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TMR for nuclear power generation: Developing a viable source of energy

TMR for nuclear power generation: Developing a viable source of energy

tech innovation 2022

a research team from Ritsumeikan University, Japanhas investigated TMR for nuclear power generation.

Rapidly increasing population with urbanization and industrialization is increasing the demand for energy which is increasing significantly every day. The scientists note that today’s current challenge is centered around meeting these energy needs, while also ensuring that global warming is being kept under control, a situation that fossil fuels are unable to meet. are unable. Thus, in an effort to reduce the environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources associated with the use of fossil fuels, scientists are looking at nuclear power and the total material (TMR) required for nuclear power production.

This paper will be published in section 363 of the Journal of cleaner production On 20 August 2022.

How do scientists determine the environmental impact of nuclear power?

To determine how an energy source, such as nuclear power, affects the environment, the researchers performed a life cycle assessment (LCA). Therefore, most studies have assessed life cycle cumulative energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions related to electricity generated through nuclear power.

However, most of these studies considered GHG emissions as well as the amount of energy consumed, which could potentially lead to a less comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact and sustainability of electricity generated through nuclear power. For example, scientists are yet to understand the total resources used during this process.

providing a holistic view

To provide a more holistic perspective, researchers at Ritsumeikan University analyzed the environmental impact of TMRs for nuclear power generation through a less-considered measure. It is the amount of resources extracted from the lithosphere during the life cycle of this process.

The team focused on mining methods, nuclear reactor types, types of uranium fuel cycle systems used during nuclear power generation, and how these change the environmental impact of the process. Additionally, they also evaluated different grades of mined uranium ore—a highly variable unit—and its impact on TMR for nuclear power generation.

“Resource utilization for 1kWh nuclear power generation based on uranium was determined by analyzing an LCA TMR,” explained Shoki Kosai, associate professor and corresponding author of the study.

“We considered open and closed fuel cycles, and three types of uranium mining methods: open pit mining, underground mining, and in situ leaching (ISL), among other variables in nuclear power generation, for the LCA as a whole.” GHG emissions and natural resource use were later assessed for these variables.

The researchers found that enriched uranium fuels had the highest TMR coefficients – which reflect mining intensity – followed by nuclear fuel, reprocessed uranium fuel, mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, and finally, yellow-cake.

Additionally, the research team noted that the grade of the uranium ore also had a major effect on the TMR coefficient. This meant that TMR varied significantly with different mining methods, with in situ leaching having the lowest TMR. However, mining method had a more significant impact on resource use than its effect on GHG emissions.

“We found that a closed cycle that reprocesses uranium fuel uses 26% fewer resources than an open cycle that does not reuse its by-products,” said Professor Eiji Yamasu of Fuels Talking about the effect of chakra, he said.

an eco-friendly source of electricity

In addition, it was discovered that the natural resource use of nuclear power generation was similar to that of renewable energy and significantly lower than that of thermal power generation. Furthermore, global warming potential and TMR for nuclear power generation exhibited significantly different trends. With fewer GHG emissions, nuclear power generation also used fewer natural resources, highlighting it as an environmentally friendly source of electricity generation.

“It is important to maintain a circular economy, even for the use of resources. Our findings may aid policy makers in formulating long-term energy policies that consider electricity and electricity generation using nuclear power,” concluded Dr. Kosai.

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TMR for nuclear power generation: Developing a viable source of energy

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