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Thursday, 20 March 2008

Calculation of CO2 in Nuclear Power Plant Construction

If you are looking for some simple but effective calculations to answer such apparently complex question as:

-What is the CO2 pollution from nuclear construction and what is it’s significance? or
-How much CO2 is produced when making the 520,000 cubic meters of concrete and 67,000 tonnes steel needed to make in a 1GW nuclear power station?

Then an excellent place to start is Tim Jarvis’s blog notes. Calculation methods and data sources are clearly stated as are any order of magnitude approximations made.

I strongly recommend the interested reader to visit the above reference and many other posts on Tim's web-log.

Tim's approach naturally caught my attention as a metallurgist, involved in the energy intensive manufacturing of clean steels and special alloys, for many years. Processes involved are often by definition, of the more controllable, electric steelmaking type, whose heat source is totally independent of chemically produced heat, eg. from carbon combustion with oxygen (CO2)or other chemical or metallic additions. High duty high reliability applications would typically include high temperature (creep resistant = slow stretching or flow) corrosion resistant, high strength and toughness aeronautic and nuclear quality grades...

Therefore, I am particularly pleased to reference more widely, sources of CO2 pollution from steelmaking mostly from Tim’s site but also my own questioning leading to a short review from IISI “International Iron & Steel Institute's data.

1. Danish Technology Institute report on CO2 in concrete production.

2. Blue Scope Steel

3. Azom Materials suggests around 2 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel.

4. Tata Steel claims
between 1.2 and 1.9 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of steel, depending on the process.

5. The International Iron & Steel Institute (IISI), based in London is probably one of the most authoritative if not the most authoritative global reference for CO2 in crude steel.

Jarvis concludes, as his article title indicates that:
CO2 pollution from nuclear construction is irrelevant

He recognises and pin-points the many of the implications for energy sources and the urgency required if CO2 reduction is to be properly addressed.

"This ignores the pollution from getting the fuel and running the plant. Also remember the CO2 is largely produced up front, which is bad news for quick CO2 reduction, but even building 10 GW of capacity to replace the UK's ageing plants will only produce 3 million tonnes of CO2 during construction - less than 1% of UK CO2 pollution in one year."

Thanks Tim for an enlightening piece of work.

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High Purity Cr sources for Superalloys

Energy for th Future:Phil.Trans.A-Vol. 365, N° 1853 / April 15, 2007, curtesy The Royal Soc. London

Engineered foams and porous materials: Phil Trans A. Vol 364, N° 1838 / 06 curtesy_The R Soc. Lond