Dow goes nuclear: chemical firm will install reactors at US chemicals complex

1 year, 7 months ago


DOW will install advanced nuclear reactors at one of its Gulf Coast sites to provide low carbon power and process heat for its chemicals production.

Dow signed a letter of intent with reactor developer X-energy, and plans to buy a minority stake in the company. The plan is to deploy X-energy’s Xe-100 high-temperature gas-cooled reactor technology at one of Dow’s Gulf Coast complexes, with operations expected to begin by 2030.

“Advanced small modular nuclear technology is going to be a critical tool for Dow’s path to zero-carbon emissions,” said Dow CEO Jim Fitterling. “This is a great opportunity for Dow to lead our industry in carbon neutral manufacturing by deploying next-generation nuclear energy.”

The Xe-100 is an 80 MWe reactor design that is optimised to operate as a four-unit plant, delivering 320 MW of electric or 200 MW of heat. The pebble-bed reactor works like a gum-ball machine where new fuel pebbles the size of billiard balls are fed into the top of the reactor to refresh the older ones ejected from the bottom. Each pebble remains in the core for around three years and circulated through up to six times to achieve full burnup. Helium is cycled through the reactor to extract the heat into a steam generator.

The company says its Triso fuel pebbles, which each contain 18,000 particles of uranium, are coated in layers of carbon that will prevent the release of more than 99.99% of fission byproducts. X-energy says the fuel is its own containment vessel so will eliminate the need for large containment facilities and shrink the safety perimeters required around nuclear facilities. The US Department of Energy (DoE) says the technology would allow the plant to be constructed within 500 m of factories or urban areas.

Dow says it is the first manufacturer to announce plans to develop small modular reactor technology, and it will help it meet its target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. A study published by the Royal Society in 2020 bemoaned the fact that around 65% of the energy generated by nuclear plants is lost as waste heat. It said the promise of the nuclear industry decarbonising other sectors lies in a new generation of small modular reactors that could be integrated into industrial networks to help match the temperature requirements of users on site and balance intermittent renewables.

More than 50 novel reactors designs are under development that use an array of coolants and designs that their developers say promise cheaper, safer and faster deployment compared to large conventional nuclear plants which often struggle with delays and rising costs. Though earlier this year a new study coming out of Stanford University raised a flag when it concluded that some of these smaller novel reactors may produce more complex streams of radioactive waste, and more of it. The authors recommended that industry, investors and regulators take a closer look at the back end of the fuel cycle to understand the waste implications of novel reactors.

Source of Tables (Tables 3 and 4 required a break to fit the blog format):





The article concludes:

In 2020, the DoE awarded X-energy US$80m to support the demonstration of its reactor technology and has provided more than US$200m to support the development of its Triso fuel with construction of a fabrication facility in Tennessee set to begin this year and production expected around 2025.

This cuts right at the core of what’s needed if zero carbon emissions are the (actual) goal. Small Modular Reactors are an excellent part of the way into the future. A decentralized electric grid is much more sustainable, upgradable in segments, and able to withstand catastrophic events. However, looking at Agenda 2030, we doubt the sincerity of the desire to ‘save the earth.’

As for battery-powered cars, what is to be done with all of the highly toxic batteries once these vehicles reach end of life? And in other developments, energy execs tell Secretary of Energy Granholm that shuttered US oil refineries won’t be restarted. But don’t worry:

“Secretary Granholm is leading DOE’s work to advance the cutting-edge clean energy technologies that will help America achieve President Biden’s goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 while creating millions of good-paying union clean energy jobs and building an equitable economy.” – DoE website

America is swiftly approaching the day when a regime change could mean the end of entire economic sectors. That’s the nature of centralized totalitarian governments. It’s hugely problematic to invest and prepare a company for the future, always wondering if you’ll be shut down in two years. This adds to America’s economic instability through uncertainty; sadly, it’s self-inflicted, or we should say; government-inflicted.

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  1. On October 27, 2022 at 9:09 pm, Wes said:

    Thank you very much for snagging and posting that. Good reading. I will re-read so that some learning takes place. Cool stuff. Right up until your last paragraph which is the dose of reality we’re already seeing, and that more folks need to have pounded into them.

