Toshiba Corp. has been developing a small nuclear reactor for mining oil sands at the request of a firm engaged in such mining projects in Alberta Province, Canada, and aims to begin operating the reactor by 2020, it has been learned.
As the situation regarding the construction of new nuclear power plants and reactors in Japan remains unclear, Toshiba’s move will likely attract attention as an effort toward utilizing the nation’s nuclear technology in fields other than power generation.
Steam generated in the reactor will be sent to strata located at a depth of about 300 meters, where oil sands are found, to turn the sand into slurry. The slurry will then be extracted from the strata using a separate pipe.
To ensure the reactor’s safety, Toshiba reportedly plans to construct a nuclear reactor building underground, while the building itself will be equipped with an earthquake-absorbing structure.
The firm has completed a basic design for the reactor and has already started approval procedures for construction in the United States. After getting the official go-ahead from the U.S. government, Toshiba will then undergo safety checks in Canada.
Currently, oil sands are mined using boiler-generated steam. However, as this method requires natural gas to fuel the boilers, it is necessary to transport the gas as needed. Also, carbon dioxide emissions from burning natural gas is seen to be a problem.
By contrast, the planned small reactor would not require refueling for up to 30 years after construction or release any carbon dioxide. Furthermore, nuclear reactors would also be cheaper should the general price of natural gas increase.
Toshiba also plans to use the small reactor for purposes other than oil sands mining, the sources said.
For example, the firm is considering using it at desalination plants, which convert seawater into freshwater, or as a power source for electrolysis equipment to produce hydrogen for fuel battery-powered vehicles.
Usually, constructing a small reactor costs between 50 billion yen and 100 billion yen, less than 20 percent the cost of building a regular reactor. This would make the new reactor easier to introduce in frontier areas. Therefore, Toshiba has been working in Alaska and municipalities in northern Canada to introduce its small reactor as a small-scale power station.
To gain the understanding of local residents, Toshiba will disclose information about its small reactor to locals and carefully explain its safety to them.
Choose Language / 言語
Updates / 最新記事
- 「埋設保管土壌の回収」公開 郡山で回収作業実証実験 via 福島民友
- Settled in New York, but Still Within Chernobyl’s Reach via The New York Times
- Ebb in Uranium Enrichment in U.S. Raises Questions About Nuclear Policy via The New York Times
- Part of Radioactive Cargo Stolen in Mexico Is Recovered via The New York Times
- Fukushima two years on: a dirty job with no end in sight via the guardian
- Medical radioactive material truck ‘stolen in Mexico’ via BBC
- 放射性物質、メキシコで盗難 「汚い爆弾」の原料 via 朝日新聞
- 原発事故賠償の時効延長、特例法が成立 via 朝日新聞
- Which drone future will Americans choose? via The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists
- Japan in a Post-Growth Age via The New York Times
Archives / 月別アーカイブ
- December 2013 (28)
- November 2013 (164)
- October 2013 (200)
- September 2013 (255)
- August 2013 (198)
- July 2013 (208)
- June 2013 (231)
- May 2013 (174)
- April 2013 (156)
- March 2013 (199)
- February 2013 (191)
- January 2013 (173)
- December 2012 (92)
- November 2012 (198)
- October 2012 (229)
- September 2012 (207)
- August 2012 (255)
- July 2012 (347)
- June 2012 (231)
- May 2012 (168)
- April 2012 (116)
- March 2012 (150)
- February 2012 (198)
- January 2012 (292)
- December 2011 (251)
- November 2011 (252)
- October 2011 (364)
- September 2011 (288)
- August 2011 (513)
- July 2011 (592)
- June 2011 (253)
- May 2011 (251)
- April 2011 (571)
- March 2011 (494)
- February 2011 (1)
- December 2010 (1)
By Topic / トピック一覧
anti-nuclear energy movement Atomic Age Capitalism East Japan Earthquake + Fukushima energy policy EU food France health Hiroshima/Nagasaki IAEA India Inequality labor NRC nuclear waste Nuclear Weapons Radiation exposure Russia/Ukraine/Chernobyl TEPCO U.S. UK エネルギー政策 メディア ロシア/ウクライナ/チェルノブイリ 上関 健康 公正・共生 兵器 再稼働 労働における公正・平等 原発推進 反原発運動 大飯原発 女性・フェミニズム 広島・長崎 教育 東京電力 東日本大震災・福島原発 汚染水 米国 脱原発 被ばく 資本主義 除染