« PrécédentContinuer »
The Board considered the possibility of completion of the WNP-1 Light
Water Power Reactor on the Hanford site and conversion to tritiun production
as a NPR. We treated this a bit separately from our assessment of the basic
technologies because it is a specific piece of hardware.
We recognized that
it was an important consideration because it offers the possibility of a
shorter schedule and lower initial costs than that of a new reactor of any
We were concerned, however, about uncertainties of the schedule
associated with the WNP-1 because of the need to develop the target techno
logy, the time needed to implement the legal processes to acquire the
reactor, and the uncertainty of obtaining public acceptance of conversion of
a commercial reactor to defense applications.
Risks, Benefits and Costs
The ERAB noted that a very important factor in assuring safe and
reliable production of nuclear materials is the naturity of the reactor and
The HWR has an advantage in this respect.
The use of multiple smaller reactors of a given type offer advantages
of protection against loss of all capacity, flexibility of operation and
production, and increased potential for the use of passive safety features,
but at some added cost.
The ERAB believes that the use of multiple, smaller
reactors should be considered for any technology that is selected.
The use of multiple reactors with diverse technologies and located at
separate sites offers additional benefits of providing higher production
assurance, reduced uncertainty in the schedule, and less technical risk, but
again at higher cost.
A single unit NPR is the lowest initial cost option,
but carries the operational risk of unexpected loss of all capacity for an
If a single-technology option were selected, it would be
prudent to develop target technologies for other reactor types to provide
for future contingencies.
The most significant effect on overall cost of the NPR would come from
the revenue gained by the sale of energy produced by the NPR.
The amount of
this revenue cannot be determined accurately at this time.
The sale of
steam to a utility for conversion to electricity is preferred to the genera.
tion of power by the NPR because defense material production would be better
separated from electric power production, the initial investment would be
reduced, and external institutional interactions with regulatory agencies
and utility customers would be reduced.
The revenue to be gained can only
be determined accurately by negotiations with electric utilities at the
I have rather briefly summarized some of the issues that I feel are
important to decisions on the NPR.
I would be happy to try to answer
questions on these or any other aspects of the ERAB NPR report.