  2. On October 28, 2022 at 6:24 am, Joe Blow said:

    I think the goal of developing small scale nuke reactors is a good idea, for all the reasons our host stated. Would be even better if some of the newer designs, that don’t produce gobs of radioactive waste, would be commercialized. Regardless, decentralization of the grid is a positive move.
    Its also an investment opportunity! Talking my book here, but if you are lamenting whats happening to the oil majors when looking at your portfolio, theres quite a few opportunities to invest in this trend, wether it be the companies developing the technology, or the commodity (uranium) itself.

  3. On October 28, 2022 at 8:49 am, Thomas Madere said:

    I worked 33 years at one of Dow’s locations in Louisiana. There are two, Plaquemine, La is the largest and most likely one.

  4. On October 29, 2022 at 11:09 am, George 1 said:

    This is progress until the powers that be manufacture a reason to put a stop to it. TPTB want to reduce carbon. The problem is the carbon they want to reduce is us.

  5. On October 30, 2022 at 1:41 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ George I

    Re: “This is progress until the powers that be manufacture a reason to put a stop to it. TPTB want to reduce carbon. The problem is the carbon they want to reduce is us.”

    Yep – that’s the cold hard truth, and the sooner people face it, the sooner something constructive can be done about it.

    The globalist oligarchs are using a classic carrot-and-stick approach to ‘herd’ humanity into adopting their ‘fourth industrial revolution,’ ‘Build Back Better,’ whatever the heck they’re calling their brave new dystopian world this week.

    On one hand, ‘universal basic income’ is the morsel of candy in the baited trap to lure the gullible in. Once they get chipped, vaxxed, and the whole nine yards, they’re in, the cell door slams shut behind them. They’re trapped. Those who will not go along with the new order or who resist it are to be locked out in an de-industrialized world which is regressing back into the 19th century. Or at least that’s their plan to punish those who won’t do as the oligarchs wish.

    Who knows what fresh horrors they have planned for culling the human race? This week it is the prospect of global war and a possible nuclear exchange. In a month or two, it will undoubtedly be some sort of new and deadly pathogen they’re cooked up in some lab someplace. Or it may be something new we haven’t seen yet.

    Here’s my question: Since these people have de facto declared war on most of humanity, calling most of the 8 billion people on earth ‘excess to their needs’ and ‘useless eaters,’ when does humanity return the favor and begin fighting back?

  6. On October 30, 2022 at 10:40 am, George 1 said:

    @ Georgiaboy61 “When does humanity return the favor and begin fighting back?”
    Great question. It appears that nothing is going to get American men to rise up. Oh they will get on board with political movements in some cases but we are past that now. Many I speak to are falling for the Donald Trump con again. It is all designed to keep the neocons in power. Most of the men of the West especially most of the young men are brainwashed and dumbed down. Maybe when the real shortages start more will wake up.

    If the usual pattern of Marxist takeovers is followed their brownshirts will soon be murdering people in the streets on an industrial scale. Perhaps then people will wake up.

    In Europe there might be a small hope. This winter when people are freezing to death and if some of the men with discernment can just realize who is actually responsible for their plight, we might see some “changes.” But, it will be an uphill fight. There are people who I previously thought were quite intelligent who believe that the Russians blew up their own NS pipeline. So who knows?

    As you point out the obvious intent of TPTB is that Western society and most of the rest of the world return to a 18th century lifestyle. That will of course entail a whole lot of death but that is a happy extra benefit to the rulers. They are downsizing the economy to fit their idea of how many people they believe should be permitted to live.

    In regards to the covid scam, the Swiss conducted a study of the relationship to heart problems in those who took the vax. The result. EVERYONE who took the vax has some heart damage. Not 3 percent of people, not 50 percent of people but all people. The variance is in the severity. Many have slight damage and some have much worse damage but all have damage. Now if we can get them to investigate other side effects like infertility, cancers and the destruction of the immune system among other things we might get somewhere.

    But here again we have most people believing the vax was a mistake or that it was just done for profit and mass casualties were not intended. Many still believe the vax is great and they can’t wait for more boosters. Hell, they are still running ads in my State to encourage people to get jabbed. I am sure the Governor allows them to run because the DC cabal pays him to. Very few see it for what it was, a global depopulation measure.

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