IAEA

Report
Using High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors for
low grade phosphate rock processing
Nils Haneklaus1 , Ewald Schnug2,
Harikrishnan Tulsidas3, Frederik Reitsma1
1 Section
of Nuclear Power Technology Development, Division of Nuclear Power, IAEA, Vienna
International Centre, PO Box 100, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
2 Technical
3 Section
University Braunschweig - Faculty 2 Life Sciences, Pockelsstraße 14, D-38106
Braunschweig, Germany
of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials, Division of Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Waste Technology,
IAEA, Vienna International Centre, PO Box 100, A-1400 Vienna, Austria
IAEA
International Atomic Energy Agency
Introduction
(1) High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGRs)
(2) Phosphate rock – overview and uranium content
(3) HTGRs for energy neutral processing of low-grade phosphate rock
(4) Conclusions - outlook
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High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGRs)
Overview
Structure:
• Thermal reactor
• Coolant: Helium
• Moderator: Graphite
Characteristics:
Reactor core (pebble bed)
Reactor core (block type)
• High efficiency
• Process heat
• Inherent safety
characteristics
• Flexible fuel
(Uranium/Thorium)
Side reflector
Helium ≈ 250 ˚C
Helium up to 1000 ˚C
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High Temperature Gas-cooled Reactors (HTGRs)
Past experience – current development
DRAGON
(1963-1976)
PB-1
(1967-1974)
AVR
FSR
THTR
(1967-1988)
(1976-1989)
(1986-1989)
PBMR
HTTR
HTR-10
(1994-2009)
(since 1998)
(since 2000)
HTR-PM
(under construction)
HTR-PM
(construction side Shandong Province)
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Phosphate rock – resource that feeds the world
Overview
• Finite resource – presently not recycled
• > 160 million metric tons/yr mined, 90% used for
fertilizer production
• No substitute for phosphate rock in fertilizer
production
• Lower grade deposits need to be developed
Energy intensive thermal
processes/beneficiation methods will have to
be employed
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Source: http://www.fao.org/docrep/007/y5053e/y5053e00.htm#Contents, accessed 2013-07-27
Phosphate rock
Uranium content
• Phosphate rock contains
considerable concentrations of
‘valuable’ impurities…
Conventional uranium resources
worldwide (14.413,7*10 t) 1
• Uranium (up to 400 ppm*)
• Thorium (up to 150 ppm*)
• …making it one of the largest
unconventional uranium resource
worldwide
*ppm = parts per million
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Estimated recoverable uranium
resources from phosphate rock
worldwide (5.665,97*10 t) 2
Source: 1IAEA Red Book 2011, 2Ulrich, A.E., Schnug E., Prasser H.-M., Frossard E., Uranium
endowments in phosphate rock, Science of the Total Environment 478 (2014) 226-234
High temperature gas-cooled reactors for energy
neutral processing of low grade phosphate rock
Process
Heatfor
for
Chemicals
Phosphate
conversion
Rock and
U/Th
recovery
conversion
(thermal
process)
(wet process)
Phosphate
Rock
Relatively Large
Amounts of Waste
Uranium/Thorium
(≈ 2-3 t P-gypsum per t
fertilizer)
High Temperature Gascooled Reactor
Reactor Fuel
Manufacturing
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Phosphate
Fertilizer
Limitations in
Processing Low Grad
Phosphate Rock
Source: Nils Haneklaus, Ewald Schnug, Harikrishnan Tulsidas, Bismark Tyobeka: Using high temperature gas-cooled reactors
for greenhouse gas reduction and energy neutral production of phosphate fertilizers, Annals of Nuclear Energy, 2014
Conclusions - outlook
Low grade phosphate rock may* be processed economically using
high temperature gas-cooled reactors to power energy intensive
thermal processing/beneficiation enabling…
… recovery of presently lost uranium/thorium, (REE) resources
… strongly reduced uranium/thorium contents in final products
*The technological and economical feasibility of this
idea will be elaborated within the next four years as
part of a coordinated research project at IAEA
Phosphate
Rock
Process Heat
for Phosphate
conversion and
U/Th recovery
(thermal process)
Phosphate
Fertilizer
“U/Th fuelled HTGR applications for energy neutral
sustainable comprehensive extraction and mineral
product developments”
High Temperature Gascooled Reactor
IAEA
Uranium/Thorium
Reactor Fuel
Manufacturing

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