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Lallante
August 20 2012, 11:11:10 PM
If you are against it you are wrong. Discuss.

elmicker
August 20 2012, 11:16:49 PM
If you are against it you are wrong. Discuss.

What the fuck's there to discuss? This is one where even when attempting to play devil's advocate you simply have to stop and take a shower to rid yourself of the stench of Greenpeace.

NoirAvlaa
August 20 2012, 11:24:52 PM
It is the future. Doubt anyone will disagree, this thread will hopefully fill up with people agreeing and then moving on.

F*** My Aunt Rita
August 20 2012, 11:45:09 PM
When do we reach peak thorium?

TheManFromDelmonte
August 20 2012, 11:48:09 PM
The only debate is over the best way to stop the lazy and greedy cutting corners on the safety and reprocessing.
And who pays for it.

Evelgrivion
August 20 2012, 11:49:13 PM
When do we reach peak thorium?

Hypothetically, never. The big problem with Thorium, to my knowledge, is that disposal methods/desirable consumption processes for depleted fuels have not been developed yet; there hasn't been much interest in making that investment from United States industry or government.

Dianeces
August 21 2012, 12:17:49 AM
If you are against it you are wrong. Discuss.

Why are you making me agree with you?

elmicker
August 21 2012, 12:20:24 AM
When do we reach peak thorium?

Hypothetically, never. The big problem with Thorium, to my knowledge, is that disposal methods/desirable consumption processes for depleted fuels have not been developed yet; there hasn't been much interest in making that investment from United States industry or government.

C.

the big problem with thorium, in common with every other alternative form of nuclear power, is that we have established, safe, proven and accepted reactor designs and procedures for conventional nuclear power available right now. these proven designs are built on sixty+ years of research. switching to a new, novel form of nuclear power comes with an opportunity cost of that research, which would be all-but-abandoned, leaving whoever is developing the alternative technology with a astronomical bill to bring the alternative up to parity with the traditional.

the tl;dr of that is unless china suddenly decides they want to convert everything to thorium it's unlikely to happen in our lifetimes.

Zeekar
August 21 2012, 02:01:19 AM
Tbh its not very cost efficient. On the basis of climate change generally being a load of horse shit we should be back to burning coal.

If you actually checked it you would discover its cheaper then coal in the long run.

Also climate change is very real the only thing up to debate is the extend of human influence upon it.

Devec
August 21 2012, 02:36:02 AM
I thought I remember something about traditional nuclear plants being very very expensive due to all the safety measures that have to be build in, comparative to a coal power plant that is. Whilst both working largely the same way through steam turbines for power generation but just using a (very) different heat source. That said I can't exactly remember if running a nuclear was cheaper in the long run. Let alone selling it to the public because average joe will think of Chernobyl and Fukushima, which is of course not completely baseless because if it goes wrong, it has massive consequences.

The question that should be asked instead of are you against it should be, is it worth while to invest another crapload of money into new nuclear power plants which will last another 25 years?

Evelgrivion
August 21 2012, 02:49:37 AM
I thought I remember something about traditional nuclear plants being very very expensive due to all the safety measures that have to be build in, comparative to a coal power plant that is. Whilst both working largely the same way through steam turbines for power generation but just using a (very) different heat source. That said I can't exactly remember if running a nuclear was cheaper in the long run. Let alone selling it to the public because average joe will think of Chernobyl and Fukushima, which is of course not completely baseless because if it goes wrong, it has massive consequences.

The question that should be asked instead of are you against it should be, is it worth while to invest another crapload of money into new nuclear power plants which will last another 25 years?

I think new nuclear fission power plants are a necessary interim investment, and one to be made between now and the closure of the funding gap for commercialized nuclear fusion. While the mantra "Nuclear fusion is always 20/30 years away" endures, the statement is incomplete; the reality is that Nuclear Fusion is 10 to 30 years and 70 to 80 billion dollars away.

Dark Flare
August 21 2012, 08:58:13 AM
Perhaps because we're going to run out of coal a lot quicker than we run out of materials for nuclear power.

Jason Marshall
August 21 2012, 09:04:01 AM
Seriously, we have the hole made in the desert away from any water table thats stable, slight chance of earthquakes but compartmentalization takes care of any accidents that might happen.

The reactors in Japan held up well past what they were designed to hold up against.

When accidents happen the results are horrible, but what the fucking hippies refuse to acknowledge is our ability to learn from accidents and mistakes.

Nuclear power is the only viable stopgap between fossil fuels and Fusion/Future tech.


Compare the amount of coal infrastructure with nuclear infrastructure and its easy to see why projections make coal cheaper.
But we need to stop fucking with the atmosphere, real earth lovers would support nuclear while we develop more efficient Photovoltaics and (insert green energy here).


ENGAGE SERIOUS BUSINESS GROUP THINK.

Zeekar
August 21 2012, 09:13:27 AM
Tbh its not very cost efficient. On the basis of climate change generally being a load of horse shit we should be back to burning coal.

If you actually checked it you would discover its cheaper then coal in the long run.

Also climate change is very real the only thing up to debate is the extend of human influence upon it.

I'm not going to link wiki pages because frankly on this forum I shouldn't have to but pretty much everyone from the economist on down agrees coal after natural gas is cheaper than nuclear. That's before you even look at the open ended decommissioning costs of nuclear.

That said there is still a place for it Imo, I just don't see why it is considered the only viable option.

Yes and no. You have to include the cost of the carbon tax and you come out with the coal being only slightly cheaper then nuclear and that is only because cost of the capital for nuclear power is more expensive then for conventional power sources. If you can manage to get the funding with the same cost you dont even need carbon tax for nuclear power to become competitive.

And unlike you I have a source:
http://web.mit.edu/nuclearpower/pdf/nuclearpower-update2009.pdf

And if I manage to find a newer research from the UK royal society of engineers it showed even better performance for nuclear power.



Seriously, we have the hole made in the desert away from any water table thats stable, slight chance of earthquakes but compartmentalization takes care of any accidents that might happen.

The reactors in Japan held up well past what they were designed to hold up against.

When accidents happen the results are horrible, but what the fucking hippies refuse to acknowledge is our ability to learn from accidents and mistakes.

Nuclear power is the only viable stopgap between fossil fuels and Fusion/Future tech.


Compare the amount of coal infrastructure with nuclear infrastructure and its easy to see why projections make coal cheaper.
But we need to stop fucking with the atmosphere, real earth lovers would support nuclear while we develop more efficient Photovoltaics and (insert green energy here).


ENGAGE SERIOUS BUSINESS GROUP THINK.

Fukushima accident is pretty much human factor. It has been reported before that they need higher walls surrounding the power plants yet they didn't do it because of the cost. You need a high level of supervision surrounding nuclear plants since you really dont want corruption and malice around them.

Smuggo
August 21 2012, 10:40:58 AM
The safety aspect of the plant itself is secondary to the issues around the waste it produces.

Chernobyl was a :lolsovietunion: issue, and Fukushima actually kinda proves that nuclear power plants are pretty safe, because it demonstrated that a really old nuclear power plant that was never really designed to cope with the forces it faced could survive a massive earthquake and tsunami and still be contained.

The waste however has a load of issues around its storage. Yes we can store it underground, but it needs to be safely contained for millennia and we can't really be sure that these containment facilities will even have the funding to maintain them for anywhere near that length of time, let alone be able to guarantee they would stand up to the test of many centuries left on their own. That's the big problem with current nuclear power generation IMO, not the actual process of generating it.

So, while they are a short-term solution, we really need to be putting more money into fusion power generation research, and renewables (wind, wave, solar) as they're better long-term solutions that don't have waste issues (well fusion might but its waste products should just be Helium).

elmicker
August 21 2012, 10:42:34 AM
Fukushima's an argument in favour of nuclear power tbh. Criminally mismanaged, 50 year old reactor designs, inadequate protections in place and it still took one of the strongest earthquakes in human history (and the ensuing tsunami) to cause what eventually turned out to be a relatively mild accident.


...it needs to be safely contained for millennia...

Not strictly true. Take a radioactive element and heat it up to, say, the temperature of the sun, and chances are it will undergo fission and decay into something a lot more stable, giving off energy in the process. Because of this, if and when we get fusion technology to a useful state, even a modest collection of tokamaks would be able to chew through the world's stockpile of nuclear waste in very short order. A century at the most, I reckon.

NoirAvlaa
August 21 2012, 10:48:57 AM
The safety aspect of the plant itself is secondary to the issues around the waste it produces.

Chernobyl was a :lolsovietunion: issue, and Fukushima actually kinda proves that nuclear power plants are pretty safe, because it demonstrated that a really old nuclear power plant that was never really designed to cope with the forces it faced could survive a massive earthquake and tsunami and still be contained.

The waste however has a load of issues around its storage. Yes we can store it underground, but it needs to be safely contained for millennia and we can't really be sure that these containment facilities will even have the funding to maintain them for anywhere near that length of time, let alone be able to guarantee they would stand up to the test of many centuries left on their own. That's the big problem with current nuclear power generation IMO, not the actual process of generating it.

So, while they are a short-term solution, we really need to be putting more money into fusion power generation research, and renewables (wind, wave, solar) as they're better long-term solutions that don't have waste issues (well fusion might but its waste products should just be Helium).

Fast Breeder Reactors use nuclear waste right? Or am I thinking of something else...

elmicker
August 21 2012, 10:53:28 AM
Fast Breeder Reactors use nuclear waste right? Or am I thinking of something else...

They remove the very longest lived of the radioactive materials. In terms of just storing the material it's the difference between it being radioactive for 100,000 years without the breeder reactor reprocessing and 10,000 years with. Considering the cost barriers to switching to breeder reactors, it's never been a serious practical option.

Zeekar
August 21 2012, 10:54:45 AM
The safety aspect of the plant itself is secondary to the issues around the waste it produces.

Chernobyl was a :lolsovietunion: issue, and Fukushima actually kinda proves that nuclear power plants are pretty safe, because it demonstrated that a really old nuclear power plant that was never really designed to cope with the forces it faced could survive a massive earthquake and tsunami and still be contained.

The waste however has a load of issues around its storage. Yes we can store it underground, but it needs to be safely contained for millennia and we can't really be sure that these containment facilities will even have the funding to maintain them for anywhere near that length of time, let alone be able to guarantee they would stand up to the test of many centuries left on their own. That's the big problem with current nuclear power generation IMO, not the actual process of generating it.

So, while they are a short-term solution, we really need to be putting more money into fusion power generation research, and renewables (wind, wave, solar) as they're better long-term solutions that don't have waste issues (well fusion might but its waste products should just be Helium).

Certain geological places are more then stable for millennia. Just dig a deep enough hole in a proper place and fill it up with rock/concrete, it will be stable long enough. Or use fast breeder reactors.

NoirAvlaa
August 21 2012, 11:13:39 AM
Fast Breeder Reactors use nuclear waste right? Or am I thinking of something else...

They remove the very longest lived of the radioactive materials. In terms of just storing the material it's the difference between it being radioactive for 100,000 years without the breeder reactor reprocessing and 10,000 years with. Considering the cost barriers to switching to breeder reactors, it's never been a serious practical option.

Here's the article I read a while ago on this:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/30/fast-breeder-reactors-nuclear-waste-nightmare

But it's :guardian: and I haven't exactly checked facts further than that article.

Devec
August 21 2012, 11:49:30 AM
Perhaps because we're going to run out of coal a lot quicker than we run out of materials for nuclear power.

There is plenty of coal left to go around at current consumption rate, the estimate is 120 years or so and that is only discovered coal. There might be lots more. Which should last us to at least 50 years even if we decided to increase the consumption rate, by that time you can be sure we at least have some kind of nuclear fission. If not PV cells will be much more powerful and wind mills, although having a small power output they have a great energy net worth, should be able to reduce the need for coal and absorb eventual energy growth.

What you should be more worried about is oil; low reserves, not many new sites being found, increasing demand. A possible solution would be to use nuclear power plants to generate hydrogen fuel. Perhaps not the most efficient method energy wise but at least hydrogen is storeable and trying to store electricity for long times in high quantities is extremely expensive and otherwise impossible.

