Chapter 13 – Industrial Applications and Nuclear Co-generation

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) defined cogeneration as the integration of nuclear power plants with other systems and applications. 

The heat generated by the nuclear power plants can be used to produce a vast range of products such as cooling, heating, process heat, desalination and hydrogen. The use of nuclear energy for cogeneration provides many economic, environmental and efficiency-related benefits. Cogeneration options may be different; depending on the technology, reactor type, fuel type and temperature level.

Source: IAEA

Here are the guidelines for using the following nuclear power reactors such as:

  • The Light Water Reactor (LWR); Heavy Water Reactor (HWR); and Small Modular Reactor (SMR) are suitable for use in district heating and desalination systems due to their working temperature range of 280-325°C;
  • The working temperature range of other types including Liquid Metal Fast Reactor (LMFR); High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTGR); Supercritical Water Reactor (SCWR); Gas Fast Reactor (GFR); and Modular Helium Reactor (MHR) are from 500-800°C makes them suitable for various cogeneration options;
  • The high working temperature range of 750-950°C of High Temperature Gas Reactor (HTGR) using helium as a coolant makes them suitable for generation of process heat and hydrogen in cogeneration mode; and
  • The working temperature ranges of Supercritical Water (SCWR) 430-625°C; Gas Fast Reactor (GFR) ~850°C; and Molen Salt Reactor (MSR) 750-1000°C make them suitable for production of hydrogen, process heat and desalination of sea water when they are used as cogeneration systems.

Other potential area of process heat applications of nuclear power which of interest to Member States and supported by the Agency is the oil sand/oil shale extraction and enhancement of oil recovery (such industrial applications have been applied in Canada, Switzerland and India).