Queensland regions for nuclear energy

Contents

Edition 3, Revised 7/11/2016

Regions for Nuclear Power Plants in Queensland

Existing System

Queensland has a very long  high voltage transmission grid that extends 1,700km from north of  Cairns to the New South Wales border  Apart from the populated south east corners and the industrialised Gladstone region this long grid feeds a state with a low population density.

The Queensland’s electricity transmission network currently comprises 275kV powerlines from Cairns to the southern Gold Coast, with 110kV and 132kV powerlines providing transmission in local areas and supporting the 275kV network.

In addition, 330kV powerlines link Queensland to the New South Wales network, allowing the flow of high voltage electricity between the two States.

A 500kV transmission network is being introduced in South East Queensland. Note that one 500kV power line is capable of carrying about the same amount of electricity as three 275kV powerlines, with a much smaller land use requirement.

valuation.

Regions for nuclear power plants in south east Queensland
Regions for nuclear power plants in south east Queensland
Regions for nuclear power reactors in north Queensland
Regions for nuclear power reactors in north Queensland

Queensland Generating Capacity

Queensland is Australia’s most energy hungry state on a per capita basis. Currently 92% of electricity generated in that state comes from fossil fuels. Even with proposed renewable energy project shown in Table 1, the actual CO2 emissions intensity is unlikely to reduce because of the poor capacity factors of wind and solar generation.

The generating units at coal fired plants such as Stanwell, Gladstone and Callide are not especially large being in the range of 350MW to 450MW and are matched to a 275kV transmission system. The capacity of these systems in 2016[i]  and proposed upgrades is listed in Table 1

Fuel Capacity MW % Proposed MW %
Coal 8,216 66
CCGT 1,224 10
OCGT 1,857 15 2,545
Gas other 147 1
11,444 92 2,545 87
Solar 477
Wind 12 1328
Hydro 664 5 300
Biomass 350 3 14
1,026 13
12,470 100 100

Table 1 – Queensland Generating Capacity – 2016

 

Queensland Annual Electricity Consumption and Peak Demands

Total electricity generating capacity in Queensland in 2013-14 was 13,873MW which generated 64TWh of gross electricity production[ii]. This is expected to grow to 85TWh by 2050. Peak demand actually sent out is expected to grow from 9.6 GW in 2016 to 10.6 GW in 2036 and say 11.5 GW in 2050.[iii]

Nuclear Energy in Queensland

The need to address global warming with nuclear energy is immediate. Larger 1GW reactors such as the Westinghouse AP1000 are currently available to be  used in the south east corner of the state. This would require grid capacity to be increased to incorporate 500kV transmission lines. Large reactors can also be used within the industrial region of Gladstone to meet the demands of the LNG plants and aluminium refineries however this would also require grid upgrades to the south east region to ensure robust supply during refuelling and reactor trips.

In the remainder of the state it is assumed that the replacement of existing gas and coal plants will be carried out with 225MW small modular reactors.

Nuclear Power Plants in Queensland

This preliminary plan envisages that by 2050 the state will require:

  • 85TWh of gross generation to meet electricity demand to be met by 6 x 1.177GW AP1000 reactors and 29 x 0.225GW SMR’s
  • 3GW of capacity to provide electricity for 80% electrification of light vehicles and 40% of heavy vehicles. This will be met by 1 x 1.117GW AP1000 plant and 5 x 0.225GW SMR’s
  • 8GW of capacity to meet the needs of increased electricity use in industry to replace current reliance on fossil fuels. This will be met by 2 x 1.117GW AP1000 plants and 11 x 0.225 GW SMR’s

In Summary:

By 2050 this plan envisages the use of 9 x 1.177GW AP1000 nuclear power plants and 45 x 0.225 GW SMR’s

Regions of Interest in Queensland

Region of Interest Location Feature Siting Cooling Comment
1 Stanwell Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. No grade required.

Assumes minimum plant size 6 x 225MW SMR’s = 1,350 MW

2 Gladstone Coastal site Stable rock or non rock foundations Once through sea water cooling Grid upgrade required. Assumes minimum plant size 4 x 1,177MW AP1000’s = 4,708MW
3 Callide Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. Modest grid upgrade, Assumes minimum plant size 10 x 225MW SMR’s = 2,225 MW
4 Tarong Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process with water reservoir Grid upgrade required. Assumes minimum plant size 2 x 1,177MW AP1000’s = 2,234MW
5 Millmerran Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. No grid upgrade, Assumes minimum plant size 4 x 225MW SMR’s = 900 MW
6 Kogan Creek, Braemar Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. Modest grid adjustments, Assumes minimum plant size 12 x 225MW SMR’s = 2,700 MW
7 Wivenhoe Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process with large water reservoir Grid upgrade required. Assumes minimum plant size 3 x 1,177MW AP1000’s = 3,531MW
8 Swanbank Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. Modest grid adjustments, Assumes minimum plant size 4 x 225MW SMR’s = 900 MW
9 Townsville Coastal Stable rock or non rock foundations Once through sea water cooling Modest grid adjustments, Assumes minimum plant size 4 x 225MW SMR’s = 900 MW
10 Toowoomba Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. Modest grid adjustments, Assumes minimum plant size 4 x 225MW SMR’s = 900 MW
11 Woolaga Inland Stable rock or non rock foundations Hybrid wet/dry process. Grid Upgrade, Assumes minimum plant size 4 x 225MW SMR’s = 900 MW

 

[i] AEMO

[ii] Australian Energy Projections to 2049-50 Nov 2014 Bree.gov.au

[iii] AEMO National Electricity Forecasting report for the NEM published June 2016

Transmission Grids – World Nuclear Association

Cooling Queensland Nuclear Plants

In Queensland coal fired plants were constructed adjacent to available coal mines and other infrastructure.
New nuclear plants will where possible take advantage of the resource used for cooling at these plants.

At Townsville and Gladstone sea water cooling will be used
In an effort to reduce the environmental impact upon inland water resources, modern nuclear power plants are being designed to use a hybrid system of air and water cooling. During periods of low water availability the degree of air cooling can be increased though at a modest reduction in power output.

The tabulation shows the anticipated type of cooling at each plant

Australia’s long coastlines provide many options for locating nuclear power plants

To overcome issues surrounding temperature rises in inland locations cooling towers or mechanically driven systems known as  hybrid and recirculating systems can be used. These are now the only option used in the United States under their EPA guidelines.

While recirculating systems don’t add heat to the river or lake, they do consume water through evaporation. In Australia the availability of sizeable inland rivers are limited though a number of large reservoirs such as Wivenhoe Dam provide a substantial resource for fresh water cooling.

An excellent and detailed outline of the cooling options is available at: Cooling Power Plants | Power Plant Water Use for Cooling – World Nuclear Association