I personally have no quarrel with wind technology either, it is pretty much developed to a point where we can't get better with traditional blades. They have low power outputs but when placed correctly in areas where they will be sure to catch a lot of wind they can have huge energy networths.

What I am saying is that we shouldn't place our bets on one horse such as nuclear or coal but build a smart system which makes use of the best ways a country can create energy. There are plans to interconnect the entire European grid, even as far as north africa, to get such a system in place. Last I heard about this was 2 years ago so I am not sure how far this is in the making.

zergl
August 21 2012, 11:58:47 AM
What I am saying is that we shouldn't place our bets on one horse such as nuclear or coal but build a smart system which makes use of the best ways a country can create energy. There are plans to interconnect the entire European grid, even as far as north africa, to get such a system in place. Last I heard about this was 2 years ago so I am not sure how far this is in the making.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desertec

Hatepeace Lovewar
August 21 2012, 03:03:21 PM
Isn't the point of getting off oil too move away from having to rely on unstable regions for energy? I don't want to get off topic here, but I just don't feel comfortable with 15% of our energy coming from North Africa.

As for Nuclear itself, it's the way to go for the time being, my only disappointment was that the funding for the likes forge masters and other UK firms hoping to get more involved in the development of Nuclear plants was removed and now we have to give even more money to the French for them.

Hel OWeen
August 21 2012, 03:15:12 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens. That alone should suffice to cease using it any further. Let alone the non-existant storage for nuclear waste ... but wait, just with anything else we'll leave that to our children and grandchildern and grand-grandchildren and ...

And we don't learn (any longer) from our errors. The moment we did allow money to overrule science, that learning thing was thrown away in history's paper bin. Look, we just (ab)used one source of non-renewable energy (oil) and suffer the consequence from it: rising energy prices coupled with climate change. And the lesson we learned from that is to use an even more rare resource of which the remains, when used, are highly toxic for tens of thousands of years?

Sounds like a brilliant plan.

elmicker
August 21 2012, 03:18:19 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens. That alone should suffice to cease using it any further.

have you ever heard of this thing called evidence?

Zeekar
August 21 2012, 03:21:51 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens. That alone should suffice to cease using it any further. Let alone the non-existant storage for nuclear waste ... but wait, just with anything else we'll leave that to our children and grandchildern and grand-grandchildren and ...

And we don't learn (any longer) from our errors. The moment we did allow money to overrule science, that learning thing was thrown away in history's paper bin. Look, we just (ab)used one source of non-renewable energy (oil) and suffer the consequence from it: rising energy prices coupled with climate change. And the lesson we learned from that is to use an even more rare resource of which the remains, when used, are highly toxic for tens of thousands of years?

Sounds like a brilliant plan.

Heh. Evidence please? Or at least a simple url? I mean comparing number of people who die in coal mining accidents and number of people who died because of nuclear power plant disasters should be easy to find for a chap like yourself, shouldn't it?

Qwert
August 21 2012, 03:35:08 PM
Fun fact: coal produces more radiation per plant than nuclear because of isotopes in the coal.


On the subject of renewable energy, especially wind and solar, they are to the point technologically that any developments will be evolutionary and not revolutionary. What is holding them back is grid scale energy storage and transportation; they produce intermittent power by their nature, so you need a way to smooth it out.


The next big development will be something like flywheels, capacitors, air pressure tanks, or thermal storage, as well as superconducting powerlines.

elmicker
August 21 2012, 03:47:55 PM
Wind doesn't need much more storage than is normally required. Over a long enough time period, or a large enough geographical area, the loading factor on a well-placed wind farm stays constant at about 1/3. Distribute your farms across a continent and connect them to the already in-place grids and you've got a functioning, balanced power supply. The UK and the Netherlands have recently completed a HVDC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BritNed) interlink between the two nations with the prime purpose of balancing wind loading.

Wind's fundamental problem is still cost, and that isn't something that's going to go away quickly. We are already masters of aerodynamics, no one's going to invent a wind turbine twice as cost-efficient. We might see marginal gains from scale and some small advances, but wind's critical price point will come as a result of rising gas prices rather than its own technological development. Considering the fact that gas prices are falling and will probably continue to fall as shale gas is exploited, the barrier to wind is not storage and transport, it's just plain old money.

The barrier to solar is the fact that solar is fucking shit.

Jason Marshall
August 21 2012, 04:05:57 PM
Fun fact: coal produces more radiation per plant than nuclear because of isotopes in the coal.




SAUCE?!

Not because I don't believe you but because I want to read the article =D

Cool09
August 21 2012, 04:13:13 PM
I heard coal mining is perfectly safe. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_mining#Safety)

Seriously... over 6,000 died in just China in 2004 in coal mines. In the last 100 years over 100,000 died in just the US.

The death toll for coal mining makes the health concerns over nuclear power look like a joke.

As for the dangerous waste from reactors... that depends on the reactor. The CANDU (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CANDU_reactor#Fuel_cycles) reactor can use natural uranium as fuel, or even spent fuel rods from other reactors. Its expensive to build but there is no super dangerous waste that must be contained for millenia or anything. It can even run off a mix of uranium and plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons... its like greenpeace's dream come true.

NoirAvlaa
August 21 2012, 04:22:25 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens. That alone should suffice to cease using it any further. Let alone the non-existant storage for nuclear waste ... but wait, just with anything else we'll leave that to our children and grandchildern and grand-grandchildren and ...

And we don't learn (any longer) from our errors. The moment we did allow money to overrule science, that learning thing was thrown away in history's paper bin. Look, we just (ab)used one source of non-renewable energy (oil) and suffer the consequence from it: rising energy prices coupled with climate change. And the lesson we learned from that is to use an even more rare resource of which the remains, when used, are highly toxic for tens of thousands of years?

Sounds like a brilliant plan.

Heh. Evidence please? Or at least a simple url? I mean comparing number of people who die in coal mining accidents and number of people who died because of nuclear power plant disasters should be easy to find for a chap like yourself, shouldn't it?

Here mate, I'll help him with this handy link to deaths per TwH:-

http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html

Oh wait, that doesn't help him. That doesn't help him at all. Damn. I'll try harder next time.

Qwert
August 21 2012, 04:22:37 PM
Fun fact: coal produces more radiation per plant than nuclear because of isotopes in the coal.




SAUCE?!

Not because I don't believe you but because I want to read the article =D

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-radioactive-than-nuclear-waste

Hatepeace Lovewar
August 21 2012, 04:39:28 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens

To my knowledge, there has been no Nuclear power plant incident that has cost the lives of over 171,000 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam) people.

Steph
August 21 2012, 06:11:57 PM
Let alone the non-existant storage for nuclear waste ...

I read an article recently about some European nation(Sweden maybe?) developing a massive underground cavern for the purpose of storing nuclear waste. Anybody know what I'm talking about/got the link? I thought it was in this thread, but I don't see it.

I mainly ask to further prove the point that Hel needs to dial down the Greenpeace a little bit and maybe do some actual fact-checking. Also, another article on fast-breeder reactors, scroll down for other options (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/untested-nuclear-reactors-may-be-used-to-burn-up-plutonium-waste-8061660.html).

Zeekar
August 21 2012, 06:17:22 PM
Let alone the non-existant storage for nuclear waste ...

I read an article recently about some European nation(Sweden maybe?) developing a massive underground cavern for the purpose of storing nuclear waste. Anybody know what I'm talking about/got the link?

I mainly ask to further prove the point that Hel needs to dial down the Greenpeace a little bit and maybe do some actual fact-checking. Also, another article on fast-breeder reactors, scroll down for other options (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/untested-nuclear-reactors-may-be-used-to-burn-up-plutonium-waste-8061660.html).

Its not just Scandinavian countries that have them, even USA has one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_geological_repository

Joshua Foiritain
August 21 2012, 06:26:16 PM
Nuclear power is great, no debate there.

The Netherlands is mostly focusing on wind power as our country is mostly flat and people are terrified of nuclear power after the last decade of fear mongering, however one problem that arose is wind doesnt always blow. So how do you power a country when the wind is not blowing?

Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

I couldn't find all that much stuff in English regarding the subject;
PP presentation, mostly pictures;
http://www.eurandom.nl/events/workshops/2012/SWI_2012/Problems/Bartels_final_presentation.pdf
Two news reports;
http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-30/lifestyle/29998774_1_dutch-journalist-plan-project
http://news.discovery.com/earth/man-made-mountain-netherlands-110821.html

Fuck nuclear powerplants, the mountain is coming :razor:

Paradox
August 21 2012, 06:29:10 PM
God may have built the world but the Dutch built the Netherlands English saying.

No debate about nuclear energy. Is best.

Varcaus
August 21 2012, 06:30:10 PM
Nuclear power is great, no debate there.

The Netherlands is mostly focusing on wind power as our country is mostly flat and people are terrified of nuclear power after the last decade of fear mongering, however one problem that arose is wind doesnt always blow. So how do you power a country when the wind is not blowing?

Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

I couldn't find all that much stuff in English regarding the subject;
PP presentation, mostly pictures;
http://www.eurandom.nl/events/workshops/2012/SWI_2012/Problems/Bartels_final_presentation.pdf
Two news reports;
http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-30/lifestyle/29998774_1_dutch-journalist-plan-project
http://news.discovery.com/earth/man-made-mountain-netherlands-110821.html

Fuck nuclear powerplants, the mountain is coming :razor:

And then the moutain is out of water and the wind still does not blow

Steph
August 21 2012, 06:30:45 PM
Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

Wait...what?

My instinct upon reading this is "lol conservation of energy". What am I missing?

smuggo
August 21 2012, 06:49:55 PM
Firstly... an overview of deaths per terawatt hour for all major sources (http://nextbigfuture.com/2011/03/deaths-per-twh-by-energy-source.html). Can't vouch for the accuracy but it does all seem to add up. On balance, so far, nuclear power is pretty human friendly.

If these things don't turn a profit why are a lot of firms interested in this 'nuclear renaissance'? I realise there's a few subsidies thrown about but even so, it's better value for fucking money than the abortion that is wind power.

I don't want to get bogged down in discussions about the risks of nuclear power (probably safer than you think), how much or how little affect radiation has on your health (probably less than you think). Yes there have been accidents, yes people have been displaced and land rendered unusable, but then, how many communities have been displaced because of building dams or subsidence due to mining?

As a Nuclear Wasteman, let's talk about waste.

Fuel first of all:

I honestly can't think of the exact numbers off the top of my head (and it varies depending on your reactor type and some other things) but let's go for modern uranium oxide fuel enriched at 3% (ie 3% of the uranium is the fissile U-235 as opposed to 0.7% in natural uranium, the rest is U-238). In a fuel pin you have a few dozen UO2 pellets clad in stainless steal or zircalloy, a few dozen pins make an assembly, a few dozen assemblies make a reactor. When it comes out of the reactor you have let's say 1% Plutonium (of varying isotopes, more on this later), 1% U-235 (more too on this later), 3% fission daughters (waste; iodine, xenon, technetium [lol], cesium, strontium etc etc etc) and 95% U-238.

There's two options with your fuel cycle, closed and open. Closed means you fabricate your fuel, throw it in your reactor for a year or two until it's 'spent' then take it out and store it 'indefinitely', ultimately in a deep geological suppository (somewhere seismically stable enough and deep enough that you can inventory it and seal up without having to worry about it leeching into the ground water table or anyone digging it up for at least the next X tens of thousands of years. Good in theory but it means that you lose a lot of the potential energy that's still in the fuel.

In an open fuel cycle you are essentially recycling the fuel and sending the constituents down different streams. You chop up your fuel and throw it in a big bath of boiling acid, dissolving the fuel, plutonium and fission products. The cladding is radioactive from neutron activation and gets sifted out and encapsulated in big concrete drums. The dissolved fuel goes through all sorts of magical chemical processes and you end up with three different streams:

Fission Products.

