Posted in Engineering, Nuclear Fusion, sustainable energy

Cost | TerraPower

http://terrapower.com/pages/cost

The benefits of Travelling Wave Reactors with TerraPower is outlined in their website. But what about the disadvantages, such as:
– needs to be large (similar size to a conventional nuclear power plant, more than 1 GW), which has disadvantages over more smaller, more distributed energy sources; takes longer to construct plants and scale development; and requires a lot of embodied energy to produce the materials for the plant; and makes it harder to use for motive energy (as opposed to stationary energy) such as space travel;
– not cheaper than coal fired power, not accounting for externalities;
and
– “TerraPower has also estimated that wide deployment of TWRs could enable projected global stockpiles of depleted uranium to sustain 80% of the world’s population at U.S. per capita energy usages for over a millennium.” While this is an impressive claim, it is still an energy source that is more finite, and less renewable, than other energy sources, such as nuclear fusion, solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal.
– my understanding is that the temperatures of a TWR are 10 fold higher than conventional fission, at a similar magnitude to nuclear fusion. This complicates matters, and it will be interesting to see when (if at all) and how this is achieved at a scale of commercially viable power production.

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