres, which gives a volume of 0.12 cubic metres)

"Reactors used in submarines typically use highly enriched fuel (often greater than 20%) to enable them to deliver a large amount of power from a smaller reactor and operate longer between refuelings"

[Source Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_submarine

From my point of view there is no point in trying to estimate the actual thermal power output of submarine nuclear reactors, since they can use very highly enriched Uranium-235 nuclear fuel that is not available for civilian applications.

Therefore I have inserted the above words "Civilian Equivalent" to allow for this...

The power density obtainable from civilian equivalent to a submarine nuclear reactors is in the range 1 MW/m3 (for Magnox power density) to 100MW/m3 (quoted power density for some Generation IV designs)

Therefore the power output from the Civilian Equivalent to a Submarine Nuclear Reactor the voulme of my household dustbin is in the range 0.12 MWt to 12MWt



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James Arathoon
 05 December 2013 08:49 PM
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kengreen

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James,

I'm not really sure of your object in that last post but my own researches revealed that when a nuclear submarine returned to port it takes ten men three days to shut down the reactor.

It takes a similar time and effort to bring the reactor back on line.

It seems to me that this kind of routine rules out nuclear energy on a domestic scale?

Ken Green
 06 December 2013 12:31 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
Joined: 05 September 2004

Originally posted by: kengreen

I'm not really sure of your object in that last post but my own researches revealed that when a nuclear submarine returned to port it takes ten men three days to shut down the reactor.

It takes a similar time and effort to bring the reactor back on line.

It seems to me that this kind of routine rules out nuclear energy on a domestic scale?


Ken,

You must use an awful lot of energy, to investigate the practicalities of using the equivalent of a submarine nuclear reactor to heat and power your house!

I suspect if you need this much power, you are rich enough to employ a large workforce (however large that may be) to turn the nuclear heating system on and off for you. You would also be rich enough to pay for the nuclear site licence and other regulatory permits from the ONR etc.



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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 02:27 AM
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kengreen

Posts: 400
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James,
it is not true that curiosity killed the cat - such animals are very quick on their feet.

I heat my house with anthracite!

Ken Green
 06 December 2013 09:58 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
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Originally posted by: kengreen

I heat my house with anthracite!



So I take it you have a coal fired power station in your backyard you once considered replacing with the equivalent of a submarine nuclear reactor...

If you had a submarine nuclear reactor with a power output of10MWt and ran an electricity generator with a 30% efficiency and 80% utilisation, then the income at £92.5 per MWh (Hinkley Point C 2012 Prices) is

£92.5 x 10 x 0.3 x 0.8 x 365 x 24 = £1.9 million per year income

The national minimum wage for an adult is £6.31 an hour, so this income will buy you 300,000 person hours (around 150 people full time for a year), one or two orders of magnitude more people than would be required to of to turn the reactor on and off occasionaly or prepare anthracite for burning!

Get in the spirit of order of magnitude caculations please - this is what this post is all about after all.

You need to know the mass of anthacite you burn each year along with its calorific value, to be able to calculate the size of nuclear reactor you would need to cover your domestic energy needs. I take it you live in a castle in the aether and use a lot of coal.



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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 11:33 AM
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kengreen

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James,

You are entirely wrong! The main source of power in my house is an Aga CB . This consumes just under 3 tons of anthracite per year and provides us with a permanent solid core of heat, a permanent hotplate and a permanent simmer plate, a hot oven around 700 - 800 C and a permanent cool oven roundabout 250 C. It requires attention for about ten minutes first thing every morning and again for about 5 minutes before bed.

We do use mains electricity for lighting, occasional space heating and to run our water and sewage pumps - that is when the supply is operating in which case we keep a case of candles as a pack or matches and retire to the kitchen.

Some time there was a man who said: "in being brief I am become obscure"? No one at all could accuse you of being brief?

Ken Green
 06 December 2013 12:05 PM
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jarathoon

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Apparently anthracite has an energy content ranging from 7 kWh per kg to 9 kWh per kg.

This puts your anthracite energy consumption at between 21,000 kWh and 27,000 kWh per year. At current gas prices 4.5 p per kWh this would cost between £945 and £1215 per year. At the currently proposed Hinkley Point C retail price for electricity (28p per kWh) this rises to between £5880 and £7560 per year.

