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Nuclear power stations have become more efficient and safer inter alia due to learning from valuable operational experience, largely in reaction to major and near accidents. However, dread of rare but possible severe accidents, reliance upon unfailing human performance at various levels, and dependence on social stability, emphasize the importance of further safety improvements, for which challenging criteria were conveyed in Sect. 2.2. To achieve them, key design features (“building blocks”) are viewed and revisited and should be combined in a radically new way, to come up with “revolutionary” or even “exotic” system designs. To check whether such designs are feasible, we track most recent developments of reactor concepts focusing on differing (1) coolants, including liquid metals and molten salt, (2) neutron spectrum from thermal to fast, (3) power level, (4) fundamental design features (architecture) and purpose, and (5) ability to extend fuel reserves and “burn” waste. The designs selected are scored against the set of very stringent, highly ambitious criteria. The results show a high potential for far-reaching improvements compared to most advanced LWRs in use today. Small modular reactors emerge as being the most attractive. However, thus far, none of the candidate concepts fulfill all the criteria convincingly; avoiding criticality induced accidents and maximizing proliferation resistance appears most challenging. There is also a potential for new concept-specific risks to be introduced but this appears manageable. Although caution is warranted, a purely deterministic safety approach is tempting, in that we would like to absolutely exclude the possibility of severe accidents.
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- Candidate Features and Technology Options
- Chapter 6
Systemische Notwendigkeit zur Weiterentwicklung von Hybridnetzen