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Energy Analysis of Coal, Fission, and Fusion Power Plants

Nicholas Tsoulfanidis

Fusion Science and Technology

Volume 1 / Number 2 / April 1981 / Pages 238-254


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The method of net energy analysis has been applied to coal, fission, and fusion power plants. Energy consumption over the lifetime of the plants has been calculated for construction, operation and maintenance, fuel, public welfare, and land use and restoration. Thermal and electric energy requirements were obtained separately for each energy consuming sector. The results of the study are presented in three ways: total energy requirements, energy gain ratio, and payback periods. All three types of power plants are net producers of energy. The coal and fusion power plants are superior to fission plants from the energy efficiency point of view. Fission plants will improve considerably if the centrifuge replaces the gaseous diffusion as a method of enrichment.

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