A question about nuclear reactors and backup power

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A question about nuclear reactors and backup power

Postby Spudd86 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:59 pm

I've been wondering for a while now why they don't use the residual heat coming from the fuel to run either a thermocouple or a Stirling engine to run pumps to keep the core cool when they loose external power.

Does anyone here know?

Is it just that you can't put the components in a place that will work?

Does the reactors residual decay heat not give enough power for it to be effective?

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Postby mvanwink5 » Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:54 pm

Heat devices actually work on deltaT, so a heat sink is needed and heat flow must take place with heat rejected likely being twice heat converted to power.
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Postby WizWom » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:45 pm

theoretically, nuclear plants are able to use low-quality steam from waste heat to power their low pressure turbines, thus providing local power needs.
I've never heard of it actually being done, though.
However, Fukushima Daiichi's trouble was not lack of power so much as the flooded power rooms, which basically shorted out all electrical distribution.
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Postby zapkitty » Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:55 pm

WizWom wrote:Fukushima Daiichi's trouble was...

... the meltdowns in progress before the tsunami ever hit?

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