The challenges and approaches of the safety and risk management for the hydrogen production with nuclear-based thermochemical water splitting have been far from sufficiently reported, as the thermochemical technology is still at a fledgling stage and the linkage of a nuclear reactor with a hydrogen production plant is unprecedented. This paper focuses on the safety issues arising from the interactions between the nuclear heat source and thermochemical hydrogen production cycle, as well, between the proximate individual processes in the cycle. As steam is utilized in most thermochemical cycles for the water splitting reaction, and heat must be transferred from the nuclear source to hydrogen production plant, this paper particularly analyzes and quantifies the heat hazard for the scenarios of start-up and shutdown of the hydrogen production plant. Potential safety impacts on the nuclear reactor are discussed. It is concluded that one of the main challenges of safety and risk management is efficient rejection of heat in a shutdown accident. Several options for the measures to be taken are suggested. Copper-chlorine and sulphur-iodine thermochemical cycles are taken as two representative examples for the hazard analysis. It is expected that these newly reported challenges and approaches could help build the future safety and risk management codes and standards for the infrastructure of the thermochemical hydrogen production.
Progress in safety of hydrogen technologies and infrastructure: enabling the transition to zero carbon energy. Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Hydrogen Safety (ICHS). 9-11 Sept 2013, Brussels, Belgium