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Conferences and symposia. Forum "USPEKHI-2021": Climate change and global energy issues


New paradigm for civil nuclear energy. Perspectives from the hierarchy of energy sources and fundamental safety

 
Transform Insight Partners

This paper is a review and treatise extended in scope and based on a presentation made at the Uspekhi Forum on Climate Change and Global Energy. Following a brief overview of the history, status, and outlook of civil nuclear energy to present the key problems and challenges, this energy source is placed in a primary energy hierarchy on Earth with all classes of energy systems based on fundamental forces to reveal its unique characteristics that set civil nuclear energy qualitatively apart. A new paradigm is outlined with a distinct set of safety categories, design principles, and production methods that differ from conventional nuclear power, which leads to a global energy„ system solution for much broader development and deployment at scale in time to help mitigate climate change. Based on concepts and methods from studies of emergent properties in complex adaptive systems, we use a scaling method to analyze nuclear reactor safety and economics, and explicitly relate reactor unit scale, safety limits, and production volume to cumulative cost and capacity. Simultaneous improvement in and optimization of nuclear safety and economics are leading to small modular reactors (SMRs) and micro reactors (MRs) as exemplar technologies of the new paradigm. We show that select SMR and MR designs with deterministic fundamental safety should be manufactured, which can achieve substantial cost reductions as production volumes increase, following Wright's law observed in the majority of proven technologies. The new paradigm offers distinct and testable predictions, some of which have been partially tested, and some of which have surrogate tests from successful technologies and industries, which are also endowed with substantial transferable capabilities and capacities for implementation. The scaling principles and results should be generally applicable to other energy systems and the majority of manufactured goods.

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Fulltext is also available at DOI: 10.3367/UFNe.2021.08.039082
Keywords: nuclear energy, paradigm, primary energy hierarchy, fundamental safety, manufactured systems, economies of production volume, unit scale, small modular reactors, micro reactors, global energy solution
PACS: 28.41.−i, 28.50.−k, 89.30.Gg (all)
DOI: 10.3367/UFNe.2021.08.039082
URL: https://ufn.ru/en/articles/2022/11/g/
Citation: Li N "New paradigm for civil nuclear energy. Perspectives from the hierarchy of energy sources and fundamental safety" Phys. Usp. 65 1155–1187 (2022)
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Received: 24th, July 2021, 27th, August 2021

Оригинал: Ли Н «Новая парадигма для "мирного атома". Взгляд с точки зрения иерархии источников энергии и фундаментальной безопасности» УФН 192 1231–1274 (2022); DOI: 10.3367/UFNr.2021.08.039082

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