Some of the more volatile fission products are released as gas from the dissolver, the majority of these are filtered out but ultimately some (like Xenon) escape into the atmosphere. The rest is stored to allow to decay some more for a few years before (in the UK and France at least) being dried, mixed with glass and poured into steel containers and sealed up. Obviously this is all done remotely. The dose rate from the surface of a container of vitrified waste is in the order of 1000 Sv/Hour (for reference a prompt dose of 5 Sv is all but a lethal dose without really good medical help and a lot of luck, 50 SV will incapacitate you). Fortunately the majority of these waste products contained within decay to nothing over the course of a few thousand years (though still remaining radioactive for several orders of magnitude longer but not as much of a hazard). The ultimate destination for these would also be a deep suppository.

Uranium.

This is simple enough. It's converted into an oxide form again but this time as a powder. Tipped into drums and stored for further use. Because its U-235 content is still higher than natural uranium it can be re enriched and converted back into fuel with reduced time and cost (if you want).

Plutonium

Everyone's favourite. Plutonium is what you get when U-238 absorbs a neutron or two (there's a few intermediate steps but that's the jist of it). This is spat out as powder but in much smaller quantities than the Uranium. Depending on the fuel type and burn up this tends to come out at around (again, this can vary quite wildly) 70% Pu-239, 25% Pu-240 and ~5% other (238, 241,242). The two important ones are Pu 239 and Pu-240. Pu-239 is fissile (ie, it captures a neutron and splits). Pu-240 is fertile (it captures a neutron and becomes Pu-241, which is fissile as well). If you want to make a nuclear weapon you need at least 95% Pu 239 (Pu-241 tends to spontaneously fission so it's not really suitable for use in weapons), you can manage with less but they're more likely to go fizz than go bang. You achieve this by putting your fuel in the reactor for a short time (~3 months) which these days is neither commercially viable or allowed if you are party to inspection by various regulatory bodies and agencies (cough, Iran). Plutonium (and most of the the other actinides) are more of a hazard than fission products because they are alpha emitters (readily absorbed by the body) and a long term hazard (as in millions of years rather than thousands), albeit, weight for weight, less immediately hazardous than 'fresh' fission products.

As for what to do with your plutonium, well, that's up to you. BTW the UK is currently sitting on the world's largest civil stockpile of plutonium (around 80 tonnes) and while many options are open the government has no strategy as of yet.

-You can encapsulate it in glass, cement, a polymer or metal and bury it in your suppository.
-You can turn it into Mixed Oxide Fuel and put it in a reactor this is an option with the new reactors the UK is building soon(tm).
-You can use it up in a fast reactor (unfortunately I missed the chance to go to a lecture on the PRISM reactor featured in that grauniad article further up the page a few months ago so I can't really comment on that but it looks sound enough).

The UK was (and still is for a while) carrying out commercial reprocessing for a number of overseas and domestic clients for a number of years at a profit. It reduces the volume of 'high level' waste considerably and opens up all sorts of other doors.

As for cleaning up old facilities. Certainly where the UK is concerned very little thought was put into how to decommission and clean up the facilities when they were designed and built, hence a lot of the issues now with, as one person I work with described as; 'this legacy of bollocks'. However, what's done is done and it's being dealt with in a safe fashion. What's important is that plenty of lessons have been learnt and newer plants and facilities are designed and built with dismantling in mind so that doing so will be cheaper and safer. The volume of other wastes consigned to low level waste suppositories is constantly being reduced as are aerial and liquid discharges. The technology is several orders of magnitude cleaner and safer than it was even 30 years ago. Things can only improve as technology and experience develops.

TheManFromDelmonte
August 21 2012, 06:51:22 PM
My instinct upon reading this is "lol conservation of energy". What am I missing?

You don't need the conversion to be 100%
Obviously it takes more energy overall, but it's pretty good. And you get a free mountain lake to sail on.

smuggo
August 21 2012, 06:52:58 PM
Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

Wait...what?

My instinct upon reading this is "lol conservation of energy". What am I missing?

Not as retarded as you think. If you can generate a surplus from your wind turbines then you can pump your water up to the top of your mountain during off peak times and let gravity do it's thing to generate some hydro electric power during times of peak demand (everyone putting their kettle on when they get home from work at 5pm) or when there's no wind.
Retarded as you think because wind is fucking terrible.

elmicker
August 21 2012, 07:06:18 PM
And then the moutain is out of water and the wind still does not blow

Hence the existence of a european supergrid, particularly the HVDC link between the netherlands and the UK. The chance of the wind blowing nowhere on the north sea is pretty much zero.


If these things don't turn a profit why are a lot of firms interested in this 'nuclear renaissance'? I realise there's a few subsidies thrown about but even so, it's better value for fucking money than the abortion that is wind power.

Even if they're not making money now (and they definitely are because of de facto subsidies/monopolistic market etc.), I suspect there's an element of hedging in place. Look at a company like EDF. They were built almost entirely on France's adoption of nuclear power, to the point of an effective monopoly (they also run eight of the 9 UK nuclear plants). The switch of a multitude of nations towards the french model of 80% nuclear and 20% everything else is almost inevitable. The ability to demonstrate a proven track record of building safe nuclear reactors to budget and on time in more than just your home nation is going to be more than worth any short term losses (which, again, aren't really going to happen).

That drive to build a company's nuclear reputation, present in all the big players, is something the UK should be taking advantage of. In that respect the banning of nuclear subsidies in the coalition agreement was verging on criminal.

definatelynotKKassandra
August 21 2012, 07:09:14 PM
Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

Wait...what?

My instinct upon reading this is "lol conservation of energy". What am I missing?

Not as retarded as you think. If you can generate a surplus from your wind turbines then you can pump your water up to the top of your mountain during off peak times and let gravity do it's thing to generate some hydro electric power during times of peak demand (everyone putting their kettle on when they get home from work at 5pm) or when there's no wind.
Retarded as you think because wind is fucking terrible.

Indeed - it's a giant battery, basically.

Edit: forgot this was srsbsns

Joshua Foiritain
August 21 2012, 08:04:43 PM
Nuclear power is great, no debate there.

The Netherlands is mostly focusing on wind power as our country is mostly flat and people are terrified of nuclear power after the last decade of fear mongering, however one problem that arose is wind doesnt always blow. So how do you power a country when the wind is not blowing?

Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

I couldn't find all that much stuff in English regarding the subject;
PP presentation, mostly pictures;
http://www.eurandom.nl/events/workshops/2012/SWI_2012/Problems/Bartels_final_presentation.pdf
Two news reports;
http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-08-30/lifestyle/29998774_1_dutch-journalist-plan-project
http://news.discovery.com/earth/man-made-mountain-netherlands-110821.html

Fuck nuclear powerplants, the mountain is coming :razor:

And then the moutain is out of water and the wind still does not blow
Then the nuclear plants we do have kick in, or we borrow power from our neighboring countries. :P

Steph
August 21 2012, 08:12:17 PM
Easy; You build a hollow mountain that you can pump full of water while the wind is blowing and use the flow of water to produce power when the wind is not blowing. Also windmills on top of the 2km high mountain will obviously work better then on ground level.

This started out as a joke by a reporter who felt our flat country needed a mountain (plus after building most of our country and a bunch of other countries we need a new project) but quickly found a lot of support, locations were scouted, research done, architects questioned and now they're looking for funding.

Wait...what?

My instinct upon reading this is "lol conservation of energy". What am I missing?

Not as retarded as you think. If you can generate a surplus from your wind turbines then you can pump your water up to the top of your mountain during off peak times and let gravity do it's thing to generate some hydro electric power during times of peak demand (everyone putting their kettle on when they get home from work at 5pm) or when there's no wind.
Retarded as you think because wind is fucking terrible.

Indeed - it's a giant battery, basically.

Edit: forgot this was srsbsns

Ah, okay.

Is this more energy efficient than storing off-peak surplus energy in flywheels?

definatelynotKKassandra
August 21 2012, 08:27:38 PM
Not really comparable - the amounts of energy involved are completely different.

ValorousBob
August 21 2012, 09:09:57 PM
Here's the article I read a while ago on this:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/30/fast-breeder-reactors-nuclear-waste-nightmare

But it's :guardian: and I haven't exactly checked facts further than that article.


Fast reactors could do the same for the U.S. Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S. launched a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership aimed at developing technologies to consume plutonium in spent fuel. But President Obama drastically cut the partnership's funding, while also halting work on the planned Yucca Mountain geological repository. "We are left with a million-year problem," says Loewen. "Right now there isn't a policy framework in the U.S. for solving this issue."

I think that's the first policy issue I've seen that Bush got right and Obama got wrong. :psyduck: Why u hate nuclear power Obama?

SAI Peregrinus
August 21 2012, 09:26:18 PM
According to Wikipedia, an electrical backup flywheel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flywheel) stores about 92MJ of energy. If we assume a 100m height change for the water coming down the hill to the generator, then 94 m^3 of water need to be stored to equal a large flywheel. An Olympic sized swimming pool contains 2500 m^3 of water.

So even if it's less efficient, you'd need a lot of flywheels to equal a swimming pool, let alone a lake.

Zeekar
August 21 2012, 10:45:56 PM
That mass specified for the electric power backup is very low. The rpms are normal. You could easy store a lot more energy in one of those. When I was doing the math I think I came to cca 5× as much energy without that much of a problem.
The problem with lakes is that they need space when flywheels don't need that much of it. They do need several precautions since if something goes wrong I wouldn't want to be near it.

NoirAvlaa
August 21 2012, 10:53:56 PM
Here's the article I read a while ago on this:-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/30/fast-breeder-reactors-nuclear-waste-nightmare

But it's :guardian: and I haven't exactly checked facts further than that article.


Fast reactors could do the same for the U.S. Under the presidency of George W. Bush, the U.S. launched a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership aimed at developing technologies to consume plutonium in spent fuel. But President Obama drastically cut the partnership's funding, while also halting work on the planned Yucca Mountain geological repository. "We are left with a million-year problem," says Loewen. "Right now there isn't a policy framework in the U.S. for solving this issue."

I think that's the first policy issue I've seen that Bush got right and Obama got wrong. :psyduck: Why u hate nuclear power Obama?

I imagine it's more about saving money short-term to get the economy back on track than investing billions into infrastructure while in the middle of an economic crisis. At least I hope it's something like that.

Fara
August 22 2012, 11:15:43 AM
My major headache when it comes to nuclear power is mainly that the same people who argue "we must do everything to cap/reduce greenhouse gasses" are strictly against nuclear power plants. I guess they don't understand that this means relying on conventional energy sources most of the time...
I don't mind "green" energy at all. I think its a healthy development towards a more sustainable energy management.

Not sure if this been posted yet.. found it pretty good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHdRJqi__Z8

Hel OWeen
August 22 2012, 04:00:53 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens. That alone should suffice to cease using it any further.

have you ever heard of this thing called evidence?

Pretty easy: ask your local power supplier (or looki up his last tax statement)what the insurance cost is for solar, water, bio, coal power plants. And now look what the insurance cost is for a nuclear power plant. You will be surprised: it isn't nearly as high one would expect. All costs related to an incident like Three Mile Island, Harrisburg, Fukushima are payed by the public (tax payers). The Paris convention (http://www.oecd-nea.org/law/nlparis_conv.html) restricts liability to ca. 2 billion USD (the treaty mentions "Special Drawing Rights", which kinda currency, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/fin/data/rms_five.aspx for conversion rates). The latest cost estimation I've read for the Fukushima incident is 100 billions (EUR).

As for the risks: to be honest, I don't care about the loss of lives, especially human ones. What scares me is the potential of devastating a large landscape for decades. The price for this was and will again be paid by the public.

Zeekar
August 22 2012, 04:03:51 PM
Psychopath. Also check the damage done by coal mining.

Steph
August 22 2012, 04:16:27 PM
Nuclear power is currently the most expensive one to produce and the most dangerous when an accident happens. That alone should suffice to cease using it any further.

have you ever heard of this thing called evidence?

