Uniting nuclear and fossil fuels in a powerful, efficient and clean(er) energy processJuly 2, 2013
Michael Keller, writing at Energy Central, describes the hybrid-nuclear process, which uses a small modular reactor combined with a natural gas powered turbine. The result is a process that doubles the turbine’s electrical output while at the same time reducing the amounts of both spent nuclear fuel and CO2 emissions. Keller reports that the process reduces nuclear waste by 90% over standard reactors, and that the waste that it does produce is geologically stable. Emissions are cut by 30 to 70 percent, and water usage is cut, too, by up to 85%.
One of the difficult issues with electrification has always been the energy loss incurred when converting a fuel into electricity. For most fossil fuels, about half of the energy potential is lost. In the hybrid-nuclear process, the efficiency is around 80%, which drives operating costs down over time. The initial cost to build such a plant already is highly competitive with other power generation sources. The same process can be used in combination with coal gassification, at a slightly higher cost.