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Study: New U.K. nuclear likely to be lower carbon source than solar or wind
A recent study of life cycle carbon emissions at the United Kingdom’s Hinkley Point C nuclear plant finds that the facility, now under construction in Somerset, England, is likely to produce less CO2 over its lifetime than either solar or wind power.
According to the 70-page analysis—prepared by environmental consultancy Ricardo Energy & Environment for NNB Generation Company HPC Limited, the holding company for the Hinkley Point project—lifetime emissions from Hinkley Point C are likely to be about 5.5g CO2e per kWh. That amount also holds for the proposed Sizewell C plant, the study concludes. (The two 1,630-MWe EPRs at Hinkley Point C are currently scheduled to begin commercial operation in 2026 and 2027.)
Hirokazu Ohta, Takanari Ogata, Dimitrios Papaioannou, Vincenzo V. Rondinell, Marc Masson, Jean-Luc Paul
Nuclear Technology | Volume 190 | Number 1 | April 2015 | Pages 36-51
Technical Paper | Fuel Cycle and Management | dx.doi.org/10.13182/NT14-50
Articles are hosted by Taylor and Francis Online.
An irradiation experiment on minor actinide (MA)-bearing uranium-plutonium-zirconium (U-Pu-Zr) alloys, in which contamination by rare earth (RE) elements was considered, was performed up to ~2.5 at. %, ~7 at. %, and ~10 at. % burnups in the Phenix fast reactor. All the irradiated metal fuel pins were subjected to nondestructive tests such as cladding profilometry and gamma spectroscopy. Then, cross-sectional metallography of the low-burnup and medium-burnup fuel alloys was performed, and the redistribution of the fuel matrix constituents—U, Pu, and Zr—in the low-burnup fuels was analyzed by energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. As a result, the irradiation growth of MA-rich and RE-rich precipitates was observed by comparing the low-burnup and medium-burnup fuels. From the postirradiation examinations carried out so far, it was confirmed that the irradiation swelling, the cross-sectional structures, and the migration of matrix constituent in metal fuels containing 5 wt% or less MAs and REs are almost the same as those in conventional U-Pu-Zr fuels.