Pretty easy: ask your local power supplier (or looki up his last tax statement)what the insurance cost is for solar, water, bio, coal power plants. And now look what the insurance cost is for a nuclear power plant. You will be surprised: it isn't nearly as high one would expect. All costs related to an incident like Three Mile Island, Harrisburg, Fukushima are payed by the public (tax payers). The Paris convention (http://www.oecd-nea.org/law/nlparis_conv.html) restricts liability to ca. 2 billion USD (the treaty mentions "Special Drawing Rights", which kinda currency, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/fin/data/rms_five.aspx for conversion rates). The latest cost estimation I've read for the Fukushima incident is 100 billions (EUR).

So your evidence that nuclear power is proportionally more dangerous than other methods is that insurance rates aren't as high as one would expect? :psyduck:


As for the risks: to be honest, I don't care about the loss of lives, especially human ones. What scares me is the potential of devastating a large landscape for decades. The price for this was and will again be paid by the public.

We're not talking about coal/oil, we're talking about nuclear power(see what I did there).

But seriously; you still haven't read any of the links posted in this thread have you? Nuclear power has been safe for decades, unless you're the Soviet Union and build it with substandard materials and don't train the personnel properly.

Evelgrivion
August 22 2012, 07:49:58 PM
But seriously; you still haven't read any of the links posted in this thread have you? Nuclear power has been safe for decades, unless you're the Soviet Union and build it with substandard materials and don't train the personnel properly.

There's also the scenario of a power company who operated amidst a continuous atmosphere of corruption and faced the single worst earthquake and tsunami in recorded national history. To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did; in newer designs, continuous power isn't needed to keep the reactors from runaway criticality incidents; power is needed to keep the power plant from turning itself off.

Zeekar
August 22 2012, 08:44:34 PM
But seriously; you still haven't read any of the links posted in this thread have you? Nuclear power has been safe for decades, unless you're the Soviet Union and build it with substandard materials and don't train the personnel properly.

There's also the scenario of a power company who operated amidst a continuous atmosphere of corruption and faced the single worst earthquake and tsunami in recorded national history. To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did; in newer designs, continuous power isn't needed to keep the reactors from runaway criticality incidents; power is needed to keep the power plant from turning itself off.

Even then when that hit, if they listened to security advisors they would have have a 2-3 m higher outer wall, which would be more then enough to prevent the catastrophe.

Evelgrivion
August 22 2012, 08:46:57 PM
Even then when that hit, if they listened to security advisors they would have have a 2-3 m higher outer wall, which would be more then enough to prevent the catastrophe.

Hence the corruption charge.

Zeekar
August 22 2012, 08:52:53 PM
Even then when that hit, if they listened to security advisors they would have have a 2-3 m higher outer wall, which would be more then enough to prevent the catastrophe.

Hence the corruption charge.

Yep. I just use it as another example of why ignorance can actually be life threatening.

And when I troll I use it as an example of why private enterprise shouldn't be allowed to run any thing important. : >

Evelgrivion
August 22 2012, 08:55:50 PM
Yep. I just use it as another example of why ignorance can actually be life threatening.

And when I troll I use it as an example of why private enterprise shouldn't be allowed to run any thing important. : >

In all seriousness, I feel that private, for profit enterprise should never be allowed to operate without extremely strict regulations in situations where denial of service, a reduction of quality of service where lives are on the line, or denial of liberty is in the interest of the company's margins.

Hel OWeen
August 23 2012, 09:56:32 AM
So your evidence that nuclear power is proportionally more dangerous than other methods is that insurance rates aren't as high as one would expect? :psyduck:


Yes, pretty good evidence. Nuclear power is deemed "uninsurable" by insurance companies. Power suppliers had to create a fond of their own, with very limited (financial) liability.



But seriously; you still haven't read any of the links posted in this thread have you? Nuclear power has been safe for decades, unless you're the Soviet Union and build it with substandard materials and don't train the personnel properly.

I've read the links, but they all concentrated about (human) death tolls. Which doesn't interest me a thing. The damage done to the environment in case of an accident is what I consider unbearable.

BTW, I thought this is "Serious business" ... people spreading neg-rep because someone disagrees with you, go figure ...?

Hel OWeen
August 23 2012, 10:03:14 AM
To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did;

This ("current nuclear power power plants can't fail") has been said since the first plant went live, assuring and reassuring that "accidents - while possible in theory - won't happen in reality". A major disaster like Harrisburg, Tschernobyl or Fukushima was expected to happen every 200 years ... yet we had a couple of 'em within the last 5 decades. And of course every single incident was an exception to the rule ... but that is the whole point: exceptions are possible and do happen.

Zeekar
August 23 2012, 10:15:03 AM
To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did;

This ("current nuclear power power plants can't fail") has been said since the first plant went live, assuring and reassuring that "accidents - while possible in theory - won't happen in reality". A major disaster like Harrisburg, Tschernobyl or Fukushima was expected to happen every 200 years ... yet we had a couple of 'em within the last 5 decades. And of course every single incident was an exception to the rule ... but that is the whole point: exceptions are possible and do happen.

No, there is no way that MODERN nuclear power plants can fail as Fukushima did, not even in theory. And all accidents were caused because of human negligence.

And still even when the power plants are ran 20+ years over their dismantle date because they arent allowed to upgrade/build new power plants with never technology their death tool and environment impact has been smaller then almost any other alternative. If you go any other viable alternative then it is the smallest.

NoirAvlaa
August 23 2012, 10:16:07 AM
To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did;

This ("current nuclear power power plants can't fail") has been said since the first plant went live, assuring and reassuring that "accidents - while possible in theory - won't happen in reality". A major disaster like Harrisburg, Tschernobyl or Fukushima was expected to happen every 200 years ... yet we had a couple of 'em within the last 5 decades. And of course every single incident was an exception to the rule ... but that is the whole point: exceptions are possible and do happen.

I don't really think Fukushima counts. After all, if you hit most things with one of the most powerful earthquakes in history followed by a tsunami they're bound to have a lot of problems not falling apart. And after all that? 5 deaths, during, no radiation related illness after. Not really the same scale as Chernobyl.

Evelgrivion
August 23 2012, 10:26:34 AM
To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did;

This ("current nuclear power power plants can't fail") has been said since the first plant went live, assuring and reassuring that "accidents - while possible in theory - won't happen in reality". A major disaster like Harrisburg, Tschernobyl or Fukushima was expected to happen every 200 years ... yet we had a couple of 'em within the last 5 decades. And of course every single incident was an exception to the rule ... but that is the whole point: exceptions are possible and do happen.

This is extraordinarily bad form; you utterly cut out the reason why a Fukushima style failure is not able to occur in a modern reactor design. Selective quoting is unfitting for someone participating in a serious discussion on a matter such as nuclear power. Yes, black swan incidents do happen, but it's not as though engineers do not learn and have not learned from their mistakes.

Lallante
August 23 2012, 01:19:10 PM
To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did;

This ("current nuclear power power plants can't fail") has been said since the first plant went live, assuring and reassuring that "accidents - while possible in theory - won't happen in reality". A major disaster like Harrisburg, Tschernobyl or Fukushima was expected to happen every 200 years ... yet we had a couple of 'em within the last 5 decades. And of course every single incident was an exception to the rule ... but that is the whole point: exceptions are possible and do happen.

No, the point is the specific accidents that happened at Fuku or Chern literally cant happen not due to engineering but due to different designs (e.g. passive cooling, contained pressure vessels etc.)

Cool09
August 23 2012, 02:24:44 PM
To be fair, there is a case to be made for the unforeseen, and it's always expensive to prepare for it. However, modern nuclear power plants cannot fail in the way Fukushima did;

This ("current nuclear power power plants can't fail") has been said since the first plant went live, assuring and reassuring that "accidents - while possible in theory - won't happen in reality". A major disaster like Harrisburg, Tschernobyl or Fukushima was expected to happen every 200 years ... yet we had a couple of 'em within the last 5 decades. And of course every single incident was an exception to the rule ... but that is the whole point: exceptions are possible and do happen.

No, the point is the specific accidents that happened at Fuku or Chern literally cant happen not due to engineering but due to different designs (e.g. passive cooling, contained pressure vessels etc.)

Why use logic and reson with this guy?

He has said "nuclear is the most dangerous when an accident happens." Then when confronted with numbers showing that coal is thousands of times more dangerous he claims "that is just human life."

So presumably he is worried about the ecological damage. If you add up all the ecological damage of every nuclear reactor ever, in history, including accidents like chernobyl, fukushima, ect, they don't hold a candle to even a few coal plants that are in regular operation.

If you were to show him the numbers, show him how many millions of tons of CO2 that is dumped into the atmosphere regularly by coal plants, he would come up with some other complaint. He complains about what a plant does to the landscape... Heloween, have you ever in your life seen a mine? Hint: many can be seen from orbit.

Aramendel
August 23 2012, 03:36:52 PM
The damage done to the environment in case of an accident is what I consider unbearable.

Land area lost by a sea level rise of 3m due to rising temperatures caused by an increased output of CO²: ~ 1 500 000 km²
Area (Land and Sea) effected by fukushima (80km Radius): ~20 000 km²

If we go with the current rate it will take us about 2000 years for Atom power to produce about as much uninhabitable land as Coal, Gas and other glorious fossil fuel power sources will produce in the next 200 years. And that is pretty much the worst case scenario for Atom power.

Hel OWeen
August 23 2012, 04:36:17 PM
If we go with the current rate it will take us about 2000 years for Atom power to produce about as much uninhabitable land as Coal, Gas and other glorious fossil fuel power sources will produce in the next 200 years. And that is pretty much the worst case scenario for Atom power.


And that's why we need to get rid off fossil energy ASAP. But that wasn't the OP's statement.

Steph
August 23 2012, 04:40:02 PM
And given your jihad against all things nuclear, what do you propose we replace it with? Christmas carols?

Varcaus
August 23 2012, 04:49:46 PM
And given your jihad against all things nuclear, what do you propose we replace it with? Christmas carols?

We need no power the land will provide! is just about the only thing I can think of.

Cool09
August 23 2012, 07:08:02 PM
So now he agrees nuclear is not the most dangerous, or environmentally harmful. Backpedal alert.

Cue1*
August 23 2012, 07:09:39 PM
If we go with the current rate it will take us about 2000 years for Atom power to produce about as much uninhabitable land as Coal, Gas and other glorious fossil fuel power sources will produce in the next 200 years. And that is pretty much the worst case scenario for Atom power.


And that's why we need to get rid off fossil energy ASAP. But that wasn't the OP's statement.

Wait, don't tell me, you're one of those people who says we should setup millions of windmills and only use wind power to power the ENTIRE WORLD right?

Hel OWeen
August 24 2012, 09:10:41 AM
So now he agrees nuclear is not the most dangerous, or environmentally harmful. Backpedal alert.

Did I? Care to cite where I wrote that?



Wait, don't tell me, you're one of those people who says we should setup millions of windmills and only use wind power to power the ENTIRE WORLD right?


I take it you wrote "windmills" as a synonym for "renewale energy source" (one would think in a forum labeled "serious" people are able to spell out excatly what they mean ...). If so: yes ... in case you want "run" that world for another, say 2000-3000 years.

If you're like me and are convinced that mankind is doomed to fail anyway (which this thread is a good example why I do believe so): no. Just go on as we did before, which includes "I'm fine with nuclear power, just don't put it to close to my home."

Lallante
August 24 2012, 11:00:02 AM
Hel

As an Energy Lawyer, let me give you a little Energy Grid 101.

Generation

There are various kinds of electricity generation, but the key thing to understand about them is that they fall into three main categories in terms of consistency of supply:
- Base load generators produce a constant amount of electricity, both throughout the day and throughout a year
- Peaking generators produce a variable but controllable amount of electricity, the operator will therefore likely produce (more) electricity only when it is sufficiently profitable to do so (e.g. more in early evening in winter than at 4 am in summer, when the electricity spot price is sufficient).
- Uncontrolled, variable generators produce a random amount of electricity if turned on, but can be shut down if needed.