The national minimum wage is £6.31 an hour, working 8 hour days for 50 weeks of the year is 2000 hours work, giving a total income of £12,620 before tax.

I conclude that although you do not need a submarine nuclear reactor in your home, in a few years you will need to earn much more than the minimum wage to pay your energy bills.

(The average UK values are 16900 kWh in terms of natural gas and 4000 kWh in terms of electricity.)

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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 12:31 PM
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jarathoon

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"At the currently proposed Hinkley Point C retail price for electricity (28p per kWh) this rises to between £5880 and £7560 per year."

The National Minimum Wage for an apprentice emplyed to learn how to run and maintain your Aga CB is £2.68 per hour. 2000 hours @ £2.68 per hour = £5360, which would be less than your fuel costs at Hinkley Point C retail electricity prices.



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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 04:02 PM
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Zuiko

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Originally posted by: kengreen

James,



I'm not really sure of your object in that last post


That makes at least two of us.
 06 December 2013 04:21 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1040
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Originally posted by: Zuiko

Originally posted by: kengreen

James,

I'm not really sure of your object in that last post


That makes at least two of us.


You are an intelligent engineer, make an informed guess, from a list of credible options!

Hint: Ken's domestic fuel bill is not my main concern. Although I am very concerned about the number of excess deaths in the UK during winter cold snaps.

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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 04:56 PM
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Zuiko

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James,
Hint: fewer words.
 06 December 2013 05:16 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: Zuiko

James,

Hint: fewer words.


Ok I don't undersand, what you don't understand.



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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 05:40 PM
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Zuiko

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James,
Do you mind if I ask what your day-job is? Are you in the energy industry (generation/distribution etc.)?
cheers
 06 December 2013 07:18 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: Zuiko

James,

Do you mind if I ask what your day-job is? Are you in the energy industry (generation/distribution etc.)?

cheers


I am an independent systems integration engineer and engineering consultant, who has worked in many industrial sectors, and care deeply about the future of this country. In my youth I spent two years studying mechanical engineering at Manchester University and three years studying Geophysics at Lancaster University. After that I spent 3 years studying atmospheric physics at post graduate level. After that I spent 5 years working in the chemical industry in Huddersfield, Grangemouth and Waalwijk in the Netherlands (not petrochemicals, but agrochemicals and other sorts of chemicals including resins). I have also worked in the transport sectors, retail sector and many other industrial sectors. I have visted many industrial facilities over the years including Sellafield and Calder Hall (when it was working) several times, Fiddlers Ferry Power Station, Iron and Steel Works, Ministry of Defence sites, BAE Systems sites etc etc. I can't remember whether I visited the toy nuclear reactor at Risley, but it was certainly still running while I was at Manchester University, and I was on the same engineering course as the Nuclear Engineers that did train on it. I studied technical drawing, engaged in machine workshop training several times over, both at school and university. Can weld badly. Can solder.

I am not in the pay of any of the big six energy suppliers, or national grid or any other special interest or lobbying group with interests in the energy sector. All views expressed are my own. I am sorry I do not have a position of authority, or a title, given to me by others, to help me in regards to questioning other peoples authority. You either take me and my arguments seriously or you don't; your choice pure and simple.

I have been to very many energy conferences, workshops and lectures over last few years including the IET's first Renewable Energy Conference held in Edinburgh in late 2011. I do not hide behind a cloak of anonymity and am not a paid worker of the IET, frequenting these forums as part of my job. I raise questions on this forum to bounce ideas and to see what response they get. Some of my questions views have been interesting to other engineers and some not.

Executive Summary:
The current energy policy formulated by the government is not credible as I have argued on many many occasions. I will press on relentlessly for major changes in UK energy policy using the best arguments I can find, including some you may have expressed. You can engage with this process by engaging with my arguments, as you normally do, in a succinct, positive, helpful and productive manner. If you disagree with the main thrust of my arguments and support the new Energy Bill, and the vast wave of subsidies that it will bring, then start your own threads and make your case.

None of this has anything to do with the topic of this thread, so I will stop there.


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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 07:42 PM
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Zuiko

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Why always so verbose? You are certainly one to write 1000 words when 10 will do.

