In the news: February 1996

AECL Signs Indonesian Agreement (January 17, 1996) – Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL) has signed a technical co-operation agreement with Badan Tenaga Atom Nasional (BATAN), Indonesia’s atomic energy agency. The agreement will help Indonesia become familiar with CANDU technology and thereby facilitate consideration of CANDU for adoption as the basis of Indonesia’s planned power […]

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Government Support: Official Help in the Sales Department

The Presidential emissary told King Saud that the U.S. would make its nuclear technology available to Europe if the Suez Canal was used as a tool of blackmail. The decision to encourage nuclear exports was made within months of the Suez Crisis of 1956. The diffusion plants’ capital cost had largely been assumed by the […]

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Letter from the Editor: The Market Battle Begins

The history of nuclear power technology is often as much a political study as it is a technical study. Perhaps no other technological development has ever been so tied to the actions and interests of government bodies and foreign affairs. In this issue of AEI we will focus on the early market struggle between the […]

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Water vs. Gas Cooled Reactors: Round 1

In the period from 1966 to 1964, there were two basic reactor choices being offered for commercial electric power production. American companies were offering reactors that used ordinary water under pressure as the reactor coolant. British and French companies were offering reactors using pressurized CO2 gas as the reactor coolant. There were substantial technical differences […]

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Fuel Element Designs: Unique Selection Criteria

For natural uranium reactors, primary selection criteria is a low neutron cross section. A material that absorbs more than its share of neutrons would prevent the reactor from being able to produce any power at all.After making the coolant and moderator choices, certain other details moved higher on the priority list. Core engineers needed to […]

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Pressure Vessel Construction: Lower Pressure Makes it Easier

In the early 1950s, PWR pressure vessels large enough for a submarine plant were within the capabilities of the existing manufacturing infrastructure, but vessels large enough for electrical power generating stations were not.Like the American pressurized water reactor systems, gas cooled reactors operate at elevated pressures. Unlike water, however, which is kept under extreme pressure […]

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Letter from the Editor: First Nuclear Power Stations

Interestingly enough, the first industrial scale nuclear power plant for electrical production was Calder Hall 1, a carbon dioxide cooled reactor that began supplying Great Britain in May, 1956. This reactor and others like it have been reliable, long-lived sources of electrical power.In the December 1995 issue we focused on the design decisions made by […]

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CO2: First Choice for Power Reactors

During the period from 1946 until 1954, the single most important constraint governing the development of peaceful uses of atomic power was the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. This American law – passed after a failed attempt to establish an international control regime for nuclear materials – made it illegal to trade in nuclear knowledge […]

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Protection for Fuel Elements: Ensuring Saftey

Once Rickover’s team selected water as their primary reactor coolant, other material criteria became readily apparent. Though pure water at room temperature is a relatively benign environment, water at high temperatures is quite corrosive. Because radioactive fission products can be dangerous to human health, prudent reactor designers must devise methods to ensure that the fission […]

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Controlling Power: Temperature and Rods

Pressurized water reactors turned out to be extremely stable power producers. Because of the fact that water is used to moderate the energy level of neutrons, making them more effective in causing fission, the concentration of water in the core is an important part of determining the reactivity of the core. Temperature control An increase […]

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