All types of electricity generation can be described in terms of one or a combination of these characteristics.

Nuclear is a pure base load type of generation. Its slow and costly to vary the output of a nuclear plant - you get the reaction up to speed and generally leave it there as long as you can until you need to refuel or do maintenance. Shutdowns cost a fortune, so your output tends to be pretty constant.

Coal and Gas tend to have a small base load element (larger for coal, smaller/practically nothing for gas) (keeping them 'warmed up' effectively) but mostly are peaking generators.

Wind and Solar are primarily uncontrolled, variable generators. You can turn them off when its really not economic to produce and sell electricity, but you cant turn them on just because its profitable to do so because wind and sun are variable. Wind and Solar provide little to no base-load generation.

Hydro is reasonably similar to nuclear in terms of profile, but is not scalable (you have a maximum installed capacity based on the geography of your country). In the UK, hydro accounts for less than 2% of total installed capacity and we cant really increase that.

There are some further concepts you need to understand about generation:
Installed capacity is the theoretical max output of a generator.
Average transmitted capacity is the actual output of that generator over time, for example over a year.
Low (non-fault) capacity is the minimum output you can 'rely' upon from a generator, excluding a fault, maintenance etc.

For nuclear power, average transmitted capacity is pretty close to installed capacity. Low (non-fault) capacity is also not far off.

For Coal and Gas, averaged transmitted capacity depends on how aggressively the operator is peaking output, but can be up to almost installed capacity if needed and the price is right. Low (non-fault) capacity is usually zero due to peaking, though if the owner has entered into long term power purchase agreements instead of trading on the spot market then it would usually be the quantity agreed in the PPA.

For wind or solar, average transmitted capacity is approximately one fifth of installed capacity. Low (non-fault) capacity is very low .

Energy Storage

Energy storage is a great idea that is incredibly hard to implement in practice. We dont have industrial sized chemical batteries. On a small scale power can be stored through electrolysis, hydrogen storage and hydrogen generation. This unfortunately doesnt scale up effectively. The only practical way of storing large amounts of power is by pumping water uphill into a resevoir during times of excess supply, and pumping it downhill through a hydro turbine during times of excess demand. This has several problems:
1. Efficiency - you lose 60% of the electricity to mechanical and transmission losses.
2. Capacity - you can only "drain" your battery at the max output of the hydro turbine
3. Cost
4. Location - you canj only really do this in highly contoured areas with lots of space for resevoirs.
5. Environment - Ecowarriors tend to hate hydro as much or more than gas!

As a result, storage capacity in the UK accounts for only 1 or 2% of total output capacity, with little scope for increasing that. I.e. for the purpose of these debates in the UK, storage is a non-issue.

Supply/Consumption

Consumption of electricity varies according to partially predictable patterns both during the day and over the year. "Peak" demand is around 4pm in the Winter months, particularly on very cold week days. Peak demand is approximately 5-10 times greater than "Trough" demand, which is probably the early hours of a weekend morning in the summer.

Matching supply to demand

For a country's grid to ensure there are no power shortages, supply must exceed demand by about 10% to safeguard against outages / transmission losses etc.

Imagine a graph of demand for electricity - in order to guarantee enough supply you need enough base-load generation + peaking + variable generation to always exceed demand at any time of the day or year. Economically, this means you want a core 'base-load' which deals with average power demands and then to use peaking/variable plants to "top up" to the daily peaks. During the night excess base load can be stored or else is wasted (gov is encouraging industry to produce more at night so this is becoming less of a problem).

If we switched to a full renewables generation plan, we would have almost no baseload (2% hydro), nor any peaking capacity. We would only have variable capacity. You would need greater than FIVE TIMES the installed capacity of solar and wind than your average demand just to ensure average supply equalled it, but this doesnt give you the full picutre. Highly variable supply means you would often (most of the time) have highly mismatched supply and demand, and in particular you are almost guaranteed shortages of power in the winter months (and potentially, excesses at many times of the day when less electricity is needed).

Tl;dr renewables only is not a realistic prospect even if solar panaels and wind turbines were completely free and 10x more efficient than currently due to the engineering realities of electricity demand and supply

PS: (Offshore) Wind is 50%+ more expensive per MW than new Nuclear, which in turn is 2 - 3 times more expensive than coal or gas, ignoring subsidies and environmental taxes.

PPS: Dont even get me started on tidal - the total installed capacity around the world is less than a single nuclear power plant. The cost per MW is double Offshore wind, and max installed caapcity again is highly dependent on local geography.

Zeekar
August 24 2012, 11:21:08 AM
Lall how old are your numbers on price per MW for nuclear/gas/coal ?


Also if im not mistaken newer nuclear power plant designs allow for a 10% variance of their output depending on the demand for electricity.

Lallante
August 24 2012, 01:02:13 PM
Lall how old are your numbers on price per MW for nuclear/gas/coal ?


My "numbers" were rough and based on my general industry knowledge rather than remembering a specific study or report as I do a lot of nuclear work and a lot of power work generally. This supports my conclusions if not my exact quantum:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

Those figures underestimate the cost of nuclear because they dont factor in decommissioning (which costs many hundreds of millions) or waste transfer (ditto). They also include Coal and Gas "with C02 capture" which basically doesnt exist - there hasnt even been a commercial demonstration plant of the technology yet, so I would take those figures with a pinch of salt.




Also if im not mistaken newer nuclear power plant designs allow for a 10% variance of their output depending on the demand for electricity.

Some nuclear designs do allow for a degree of peaking but I'm pretty sure its not "hour by hour" so much as "week by week". In any case that still leave 90% baseload (gas might be 5-10% base load and up to 90-95% peaking. Most dont allow this however as the main way to cut power output is to "dampen" the reaction by introducing a moderator or control rods - this doesnt really slow down your fuel consumption so there is no economic reason to do it.


What I'm trying to get at is your grid NEEDS a mix of peaking and base load generation. You cant (efficiently) have pure nuclear any more than you can have pure wind.

Zeekar
August 24 2012, 01:20:57 PM
Nobody is denying that. Its just that 3× the cost of a nuclear MW vs coal produced one is not a number im used to seeing even when taking decommission cost in account.

Zeekar
August 24 2012, 01:42:43 PM
Papers like these is what im basing most of my arguments off, the objections I have is that they do not take in account waste management with nuclear power :

http://www.raeng.org.uk/news/publications/list/reports/Cost_of_Generating_Electricity.pdf

Rami
August 24 2012, 02:21:10 PM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Zeekar
August 24 2012, 02:24:28 PM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Feel free to do it in a manner that will produce energy. Heck I'm willing to bet that people would pay you huge amount of money for it as well ;)

Cue1*
August 24 2012, 06:45:59 PM
Tl;dr renewables only is not a realistic prospect even if solar panaels and wind turbines were completely free and 10x more efficient than currently due to the engineering realities of electricity demand and supply

You missed the fact that renewables aren't able to be moved very well across the transition system. It's also very faulty, and requires power from other sources to work. Yes, that's right, solar and wind power both require some other form of generation to be able to transmitted. Hydro is amazing, since it has none of these problems, but as mentioned, your country is limited by the number of hydro plants you can have geographically.

smuggo
August 24 2012, 06:47:20 PM
Good post a page back Lall.

When I'm back in work next week I'll have a go at looking into the costs of decommissioning nuclear plants (and all the associated costs with storage and disposal of waste), most of it's open source but I've got easier access to it at work. To be honest, I think a lot of it is factored into the costs per MWh as is because, actually, fueling a nuclear plant is pretty cheap (and strategically safe) compared to coal, gas and oil.

If not...
I'm going to throw some really simplistic figures out of my arse here (caveat: I've been drinking tonight).
New build reactors are going to have a capacity of approximately 1000MW. There's been a lot of rumblings about PRISM reactors recently. I'm not going to touch that with a barge pole, mainly because I don't know nearly enough about what's involved.
Let's just assume that reactor cost, fuel, wages, spares etc etc are all factored into the running costs.
Let's go for a very conservative nine month up time per year and 40 years of operation (some of the first gen Magnox reactors ran for 40+ years and could potentially have gone on longer).
Let's say £130 per MWh charged to the consumer/grid/whatever and max costs based on Lall's wiki link. And obv prices will change due to inflation so everything is in today's money.
40x365x24x1000x0.75x105: ~27.5 Billion Running costs over the lifetime of the plant.
40x365x24x1000x0.75x130: ~34.1 Billion Revenue (around 3 mil per day, that sounds reasonable, some of the numbers I've seen thrown about amount to 1 million+ per day lost if some of the older reactors with less than half the capacity shut down because we run out of space in our ponds, not to mention everyone's fucking lights going off).


In today's money 1 bil should easily cover the decommissioning of a new reactor (with change), especially as we're looking at 40+ years down the line with improvements in technology.
That leaves 34.1-28.5
5.6 billion split between profit and disposing of your fuel or reusing it. Hedging 2 billion a year for that is still going to leave you with 10% year on year.
Now, this is where we get complicated and I don't want to start pulling figures out of my arse or start speculating.
At this point it's all about economies of scale, if you've only got one reactor you're probably better off just burying your fuel in your suppository. If you have many reactors you may well be better off reprocessing it and reusing the plut to make more fuel which will save you money if you invest in the plant(s) required to do so (and also there's the socio economic factor with the hundreds of jobs that will bring to whatever area).

As I said, this is all very simplistic, and I'm pretty fucking drunk right now so feel free to call me out on my numbers.

However, as far as I see it, we cannot depend on renewables alone. As far as the UK goes we cannot, strategically, rely on fossil fuels because of :Putin:, :Thatcher: and :Arabs:. We have a good pedigree of talent, skills and experience with regards to nuclear power and the problems associated with it and it would be a shame to waste it, and money for the sake of a bunch of green party do gooders.

At the end of the day nuclear power is safe, clean and efficient. There have been incidents in the past with older plants but it's like that with any industry. If you compare the accident rate in air transport from 30 years ago with today you'll find a few orders of magnitude of difference and it's going to be the same with incidents on modern plants compared with those built on older designs (and I'm not just talking about catastrophes, there are many minor incidents that happen at older plants that result in injuries and dose uptake to workers that simply can't happen with newer facilities).

Steph
August 24 2012, 07:22:42 PM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

Alas, we're extremely unlikely to see economically viable fusion reactors in our lifetimes.

elmicker
August 24 2012, 08:10:08 PM
Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

None of the fusion being seriously researched here on earth uses Helium-3.

smuggo
August 24 2012, 08:28:38 PM
Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

None of the fusion being seriously researched here on earth uses Helium-3.

EDIT POAST:

While it's more efficient in terms of energy released it's not more efficient in terms of extracting the material.

Steph
August 24 2012, 08:48:43 PM
Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

None of the fusion being seriously researched here on earth uses Helium-3.

What in your mind qualifies as "serious" reseach?

Also: Your point?

Vortex
August 24 2012, 09:01:34 PM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

Alas, we're extremely unlikely to see economically viable fusion reactors in our lifetimes.

I don't really like the way energy is thrown around (I'm sprinboarding off your post, this isn't aimed at you persay). Even if we had the perfect working Fusion power plant, capable of producing essentially unlimited clean electricity, we would still be highly dependent on fossil fuels. Pretty much every piece of mobile machinery relies on a petrochemical engine of some kind for its power, and none of that would be changed by infinite free electricity. In fact, electricity is already so cheap (compared to gas/jet fuel/etc) that it would be economically (and more planet friendly) to switch to electric power on those tasks if we could, but we can't.

Until we have truly amazing electrical storage, all that nuclear plants (of any type) will accomplish is to obsolete coal plants, and to a lesser extent natural gas (which would probably linger for decades as an easy, cheap method for providing peak power on demand). Environmentally this would still be a huge win, but "everyone" acts like fusion power will usher in a revolution in our energy economy, and that's simply not the case - the vast majority of our everyday lives would look exactly the same.

