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The Impact of Climate Changes on the Thermal Performance of a Proposed Pressurized Water Reactor: Nuclear-Power Plant

DOI: 10.1155/2014/793908

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Abstract:

This paper presents a methodology for studying the impact of the cooling water temperature on the thermal performance of a proposed pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant (PWR NPP) through the thermodynamic analysis based on the thermodynamic laws to gain some new aspects into the plant performance. The main findings of this study are that an increase of one degree Celsius in temperature of the coolant extracted from environment is forecasted to decrease by 0.39293 and 0.16% in the power output and the thermal efficiency of the nuclear-power plant considered, respectively. 1. Introduction The main use of water in a thermoelectric power plant is for the cooling system to condense steam and carries away the waste heat as part of a Rankine steam cycle. The total water requirements of the plant depends on a number of factors, including the generation technology, generating capacity, the surrounding environmental and climatic conditions, and the plant’s cooling system, which is the most important factor governing coolant flow rate. Thermal power plants are built for prescribed specific design conditions based on the targeted power demand, metallurgical limits of structural elements, statistical values of environmental conditions, and so forth. At design stage, a cooling medium temperature is chosen for each site considering long term average climate conditions. However, the working conditions deviate from the nominal operating conditions in practice. For this reason, efficiency in electricity production is affected by the deviation of the instantaneous operating temperature of seawater cooling water of a nuclear power plant from the design temperature of the cooling medium extracted from environment to transfer waste heat to the atmosphere via a condenser. Present nuclear plants have about 34–40% thermal efficiency, depending on site (especially water temperature). The cooling process in nuclear power plants requires large quantities of cooling water. The huge amounts of water withdrawal and consumption cause that the electricity has to face the impacts of climate change, that is, in form of increasing sea temperatures or water scarcity. For instance, if seas exhibit too high water temperatures, the continued use of water for cooling purposes may be at risk because the cooling effect decreases and also water quality regulations could be violated. An increase in the temperature of cooling water may have impact on the capacity utilization of thermal power plants in two concerns: (1) reduced efficiency: increased environmental temperature reduces thermal

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