I asked if you worked in the energy industry, not for a copy of your CV! The reason I asked is because this thread about dustbins is...bizarre.

I read the first sentence and saw the answer to my question was "no". The rest...too many words.

cheers

Edited: 06 December 2013 at 07:49 PM by Zuiko
 06 December 2013 09:04 PM
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jarathoon

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Joined: 05 September 2004

I am verbose because I choose to be. This is not a private reply it is a public conversation. Therefore I will not do as you tell me; I will do as I think best.


Originally posted by: Zuiko

The reason I asked is because this thread about dustbins is...bizarre.



Eventually you make a precise point I can address, rather than going round the houses...

Quite often people ask me why can't we use submarine nuclear reactors in civilian applications. In fact Ken Green asked this question in another thread, bust has now obviously forgotten.

I have ansered this question by saying that the exact design parameters of a submarine nuclear reactor are a state secret. All the MOD will say is that the inner-volume of a submarine nuclear reactor is about the size of a dustbin. Hence this "bizarre" post.

Why do I need to know?
I need to know the rough size and performance of a submarine nuclear reactor because I want to compare and contrast how the defence nuclear industry is regulated in terms of safety, compared with the civilian nuclear industry. If we don't allow passively safe fourth generation nuclear innovation to proceed cost effectively (with reduced containment as with a nuclear submarine), we may have to accept that there will be more and more excess winter deaths as energy prices rise year after year to 2060 and beyond [Hinkley Point C EPR 35 year contract starting in 2025 and Horizon Wylfa ABWR 35 year contract starting in 2025]



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James Arathoon
 06 December 2013 10:32 PM
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kengreen

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Oh James,

I must admit to being the last person fit to criticise your posts; you see I have to rely on a nonsensical application Dragon. Although it condescends to use an English dictionary it insists that American grammar and syntax of the only correct forms - somewhat like the attitude of the RC church?

I simply lack the time and patience to plough through your verbal onslaughts; winkling out the Dragon's running jumps is about my limit in trimming verbiage.

However I am happy to inform you that the miserly allowances and the barely perceptible state pension e nsure that I will not enter the deceased state during the winter. Oh! I omitted to say that our Aga supplies us also with all the hot water that we can use!

BTW from my researches I can assure you that every possible precaution is taken about radiation hazards in nuclear submarines. in design, construction and maintenance and In every branch of engineering, so excellence - and nothing but excellence - is acceptable.

Ken Green
 06 December 2013 11:40 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: kengreen

BTW from my researches I can assure you that every possible precaution is taken about radiation hazards in nuclear submarines. in design, construction and maintenance and In every branch of engineering, so excellence - and nothing but excellence - is acceptable.



I am very pleased to hear this. Could you give me the rough year or decade in which your researches took place?


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James Arathoon
 07 December 2013 10:26 AM
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kengreen

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between 18 and 24 months ago.

Ken Green
 08 December 2013 07:38 PM
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jarathoon

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The Minimum Wage is clearly now being used as a guide for setting the Minimum Wage Rise.for MP's salaries.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...use-pay-increase.html

In pocketing the 11% (£7,600) pay rise, MP's will have future energy bills (at Hinkley Point C prices) covered; even when their expense claims are rejected. By law there has to be another pay review for MP's in 2015 straight after the next election, so they can vote through the Energy Bill with confidence. Even if there are energy shortages and massive price spikes in energy in the next few years, as Ofgem and National Grid warn, they should be ok.

This is not the case for everyone. The Energy Bill (or as some call it, the Elderly Fuel Poor Euthanasia Bill) will have severe consequences for many, especially the poorest in the worst quality rented accommodation. It has been estimated that there were 31,000 excess winter deaths last year. That's approximately 47 or 48 excess winter deaths per constituency. The £7,600 wage rise for MP's could perhaps be better spent by spreading it between the families of the deceased who couldn't afford to heat their home; each family getting roughly £150 to help with the funeral expenses.

Unfortunately, as fuel bills are set to rise year on year for another 45 years, MP's might not be able to keep up with this level of generosity for long, even allowing for lots more inflation busting pay rises in the pipeline. Perhaps we can ask the Lord's to chip in as well.



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James Arathoon
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