Monday, July 30, 2012 

Delaware IEEE Briefing on Nuclear Power in the U.S., and 
                           Observations from the Japan Incident
Speaker: Jamie Mallon, PSEG Nuclear Development Manager
  • The US consumes 19% of the world’s available energy, but has 5% of the population
  • World Energy Produced: US is at 14% Nuclear, which is typical of the World. Fossil is about 70%.
  • There are 436 operating nuclear plants; 67 under construction
  • The US has 100 GW capacity, and about 10 GW under constuction
  • Next is France with 65 GW; maybe 2 GW under construction
  • Next is Japan with 45 GW; maybe 3 GW planned(??)
  • Of note is China, who has about 10 GW now, but 30 GW under construction
  • In recent news and of interest is India, which has about 3 GW not, but 3 GW under construction.
  • US is rapidly going from lower cost capital coal fired plants to higher capital cost, but much lower fuel cost gas fired plants. Much of the load is going to plants designed for temporary, topping off use.
  • New Jersey produced power is 50% nuclear and 40% gas; however, they produce 60% of their demand. The rest comes from the grid.
  • Some interesting details about the Fukushima event:
  • Mallon was part of a team who were volunteers to help distressed nuclear power sites worldwide.
  • Team organized after 9/11.
  • The earthquake was handled OK. (designed to withstand 0.47g, actual was 0.53g)
  • The cooling water backup generators were flooded, eventually causing meltdowns. (Flood barrier was 5.7 meters, but actual was 14 meters). 
  • The reactor design was copied from an installation in the US midwest, which had no flooding (or earthquake) damage potential, but did have tornado damage potential. Therefore, in the US, the backup equipment was placed below ground. No design edits were made in spite of the huge difference in environment. Note that most office and non reactor buildings were higher elevation and suffered no damage from either earthquake or flood. 
  • There was also a design issue with the hydrogen venting system that was not understood for a period of time, but is now understood. This caused the hydrogen explosion problem.
Details about the PSEG Salem and New Hope Nuclear Generating Plants:
  • Second largest nuclear site in US at 3575 MW
  • Each of the 3 (Salem 1&2 and Hope Creek) units licensed for 60 years; until about 2040.
  • 18 month fuel renewal cycle; on site storage of waste good until about 2040. 
  • New nuclear construction will be of the AP1000 type, where no backup power is needed for cooling.

DE IEEE BRIEFING 07/30/2012 (PDF 4,012 kb)