At the present, the safety of the nuclear power plant is emphasized significantly. Around the world, the nuclear power plants with generation III reactors are starting to be operated. They present a significant and important step towards a higher safety and efficiency of the nuclear power utilization.
Generation III reactors were developed from successful models of generation II reactors, however they have better safety and operating characteristics. They present the standard types of the reactors and this fact simplifies the licensing procedure during a power plant construction and decreases time and costs for the construction (in particular, the constriction costs present a major part of total costs).
- simple and more robust structure enables to simplify the operation and increase the resistant to the human errors
- better operating characteristics and longer life time, usually about 60 years
- significantly lower failure probability due to the core meltdown
- minimum impact on the environment
- higher burn up rate of the fuel resulting in a reduction of uranium consumption and a lower volume of produced radioactive waste
- longer fuel re-loading intervals, isotopes absorbing neutrons in the fuel should compensate a quality degradation of the fuel, namely by such a way that they will be degraded during burn up process and their decay will compensate degraded properties of the fuel
Emphasis on passive safety elements
Considering the generation III reactors, the abnormal and emergency situations will be solved automatically, on the basis of natural laws and will not require an electrical or mechanical action of the supervisor or control system.
It will be based on gravity, natural flowing and resistance to pressure or temperature. Containment and overall structure of the building will assure a resistance to an airplane crash or other external impacts such as hurricanes or earthquakes.
If the present level of human civilization is to be preserved and developed strong energy sources will be required. On the basis of current knowledge, it is obvious that if mankind does not discover another reliable and readily available source of power, the best alternative will consist of power originating from heavy element nucleon fission. Of course, it is assumed that a sustainable improvement of safe technologies will result in the power gained will present a benefit to mankind and never a threat.