For my two cents, I imagine Thorium salt reactors will provide a great alternative source of electricity for BRIC nations if they can work out the technical kinks, but I imagine that the United States. and friends are going to be too scared of nuclear power to commission any new plant for a generation (thereby, ironically, increasing the likelihood of another Fukushima, but ~politics~).

Qwert
August 24 2012, 09:36:52 PM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

Alas, we're extremely unlikely to see economically viable fusion reactors in our lifetimes.

I don't really like the way energy is thrown around (I'm sprinboarding off your post, this isn't aimed at you persay). Even if we had the perfect working Fusion power plant, capable of producing essentially unlimited clean electricity, we would still be highly dependent on fossil fuels. Pretty much every piece of mobile machinery relies on a petrochemical engine of some kind for its power, and none of that would be changed by infinite free electricity. In fact, electricity is already so cheap (compared to gas/jet fuel/etc) that it would be economically (and more planet friendly) to switch to electric power on those tasks if we could, but we can't.

Until we have truly amazing electrical storage, all that nuclear plants (of any type) will accomplish is to obsolete coal plants, and to a lesser extent natural gas (which would probably linger for decades as an easy, cheap method for providing peak power on demand). Environmentally this would still be a huge win, but "everyone" acts like fusion power will usher in a revolution in our energy economy, and that's simply not the case - the vast majority of our everyday lives would look exactly the same.

For my two cents, I imagine Thorium salt reactors will provide a great alternative source of electricity for BRIC nations if they can work out the technical kinks, but I imagine that the United States. and friends are going to be too scared of nuclear power to commission any new plant for a generation (thereby, ironically, increasing the likelihood of another Fukushima, but ~politics~).

The other problem with replacing petrol for vehicles is that the sheer power output of the humble gas pump is staggering. I calculated it once and it came out to the power draw of a couple thousand homes. That is for every single car, individually.

Zeekar
August 24 2012, 09:43:34 PM
Petrol cars get filled in 1 min while that would be impossible and not even expected with electric cars so that point is a bit moot.

Aramendel
August 24 2012, 09:53:16 PM
I take it you wrote "windmills" as a synonym for "renewale energy source". If so: yes ... in case you want "run" that world for another, say 2000-3000 years.

Except, as Lallante explained in detail, it isn't a viable option at the moment.

I think pretty much everyone here will agree with you that using renewable energy sources is in the long term a better option than non-renewable energy sources. The important words here are however "long term". In the near future (meaning the next 50-100 years) we will either have the option to burn our remaining fossil fuel sources and do fun things to the climate or use more nuclear power. Pick one. I for my part would much rather pick nuclear because it is the lesser evil. 1-4 more Fukushima are preferable to flooded coastlines (where btw also a lot of chemical plants and other things are which will produce funny side effects if flooded).

Renewable energy sources are not yet ready to take over, they are currently still too expensive, have a too low efficiency and we lack energy storage technologies efficient enough to provide a renewable energy source fueled buffer for our base load energy needs.

Saying "We should switch to renewable energy now" is about as realistic as saying "We should colonize mars now". It's a century or three too early.

Lallante
August 24 2012, 11:27:51 PM
Nobody is denying that. Its just that 3× the cost of a nuclear MW vs coal produced one is not a number im used to seeing even when taking decommission cost in account.

You probably see numbers not including decommissioning AND factoring in the taxes on coal production (e.g. sulphur emissions etc).

Lallante
August 24 2012, 11:30:39 PM
Good post a page back Lall.

When I'm back in work next week I'll have a go at looking into the costs of decommissioning nuclear plants (and all the associated costs with storage and disposal of waste), most of it's open source but I've got easier access to it at work. To be honest, I think a lot of it is factored into the costs per MWh as is because, actually, fueling a nuclear plant is pretty cheap (and strategically safe) compared to coal, gas and oil.

If not...
I'm going to throw some really simplistic figures out of my arse here (caveat: I've been drinking tonight).
New build reactors are going to have a capacity of approximately 1000MW. There's been a lot of rumblings about PRISM reactors recently. I'm not going to touch that with a barge pole, mainly because I don't know nearly enough about what's involved.
Let's just assume that reactor cost, fuel, wages, spares etc etc are all factored into the running costs.
Let's go for a very conservative nine month up time per year and 40 years of operation (some of the first gen Magnox reactors ran for 40+ years and could potentially have gone on longer).
Let's say £130 per MWh charged to the consumer/grid/whatever and max costs based on Lall's wiki link. And obv prices will change due to inflation so everything is in today's money.
40x365x24x1000x0.75x105: ~27.5 Billion Running costs over the lifetime of the plant.
40x365x24x1000x0.75x130: ~34.1 Billion Revenue (around 3 mil per day, that sounds reasonable, some of the numbers I've seen thrown about amount to 1 million+ per day lost if some of the older reactors with less than half the capacity shut down because we run out of space in our ponds, not to mention everyone's fucking lights going off).


In today's money 1 bil should easily cover the decommissioning of a new reactor (with change), especially as we're looking at 40+ years down the line with improvements in technology.
That leaves 34.1-28.5
5.6 billion split between profit and disposing of your fuel or reusing it. Hedging 2 billion a year for that is still going to leave you with 10% year on year.
Now, this is where we get complicated and I don't want to start pulling figures out of my arse or start speculating.
At this point it's all about economies of scale, if you've only got one reactor you're probably better off just burying your fuel in your suppository. If you have many reactors you may well be better off reprocessing it and reusing the plut to make more fuel which will save you money if you invest in the plant(s) required to do so (and also there's the socio economic factor with the hundreds of jobs that will bring to whatever area).

As I said, this is all very simplistic, and I'm pretty fucking drunk right now so feel free to call me out on my numbers.

However, as far as I see it, we cannot depend on renewables alone. As far as the UK goes we cannot, strategically, rely on fossil fuels because of :Putin:, :Thatcher: and :Arabs:. We have a good pedigree of talent, skills and experience with regards to nuclear power and the problems associated with it and it would be a shame to waste it, and money for the sake of a bunch of green party do gooders.

At the end of the day nuclear power is safe, clean and efficient. There have been incidents in the past with older plants but it's like that with any industry. If you compare the accident rate in air transport from 30 years ago with today you'll find a few orders of magnitude of difference and it's going to be the same with incidents on modern plants compared with those built on older designs (and I'm not just talking about catastrophes, there are many minor incidents that happen at older plants that result in injuries and dose uptake to workers that simply can't happen with newer facilities).

Decommissioning a new build nuclear plant in the UK will cost 1-1.5bn pounds (including waste transfer, share of long term storage costs etc), expressed in today's money.

New nuke power stations in planning tody have a capacity in the region of 1000-1700 MW per reactor - most projects will have 2 to 3 depending on whether they are using Areva EPR or Westinghouse AP1000 tech. Some chinese plant designs will have 6 units!. Total output is therefore in the 3000MW to 3600MW range up to about 6000MW and cost is god-only-knows till its built - a large part of build costs relate to permitting, planning permissions, legal fees, consultations etc as well as the obvious engineering issues - each reactor site is completely different, for example the same tech reactor 5 hours apart in the same country could require completely different cooling methods (e.g. north wales coast reactors can use strong sea currents to do direct cooling, while a reactor on an estuary would need cooling towers as they wouldnt be able to pump that much heat into the water without fucking the environment.

Basically you cant say "a reactor will cost X", it could quite easily be 0.8 X or 1.5 X due to variance in stuff as simple as rock type beneath the plant, or the contours of the site (building a level, suitable foundationed platform for the whole site footprint is one of the costliest elements.

No commercial AP1000s or EPRs have been completed. Four EPRs and quite a few AP1000 plants are in construction. The two European EPRs - in Finland and France, are years behind schedule and hugely over budget.

However the chinese are RACING along with 2 EPRs at Taishan which appear to be on budget and ahead of schedule (which is itself much faster than a European schedule for the same reactor). The chinese are doing it right, at a cost of (at a guess) about 8bn euros for 1700MW capacity per reactor. The first 2 reactors will go online late next year and the year after respectively with 2 more to follow about 5 years behind.


Basically anyone who tells you "here is how much new nuclear power costs to build per MW" is lying through their teeth.

That said, the current electricity market reform plans in the UK will mean the actual build cost of nuclear isnt (directly) relevant- the strike price the operator agrees (in advance) with the government is key. The strike price is basically a price floor - if the market reference price is lower than it then the nuclear operator gets a top up payment from all the electricity suppliers (i.e. it will get passed on to consumers). Noone knows what the strike price will be exactly yet - it will probably be different per project, but I think your £130 per MWh isnt far off as that is how much wind costs consumers, approximately, and I cant imagine Nuclear operators are going to want to offer much of a discount on that.


'fraid most of the stuff you suggest re: spent fuel isnt right. You cant reprocess spent fuel from modern reactors, you need to geologically store it for 10000 years + and we dont even have concrete plans for geological storage facilities in the UK yet (and reactor operators will need to pony up a huge but as yet undetermined lump sum to the government to use it when we do)

Zeekar
August 24 2012, 11:33:34 PM
Nobody is denying that. Its just that 3× the cost of a nuclear MW vs coal produced one is not a number im used to seeing even when taking decommission cost in account.

You probably see numbers not including decommissioning AND factoring in the taxes on coal production (e.g. sulphur emissions etc).

Check the link i provided at the top of this page and the one earlier.

Lallante
August 25 2012, 12:02:46 AM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

Alas, we're extremely unlikely to see economically viable fusion reactors in our lifetimes.

I don't really like the way energy is thrown around (I'm sprinboarding off your post, this isn't aimed at you persay). Even if we had the perfect working Fusion power plant, capable of producing essentially unlimited clean electricity, we would still be highly dependent on fossil fuels. Pretty much every piece of mobile machinery relies on a petrochemical engine of some kind for its power, and none of that would be changed by infinite free electricity. In fact, electricity is already so cheap (compared to gas/jet fuel/etc) that it would be economically (and more planet friendly) to switch to electric power on those tasks if we could, but we can't.

Until we have truly amazing electrical storage, all that nuclear plants (of any type) will accomplish is to obsolete coal plants, and to a lesser extent natural gas (which would probably linger for decades as an easy, cheap method for providing peak power on demand). Environmentally this would still be a huge win, but "everyone" acts like fusion power will usher in a revolution in our energy economy, and that's simply not the case - the vast majority of our everyday lives would look exactly the same.

For my two cents, I imagine Thorium salt reactors will provide a great alternative source of electricity for BRIC nations if they can work out the technical kinks, but I imagine that the United States. and friends are going to be too scared of nuclear power to commission any new plant for a generation (thereby, ironically, increasing the likelihood of another Fukushima, but ~politics~).

Right now gas is growing incredibly fast while nuclear is shrinking. I dont see gas "lingering" for decades - it will be our main power source for the next 20 to 30 years at least.


Fusion is a pipedream joke. Even if there was a breakthrough tomorrow we would still be decades from the first commercial facility and 100+ years from it being ubiquitous.


Some of the most interesting tech at the moment on the nuclear side is the self-contained buriable reactors Hyperion are designing. google it. No idea if theyll make it to market though.

Lallante
August 25 2012, 12:13:39 AM
Nobody is denying that. Its just that 3× the cost of a nuclear MW vs coal produced one is not a number im used to seeing even when taking decommission cost in account.

You probably see numbers not including decommissioning AND factoring in the taxes on coal production (e.g. sulphur emissions etc).

Check the link i provided at the top of this page and the one earlier.


Apologies, your numbers are 8 years old and predate the construction phase of any EPR or AP1000 plants. They turned out to be a lot more expensive to build, and decommissioning costs a LOT more than predicted.

Vortex
August 25 2012, 12:16:43 AM
Fusion, the sun does it, has done so for over 4.57 billion years. Who are we to disagree.

Fusion is basically the holy grail of energy. If we can just get it working, there's a whole bunch of Helium-3 right over our heads...

Alas, we're extremely unlikely to see economically viable fusion reactors in our lifetimes.

