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Genco, F., & Genco, G. (2019). Nuclear desalination in Chile: a competitive solution. Desalin. Water Treat., 140, 24–34.
Abstract: Renewable energy sources are considered the main drive for developing at least 70% of the total energy in Chile by 2050. All major international greenhouse gases reduction agreements include growth of renewable energy sources and nuclear power as the only ways to significantly reduce emissions by the decade 2040-50. Chile's energy production matrix still relies heavily on fossil fuels, making very difficult to match the goal targeted by international agreements. For these reasons, the possibility of using nuclear power plants is considered. Small modular reactors (SMRs) in particular seems particularly suitable for a country like Chile for many reasons: SMRs are scalable and can provide energy in remote locations with no or limited grids (Atacama desert); SMRs can cope easily with future demands for expansion, thanks to their modularity; SMRs are cost effective and use all the latest developments in safety. This paper examines, using IAEA DEEP 5 economic software, the costs of nuclear desalinated water produced for the Chilean mining industry. Comparisons with respect to existing fossil fuels solutions show that the final cost is very competitive and allow for significant reduction of CO2 emissions.
Genco, F., & Gengo, G. (2021). Selection of energy matrix sources in Chile using a fuzzy logic decision approach. Energy Syst., 12(2), 411–429.
Abstract: Chile's 2050 energy policy ultimate goals are to produce a sustainable model of economic growth respectful of the environment where energy is produced efficiently and reliably. Renewable energy sources are considered the main drive for developing by 2050 at least 70% of the total energy in Chile. This study aims to provide a quantitative analysis for the selection of the most sustainable energy production methods using the compromise ranking method (VIKOR) that uses maximum group utility for the majority and a minimum of individual regret for the opponent. Since all evaluations are provided via intervals, the possible degree theory is used to compare them. Nine major criteria are critically used for this purpose and prioritized using analytical hierarchical process (AHP). Since Chile's energy production matrix still relies heavily on fossil fuels with major concerns of GHG emissions, all major potential energy sources in Chile are considered including ocean energy in addition to nuclear energy. This study shows that biomasses are the best compromise solution and that traditional and modern nuclear energy plants score consistently better than solar power. Large hydro power plants rank very high but in light of the social opposition present in the country, they might not be easy to build as hoped. Ocean power is far superior to geothermal energy and comparable to wind power and for this reason it should be considered together with nuclear power for the future Chilean energy matrix.
Markou, G., & Genco, F. (2019). Seismic assessment of small modular reactors: NuScale case study for the 8.8 Mw earthquake in Chile. Nucl. Eng. Des., 342, 176–204.
Abstract: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving energy production sustainability is a paramount of Chile's 2050 energy policy. This though, is difficult to achieve without some degree of nuclear power involvement, given that the geography of the country consists of many areas that are practically off-grid, whereas cannot be developed and financially exploited due to the lack of basic commodities such as water and electricity. Recently small modular reactors (SMRs) have gained lots of attention by both researchers and world policy makers for their promised capabilities of enhanced safety systems, affordable costs and competitive scalability. SMRs can be located in remote areas and at this time are being actively developed in Argentina, USA, Brazil, Russia, China, South Korea, Japan, India and South Africa. Chile's 2010 earthquake and Fukushima's 2011 nuclear disaster have increased significantly both the population's fear and opposition to Nuclear Power Energy for the possible consequences of radiation on the lives of people. This paper aims to study the seismic resistance of a typical nuclear structure, being at time proposed in Small Modular Reactors, by using earthquake conditions typically seen in Chile. Since many designs are under study, a NuScale reactor from USA is analyzed under these extreme loading conditions. The major advantages of the NuScale reactor are in the power scalability (it can go from 1 to 12 reactor cores producing from 60 to 720 MWe), limited nuclear fuel concentration, modules allocated below grade and high strength steel containments fully immersed in water. The cooling effect beyond Design Basis Accident is ensured indefinitely, which induces a significant safety factor in the case of an accident. For the purpose of this study a detailed 3D detailed structural model was developed, reproducing the NuScale reactor's reinforced concrete framing system, where nonlinear analyses was performed to assess the overall mechanical response of the structure. The framing system has been tested under high seismic excitations typically seen in Chile (Mw > 8.0), showing high resistance and capability to cope with the developed forces due to its design. Based on a Soil-Structure Interaction analysis, it was also found that the NuScale framing system manages to maintain a low-stress level at the interaction surface between the foundation and the soil, where the structural system was found to be able to withstand significant earthquake loads. Finally, further investigation is deemed necessary in order to study the potential damages of the structure in the case of other hazards such as tsunami events, blast loads, etc.