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Energy

TO FACE GLOBAL WARMING AND RISKS OF THE OIL/GAS SHORTAGE

THE GENERAL HOPE IS TO GET AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UP TO 20% OF ENERGY FROM RENEWABLE SOURCES.

BUT THE KEY POINT IS HOW TO PRODUCE THE REMAINING 80%

Reducing the risks for our planet and world population, due both to the increasing Global Warming and to oil/gas shortage, requires a greater use of clean, CO2 free, less expensive and available to all energy sources to be done as soon as possible.

The efforts made in several countries to improve the energy efficiency and the use of the renewable energy sources goes toward that direction and should be supported with convincement from all of us.

But, unfortunately, we know that it will be not sufficient. In fact, also in the most optimistic scenarios, the hope is to get in the next ten years more or less the 20% of the needed energy from renewable sources (mainly from solar plants, wind farms or from biomasses).

So, it is clear that we need something else to substitute in a relevant manner the oil/gas fuel used to produce the remain 80% and to avoid that the energy source of the future be the most polluting one: the coal.

The solutions exist and, in our opinion, they are:

- to catch the immense quantity of thermal energy (the heat) contained in the rocks of the earth in a more efficient manner than they are doing at present;

- to make the pacific use of the nuclear energy immediately safe, clean and cheap mainly to avoid that other NPPs (nuclear power plants) not sufficiently safe, hard to decommission and ethically unacceptable like the existing ones (that represent a serious threat to all, also for the countries that renounced to the nuclear option), be constructed in the world.

And our projects allows both of these requirements, so fully respecting what the environmentalists want.

1) With innovative big geothermal power plants, like the newly proposed DG:MRE (Deep Geothermal: Mega Reservoir) and/or DS:HDR (Deep Shaft: Hot Dry Rocks), it would be very easily to get immense quantities of clean and cheap renewable energy from the heat trapped respectively in Deep Regional Reservoirs, that fed in geologically recent eras large phreatomagmatic phenomena, or into the widely diffused rocks of the crust (the so called Hot Dry Rocks). These two schemes, to be only improved, uses technologies already available in mining and could be quickly applicable to the specific field.

As regard in particular the DS:HDR project, it to solves in a brilliant manner the problem of high costs faced by the 20 years of experiments made on behalf of DOE at Fenton Hill (New Mexico). Instead of drilling hundreds of 3-4 km long and very expensive boreholes required to reach the heat contained into the deep rocks of the crust and sufficient to sustain a big geothermal power plant, this innovation foresees the combination of a deep shaft, some galleries and a number of very short (300 m long) final drillings. The solution allows to save a large amount of money and to realize a 1,000 MWe HDR geothermal power plant with no more than 1,25 billion euro of total investment.

It is worthwhile to note that thousands of plants of this type could be done all around the world, being the hot dry rocks widely diffused (200 of them only in Italy).

2) The new SUSE-NPP project, that to respect all the countries having no nuclear power plants should be adopted by the ones that maintain such option, will make a commercial nuclear power plant, with very few changes, finally able to resist with success to any terrorist attack and at the same time it gives a smart solution to the problems of the radioactive wastes disposal and of the final decommissioning of the NPP. All this is synthetically obtained by:

- putting the radioactive island of a NPP in an underground cavern and joining to it, always in near underground caverns, both one plant for characterizing/treating/conditioning the radioactive wastes and two repositories for the disposal, in a definitive way, of the middle-low level radioactive wastes and, in a temporary way, of the high level-long life ones;

- designing an easily/certainly decommissionable underground radioactive island simply scraping away, at the end of the life of the nuclear power plant, the high level material and filling the cavern hosting the reactor/vapor-generators with light concrete or something similar to it.

In such a way, all the right concerns about the nuclear energy have now proper and technically feasible answers. The SUSE-NPP, in fact, will make immediately, while waiting for the IV generation or the fusion reactors foreseen not before than 30-40 years, the existing fission nuclear power plants really safe, clean, surely decommissionable and cheap as environmentalists, people and politicians are asking from long time and especially after the 26 April 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the terrorist attack to the Twin Towers of 11 September 2001.

It is useful to keep into consideration that:

- putting underground the NPP radioactive island requires no added investments for the large amount of money saved by avoiding the necessity of redundant safety structures like shelters around the reactor, several safety buildings, thick platforms under the reactor, heavy seismic counter-measures, very complex security systems and so on...;

- moreover this solution is incomparably safer than any other barrier that could be realized to protect a conventional superficial nuclear power plant and/or the surrounding environment;

- the underground plants for conditioning and disposing the radioactive materials, made close to the nuclear island, avoid any risk for the external environment and give certainty to their safe disposal;

- the simplified decommissioning gives the most safe solution to the problem, simply designing a reactor that doesn't need to be dismantled at the end of his operative life;

- the easy decommissioning of the underground radioactive island of a SUSE-NPP and its disposal in site, simply filling with concrete the hosting cavern without any relevant dismantling operation, allows a very big saving of money that, for a modern nuclear power plant of 1,000-1,500 MW, could be calculated in not less than 6-7 hundreds million euro.

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