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Nuclear Production of Hydrogen

Second Information Exchange Meeting -- Argonne, Illinois, USA 2-3 October 2003

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Coupling the Modular Helium Reactor to Hydrogen Production Processes

Nuclear Energy Agency

Steam reforming of natural gas (methane) currently produces the bulk of hydrogen gas used in the world today. Because this process depletes natural gas resources and generates the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide as a by-product, there is a growing interest in using process heat and/or electricity generated by nuclear reactors to generate hydrogen by splitting water. Process heat from a hightemperature nuclear reactor can be used directly to drive a set of chemical reactions, with the net result of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. For example, process heat at temperatures in the range 850°C to 950°C can drive the sulphur-iodine (S-I) thermochemical process to produce hydrogen with high efficiency. The S-I process produces highly pure hydrogen and oxygen, with formation, decomposition, regeneration, and recycle of the intermediate chemical reagents...

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