It has been estimated, that shortly after the year 2050, the energy use in the developing nations will exceed energy use in the industrialized countries. Utilization of the human resources in the newly industrializing nations will be a key factor to ensure global economic stability, and an important element towards an increase in their standard of living will be assurance of a secure and economic source of power. Lessons learned from the industrialized nations will include avoidance of fragility of their economy based on the dependence of fossil fuels, and the negative environmental consequences; simply stated the economic future of the newly industrializing nations is very dependent on the deployment of nuclear power.
The Modular High-Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactor (MHTGR), with its unquestionable safety, must be viewed as a leading candidate to meet the aforementioned energy needs. Utilizing a helium turbine power conversion system, the basic module rating is around 200 MW(e). The modular approach permits incremental expansion as the electrical grid infrastructure expands. The nuclear gas turbine plant has many attributes, including the following: (1) complete factory fabrication and assembly; (2) minimum site construction work; (3) siting flexibility (cooling water not required since economic dry cooling can be realized with the Brayton cycle); (4) operation in a cogeneration mode without loss of electrical output (i.e., steam production, desalination); and (5) increasing local participation in module fabrication as the system matures.
This paper highlights the advantages of the modular nuclear gas turbine plant, and emphasizes the fact that the major components are based on proven technology. With introduction of this inherently safe, high efficiency, nuclear power plant shortly after the turn of the century, the ever-increasing demand for power throughout the 21st century by the newly industrializing nations will be assured.