Nuclear Power Could Heat Your Home


The Consolidated Edison Power Plant in New York, June 4.


Taidgh Barron/Zuma Press

The rising value of vitality makes winter costly. The worth of heating oil in New England rose from $3 a gallon to $5 final winter, with $6 doable this yr in some areas because the battle in Ukraine disrupts vitality markets. Natural-gas costs might greater than double heating prices this winter. Nuclear energy provides an answer.

Nuclear crops warmth water, producing steam that spins turbine mills. The generators convert a few third of the steam’s warmth into electrical energy. The different two-thirds is wasted, sometimes absorbed by flowing river or ocean water or cooling towers.

Cogeneration is a means to make use of rejected warmth in buildings. Pipes flow into scorching water or steam in district heating methods reminiscent of these at Columbia and New York universities.

Consolidated Edison,

in New York City, operates the world’s largest district heating system. Its warmth supply is fossil fuels, however cogeneration is well-suited to make use of the waste warmth generated by nuclear energy.

China operates 4 AP1000 nuclear crops, designed by Westinghouse Electric Co. Each generates 1,110 megawatts of electrical energy. China added cogeneration and district heating to 2 AP1000 models in Haiyang, so the rejected warmth now heats seven million sq. ft of constructing house as a substitute of being wasted, to be expanded to 200 million sq. ft with later modifications.

China’s Power Investing Corp. has deliberate 4 models of the CAP1400, a extra highly effective model of the AP1000, at Haiyang. These reactors will present all 658,000 residents with warmth and generate electrical energy for a 3rd of Shandong province—inhabitants 102 million. China has additionally developed the DHR400 low-pressure reactor to warmth water for 200,000 three-bedroom residences.

By distinction, Georgia Power is struggling to construct the primary AP1000s within the U.S., at $9 a watt of producing capability. That is triple China’s value, triple the United Arab Emirates’ value for 4 South Korean reactors and triple the Massachusetts Institute of Technology value estimate for future U.S. AP1000s.

Generating electrical energy and working buildings is accountable for half of world vitality demand and CO2 emissions. Nuclear energy could be the most cost effective, quickest means to offer dependable warmth and energy and to halve emissions. Let the U.S. lead in regulatory effectivity and put a nuclear energy plant in each metropolis’s yard.

Mr. Hargraves teaches at Dartmouth’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and is a co-founder of ThorCon International, a nuclear engineering firm.

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Appeared within the July 14, 2022, print version.