I don't really like the way energy is thrown around (I'm sprinboarding off your post, this isn't aimed at you persay). Even if we had the perfect working Fusion power plant, capable of producing essentially unlimited clean electricity, we would still be highly dependent on fossil fuels. Pretty much every piece of mobile machinery relies on a petrochemical engine of some kind for its power, and none of that would be changed by infinite free electricity. In fact, electricity is already so cheap (compared to gas/jet fuel/etc) that it would be economically (and more planet friendly) to switch to electric power on those tasks if we could, but we can't.

Until we have truly amazing electrical storage, all that nuclear plants (of any type) will accomplish is to obsolete coal plants, and to a lesser extent natural gas (which would probably linger for decades as an easy, cheap method for providing peak power on demand). Environmentally this would still be a huge win, but "everyone" acts like fusion power will usher in a revolution in our energy economy, and that's simply not the case - the vast majority of our everyday lives would look exactly the same.

For my two cents, I imagine Thorium salt reactors will provide a great alternative source of electricity for BRIC nations if they can work out the technical kinks, but I imagine that the United States. and friends are going to be too scared of nuclear power to commission any new plant for a generation (thereby, ironically, increasing the likelihood of another Fukushima, but ~politics~).

Right now gas is growing incredibly fast while nuclear is shrinking. I dont see gas "lingering" for decades - it will be our main power source for the next 20 to 30 years at least.


Fusion is a pipedream joke. Even if there was a breakthrough tomorrow we would still be decades from the first commercial facility and 100+ years from it being ubiquitous.


Some of the most interesting tech at the moment on the nuclear side is the self-contained buriable reactors Hyperion are designing. google it. No idea if theyll make it to market though.


I meant even if perfect fusion was around, gas plants would still take decades before you got rid of them.

Zeekar
August 25 2012, 12:49:17 AM
Nobody is denying that. Its just that 3× the cost of a nuclear MW vs coal produced one is not a number im used to seeing even when taking decommission cost in account.

You probably see numbers not including decommissioning AND factoring in the taxes on coal production (e.g. sulphur emissions etc).

Check the link i provided at the top of this page and the one earlier.


Apologies, your numbers are 8 years old and predate the construction phase of any EPR or AP1000 plants. They turned out to be a lot more expensive to build, and decommissioning costs a LOT more than predicted.

Tnx read your post before the edit. Also since you have some insight into the topic can you explain why Chinese are on schedule & budget with their reactors while EU ones are failing? Corruption or simple incompetency ?

Lallante
August 25 2012, 12:54:14 AM
Tnx read your post before the edit. Also since you have some insight into the topic can you explain why Chinese are on schedule & budget with their reactors while EU ones are failing? Corruption or simple incompetency ?

The Chinese dont put up with shitty unions and have some amazing engineers. The european ones have been wracked by incompetence. Beyond that not sure. 24/7 building has to help.

Qwert
August 25 2012, 01:06:27 AM
Tnx read your post before the edit. Also since you have some insight into the topic can you explain why Chinese are on schedule & budget with their reactors while EU ones are failing? Corruption or simple incompetency ?

The Chinese dont put up with shitty unions and have some amazing engineers. The european ones have been wracked by incompetence. Beyond that not sure. 24/7 building has to help.

I do wonder how strictly the Chinese are building to safety standards though.

On the other hand, they may just have more sensible ones since they lack the OMGNUKULAR NIMBYism that the West gets.

definatelynotKKassandra
August 25 2012, 11:48:58 AM
Indeed - given the tendency of recently-built Chinese bridges to collapse, trains to crash and apartment blocks to fall over I have some concerns about this.

Although your second point is also valid.

Jason Marshall
August 28 2012, 03:00:36 AM
Indeed - given the tendency of recently-built Chinese bridges to collapse, trains to crash and apartment blocks to fall over I have some concerns about this.

Although your second point is also valid.

I think most members of the UN have taken dates on when three gorges will collapse.

I heard Germany had the December 21, 2012 square.

smuggo
January 31 2013, 06:54:02 PM
I drafted a long post but I accidentally deleted it. Regardless, yesterday Cumbria county council either destroyed the future of the UK Nuclear industry (enjoy your brownouts from 2025 onwards) or any effectiveness of local democracy in the UK.

Cue1*
January 31 2013, 07:14:30 PM
Explain?

the thing from the buzz buzz

smuggo
January 31 2013, 07:52:39 PM
Explain?

the thing from the buzz buzz

A few years ago feelers were put out to various county councils as to whether or not they'd be prepared to accept a geological disposal facility within their areas. Cumbria was the only one which said 'look into it mate'. Cumbria is also the location of Sellafield, where the UK's nuclear reprocessing industry lies, along with >95% of our nuclear waste and a great deal of legacy facilities which are in the process of being decommissioned and dismantled.
Yesterday Cumbria county council vetoed moving onto the next stage of searching for a suitable site for a repository which involved more detailed surveys and whatnot, the main argument being the effect on the tourist industry and blanket NIMBYism. Local borough councils within the area where surveys were due to take place accepted that we should move on to the next stage. Aside from the long term promise of jobs and a very generous benefit package to the county which would improve local transport links... Any of the individual groups could have blocked it right up until the moment the first brick was laid. This was a case of local political opportunism.

The future of nuclear power in the UK depends on us having somewhere to store the spent fuel (in addition to our huge reservoirs of waste). Oxide reprocessing is ending in 2018 and there's no real indication there are going to be new plants built. Above ground simply won't cut it anymore. The new build power plants are pretty dependent on having some sort of plan for a geological suppository in place. Nuclear power currently accounts for around 20% of the UK's output, by 2023 we'll only have one active station on the go (well, the AGRs are probably going to get a 7 year extension each so we can push that on to 2025-2030). We've also got to seriously start cutting carbon emissions around then (a lot of older fossil fuel plants will have to shut down).

I'm pretty much done for tonight.

Try the veal.

Synapse
January 31 2013, 09:31:41 PM
All I'm going to say on this topic ( a topic I love to death btw ) is that spent fuel pools are scary as designed, and that the NIMBY attitude preventing us from making a proper long term storage solution elevates them to "Fucking terrifying" status.

A proper fire in an American spent fuel pool that has run out of circulating electricity has the potential to be worse than chernobyl. We pack them 3-5 times more tightly than they were designed to be due to the fact that we have no where else to put them, and they aren't designed for radiological safety or security the way the reactor core is.

Basically: reactor cores can melt, and that means the area the reactor sits on becomes no-go and that's bad. But around the reactor is pretty much ok. Fire, like there was during the chernobyl meltdown and like there would be in an uncooled spent fuel pool full of autoigniting zirconium cladding....that spreads radioactive soot as far as the wind carries it. Wherever that goes becomes a no-go zone.

A meltdown requires a building evacuation. A fire can irradiate a whole county or a state. Guess which one we're better protected against in current (antiquated) designs?

Pacefalm
January 31 2013, 10:14:39 PM
Chernobyl burned because it used a graphite (i.e. carbon) modulator. Zirconium cladding will only become dangerous at high temperatures (uncooled reactor, see Fukushima) and will not auto-ignite from high concentrations of spent fuel alone.

Straight Hustlin
January 31 2013, 10:30:23 PM
I think thats what he ment, as Zirconium at high temp oxidizes in a pretty spectacular fashion, and if I'm not mistaken during oxidization it also releases a bunch of hydrogen gas which makes the fire even worse or in to a full on explosion.

Pacefalm
January 31 2013, 10:35:33 PM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).

NoirAvlaa
January 31 2013, 11:15:18 PM
From bbc article:-


There were huge cheers from environmental campaigners outside the council chamber in Carlisle when the decision was announced.

Seriously, these idiots make me angry. They're apparently environmental campaigners yet they campaign against nuclear because "IT MIGHT BE LIKE CHERNOBYL" and offer no viable alternative. Seriously, they should be promoting the shit out of nuclear as a replacement for fossil fuels, it's much cleaner and kills less people even with the occasional meltdown so far.

Pacefalm
January 31 2013, 11:32:33 PM
From bbc article:-


There were huge cheers from environmental campaigners outside the council chamber in Carlisle when the decision was announced.

Seriously, these idiots make me angry. They're apparently environmental campaigners yet they campaign against nuclear because "IT MIGHT BE LIKE CHERNOBYL" and offer no viable alternative. Seriously, they should be promoting the shit out of nuclear as a replacement for fossil fuels, it's much cleaner and kills less people even with the occasional meltdown so far.

C.
Fun fact: did you know that due to trace amounts of Uranium and Thorium found in Coal (which is burned and released into the atmosphere), the area surrounding an average Coal powered plant is much more radioactive than the area surrounding an average nuclear reactor? The more you know.jpg

NoirAvlaa
February 1 2013, 12:10:59 AM
From bbc article:-


There were huge cheers from environmental campaigners outside the council chamber in Carlisle when the decision was announced.

Seriously, these idiots make me angry. They're apparently environmental campaigners yet they campaign against nuclear because "IT MIGHT BE LIKE CHERNOBYL" and offer no viable alternative. Seriously, they should be promoting the shit out of nuclear as a replacement for fossil fuels, it's much cleaner and kills less people even with the occasional meltdown so far.

C.
Fun fact: did you know that due to trace amounts of Uranium and Thorium found in Coal (which is burned and released into the atmosphere), the area surrounding an average Coal powered plant is much more radioactive than the area surrounding an average nuclear reactor? The more you know.jpg

As I said, fake environmentalists are fucking retards. (I say fake because ones that actually do their research support nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuel)

I also recognise the fact that we'd still need to drill for oil for agriculture (Fertilisers and shit).

Lallante
February 1 2013, 12:23:31 AM
Tbh I dont think geological storage or lack thereof is going to matter much to the current tranche of new builds (and by tranche I mean Hinkley Point C and maybe... just maybe... Wylfa). The deal is likely to be largely a fixed price-per-tonne paid to the Government to assume responsibility for waste/spent fuel after a certain point (after end of decommissioning) and the price is going to have to be set in the next decade or so regardless, so it doesnt really matter what is happening with geo storage as it cant be factored in.

Its the government who will get fucked by this, likely on cost, in about 120 years time.

Tbh I'm just waiting for an enterprising country to realise it can make a metric fucktonne of money by a building huge geological storage facility and selling space in it to all the countries hamstrung by enviroNIMBYs.

Synapse
February 1 2013, 05:44:16 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).


No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Lallante
February 1 2013, 09:20:38 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).


No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

This all rather depends on how long the fuel has been cooling doesnt it. 4+ years in and the heat is sooo much lower that its a much more remote risk.

Personally I prefer the Chinese approaches - they are building a 200MW "deep pool" power station that will use residual heat in the spent fuel to provide power and heating for domestic purposes. They've also got a design for a "hydrogen factory" powered by spent fuel rods causing radiolysis (the same thing that causes hydrogen buildup in spent fuel cooling pools mentioned above, but with added catalysts).

Seriously, China is the future for nuclear - a lot of recent innovation is coming from them and their engineers are GOOD. Their construction companies, not so much (yet).

Pacefalm
February 1 2013, 10:20:16 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).


No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Hydrogen burns so quickly that once it ignites, it will burn up in seconds, possibly less than a second, especially if exposed to air. An explosion is much more likely than a fire. (potentially the explosion could ignite other nearby materials).

The Chernobyl fire raged much longer because of its different design to include graphite (slow burning) modulator. Again this occurred in the reactor core, not in spent fuel.
The modulator is a substance that improves the chance for a chain reaction to occur by slowing down the neutrons produced by fission (slower neutrons have a higher chance to be absorbed into another nucleus).
The majority of todays nuclear reactors use water or heavy water as modulator instead of graphite, meaning the chain reaction actually slows down when all the water is removed (although it does not necessarily stop completely).

The dangers in a scenario such as the one that you describe would be: steam from the boiling coolant carrying radioactive materials into the air or a hydrogen explosion destroying the surroundig structure. A hydrogen fire is very unlikely to occur.

Synapse
February 1 2013, 10:27:09 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).


No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Hydrogen burns so quickly that once it ignites, it will burn up in seconds, possibly less than a second, especially if exposed to air. An explosion is much more likely than a fire. (potentially the explosion could ignite other nearby materials).

The Chernobyl fire raged much longer because of its different design to include graphite (slow burning) modulator. Again this occurred in the reactor core, not in spent fuel.
The modulator is a substance that improves the chance for a chain reaction to occur by slowing down the neutrons produced by fission (slower neutrons have a higher chance to be absorbed into another nucleus).
The majority of todays nuclear reactors use water or heavy water as modulator instead of graphite, meaning the chain reaction actually slows down when all the water is removed (although it does not necessarily stop completely).

The dangers in a scenario such as the one that you describe would be: steam from the boiling coolant carrying radioactive materials into the air or a hydrogen explosion destroying the surroundig structure. A hydrogen fire is very unlikely to occur.

Nonono, its the zirconium that burns. The hudrogen explosion makes everything worse, but the slow burning fire we're talking about is the zircaloy cladding on the fuel rods. I forget the exact amount but it will ignite in air at around 1700-1900 degrees.

Here's a link on zirconium fire:
http://safetyfirst.nei.org/ask-an-expert/can-zirconium-cladding-in-a-fuel-bundle-catch-fire-at-high-temperatures-during-metal-watersteam-reaction/

Lall is correct that it depends how long the fuel has been outside a reactor for, but remember these pools in the USA thats the entire outload from the reactor in the last 5-7 years sitting there, and so it's packed way more closely than the pool was designed for. I think the closer packing compensates for the age.

Edit:inaccuracy on temperature

Lallante
February 1 2013, 10:36:16 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).

No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Hydrogen burns so quickly that once it ignites, it will burn up in seconds, possibly less than a second, especially if exposed to air. An explosion is much more likely than a fire. (potentially the explosion could ignite other nearby materials).

The Chernobyl fire raged much longer because of its different design to include graphite (slow burning) modulator. Again this occurred in the reactor core, not in spent fuel.
The modulator is a substance that improves the chance for a chain reaction to occur by slowing down the neutrons produced by fission (slower neutrons have a higher chance to be absorbed into another nucleus).
The majority of todays nuclear reactors use water or heavy water as modulator instead of graphite, meaning the chain reaction actually slows down when all the water is removed (although it does not necessarily stop completely).

The dangers in a scenario such as the one that you describe would be: steam from the boiling coolant carrying radioactive materials into the air or a hydrogen explosion destroying the surroundig structure. A hydrogen fire is very unlikely to occur.

Sorry, nop.

While a "hydrogen fire" isnt really a thing, a fire of surrounding plant and materials caused by a hydrogen explosion is a very real and serious risk. Enclosed coolant ponds have to very carefully monitor hydrogen build up in the air because of this.

It doesnt really matter WHAT is burning, if it gets anywhere near exposed used fuel rods the smoke will be full of radioactive particles.

Pacefalm
February 1 2013, 11:09:51 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).


No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Hydrogen burns so quickly that once it ignites, it will burn up in seconds, possibly less than a second, especially if exposed to air. An explosion is much more likely than a fire. (potentially the explosion could ignite other nearby materials).

The Chernobyl fire raged much longer because of its different design to include graphite (slow burning) modulator. Again this occurred in the reactor core, not in spent fuel.
The modulator is a substance that improves the chance for a chain reaction to occur by slowing down the neutrons produced by fission (slower neutrons have a higher chance to be absorbed into another nucleus).
The majority of todays nuclear reactors use water or heavy water as modulator instead of graphite, meaning the chain reaction actually slows down when all the water is removed (although it does not necessarily stop completely).

The dangers in a scenario such as the one that you describe would be: steam from the boiling coolant carrying radioactive materials into the air or a hydrogen explosion destroying the surroundig structure. A hydrogen fire is very unlikely to occur.
Nonono, its the zirconium that burns. The hudrogen explosion makes everything worse, but the slow burning fire we're talking about is the zircaloy cladding on the fuel rods. I forget the exact amount but it will ignite in air at around 1700-1900 degrees.

Here's a link on zirconium fire:
http://safetyfirst.nei.org/ask-an-expert/can-zirconium-cladding-in-a-fuel-bundle-catch-fire-at-high-temperatures-during-metal-watersteam-reaction/

Lall is correct that it depends how long the fuel has been outside a reactor for, but remember these pools in the USA thats the entire outload from the reactor in the last 5-7 years sitting there, and so it's packed way more closely than the pool was designed for. I think the closer packing compensates for the age.

Edit:inaccuracy on temperature

Apologies, I assumed you were talking about the hydrogen burning.

Nonetheless this temperature is well below what a spent fuel pool can reasonably reach. I am familiar with the public report linked on the site you linked: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11263
They mention that it takes over 100 hours (4 days) before the coolant fluid will boil off completely.

@ Lallante. There has been a hydrogen explosion both on Fukushima and in the Three Miles Island reactor incident. Though these incidents released large quantities of radioactive materials in their own right, in neither case there was an uncontrollable fire such as Chernobyl.
Remember you are talking about a scenario where there is a large amount of steam in the imediate surroundings. I think you might be overestimating the ability for a hydrogen explosion to ignite everything nearby.

Synapse
February 1 2013, 11:37:10 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).

No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Hydrogen burns so quickly that once it ignites, it will burn up in seconds, possibly less than a second, especially if exposed to air. An explosion is much more likely than a fire. (potentially the explosion could ignite other nearby materials).

The Chernobyl fire raged much longer because of its different design to include graphite (slow burning) modulator. Again this occurred in the reactor core, not in spent fuel.
The modulator is a substance that improves the chance for a chain reaction to occur by slowing down the neutrons produced by fission (slower neutrons have a higher chance to be absorbed into another nucleus).
The majority of todays nuclear reactors use water or heavy water as modulator instead of graphite, meaning the chain reaction actually slows down when all the water is removed (although it does not necessarily stop completely).

The dangers in a scenario such as the one that you describe would be: steam from the boiling coolant carrying radioactive materials into the air or a hydrogen explosion destroying the surroundig structure. A hydrogen fire is very unlikely to occur.

Sorry, nop.

While a "hydrogen fire" isnt really a thing, a fire of surrounding plant and materials caused by a hydrogen explosion is a very real and serious risk. Enclosed coolant ponds have to very carefully monitor hydrogen build up in the air because of this.

It doesnt really matter WHAT is burning, if it gets anywhere near exposed used fuel rods the smoke will be full of radioactive particles.

He's right that an explosion of any kind is less dangerous than a multi hour or multi day fire that you might get as the zirconium or even potentially the uranium burns.

Synapse
February 1 2013, 11:47:26 AM
Read again, the conditions he is talking about (high concentrations of spent fuel) are not by themselves sufficient to cause zirconium to generate hydrogen gas. Additionally, a fire generated from zirconium oxidation would be unsustainable, an explosion is possible though (but agian not under those conditions).


No, you read again. A loss of coolant in a spent fuel pool will absolutely generate hydrogen. We're talking about a spent fuel pool that has lost coolant flow. If flow isnt restored in the next day certainly, maybe less, the spent fuel there will boil off the water, leaving it exposed to air and heating up. Then it's a matter of hours until it reaches auto-ignition temperatures and begins burning.

While zirconium oxidation doesn't produce hydrogen in "normal" oxidation, it _goes_ in the presence of steam. Having just boiled off an entire pool of water, there will be lots of steam and possibly lots of hydrogen present when the fire starts, if it hasn't blown up the building already (as it did before the fire could begin at Fukushima.)

Could you be more specific as to why such a fire is "unsustainable" (doesn't have to sustain itself longer than a little bit to throw up a lot of radioactivity...)

Hydrogen burns so quickly that once it ignites, it will burn up in seconds, possibly less than a second, especially if exposed to air. An explosion is much more likely than a fire. (potentially the explosion could ignite other nearby materials).

The Chernobyl fire raged much longer because of its different design to include graphite (slow burning) modulator. Again this occurred in the reactor core, not in spent fuel.
The modulator is a substance that improves the chance for a chain reaction to occur by slowing down the neutrons produced by fission (slower neutrons have a higher chance to be absorbed into another nucleus).
The majority of todays nuclear reactors use water or heavy water as modulator instead of graphite, meaning the chain reaction actually slows down when all the water is removed (although it does not necessarily stop completely).

The dangers in a scenario such as the one that you describe would be: steam from the boiling coolant carrying radioactive materials into the air or a hydrogen explosion destroying the surroundig structure. A hydrogen fire is very unlikely to occur.
Nonono, its the zirconium that burns. The hudrogen explosion makes everything worse, but the slow burning fire we're talking about is the zircaloy cladding on the fuel rods. I forget the exact amount but it will ignite in air at around 1700-1900 degrees.

Here's a link on zirconium fire:
http://safetyfirst.nei.org/ask-an-expert/can-zirconium-cladding-in-a-fuel-bundle-catch-fire-at-high-temperatures-during-metal-watersteam-reaction/

Lall is correct that it depends how long the fuel has been outside a reactor for, but remember these pools in the USA thats the entire outload from the reactor in the last 5-7 years sitting there, and so it's packed way more closely than the pool was designed for. I think the closer packing compensates for the age.

Edit:inaccuracy on temperature

Apologies, I assumed you were talking about the hydrogen burning.

Nonetheless this temperature is well below what a spent fuel pool can reasonably reach. I am familiar with the public report linked on the site you linked: http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=11263
They mention that it takes over 100 hours (4 days) before the coolant fluid will boil off completely.


Right but as we've seen with fukushima and with hurricane sandy it's not actually that unusual for an area to be without power for a week or even longer. In most cases you can just truck in more fuel for the generators....but not at fukushima.

What if you have a crack in the side of the fuel pool itself? Rememeber they aren't built to the standards of the reactor core.

For these two reasons I'm concerned about the designs of spent fuel pools. 1) I feel that 4 days without power is more likely than people thought, and 2) that the assumption of an intact water seal all around the inside of the pool might not be reasonable after an accident.

It just doesn't show the double or triple redundancy that a mature nuclear power design should have. backup generators and hope the pool didn't crack seems like asking too much of lady luck.

smuggo
February 1 2013, 03:35:52 PM
Spent fuel ponds generally have large capacity sumps and voids underneath them and a reasonable pumping capability.

Loss of cooling, can, depending on heat load, cause the water to evaporate/boil at a substantial rate, exposing the fuel to the air, aside from making this quite unpleasant for anyone working in the area who plans on having children with ten fingers the fuel will continue to heat up and, again depending on it's age, melt. Even if it doesn't melt and the fuel cladding doesn't catch fire it's highly likely that you will have failure of fuel cladding and release of some gaseous fission products and all sorts of problems if/when the fuel is re wetted.

Loss of ventilation can lead to hydrogen build up from radiolysis. Hydrogen doesn't burn, you just get a 'deflagration'. You only need a volume of 4% hydrogen in air for an explosion to occur so it is a serious worry.

Regardless, unless you plan on reprocessing the fuel it does need to be stored in a pond for several years. In the US they've been taking older fuel bundles out of the ponds and dry storing them on site prior to... final disposal (whatever form that may take).

With regards to the UK, I was a bit tired and emotional last night. The lack of any traction on the suppository at the moment probably won't affect the plans for the new builds, however, it's just pushing back the problem which has led to some of the current predicaments we're in... current predicaments we're in... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sellafield#B30)


Building B30, colloquially known as dirty thirty, is a pond which was used to store spent fuel from MAGNOX power stations. The pond is 20m wide, 150m long and 6m deep. Birds can land on its surface and take small amounts of radioactive substances with them. The pond was used from 1960 until 1986. A confinement wall is scheduled to be built in the future to help it withstand earthquakes. The pool is to be emptied and dismantled in years to come.

It is impossible to determine exactly how much radioactive waste is stored in B30; algae is forming in the pool, making visual examinations difficult. British authorities have not been able to provide the Euratom inspectors with precise data. The European Commission has thus sued Great Britain in the European Court of Justice.[60][61] There are expected to be about 1.3 tons of plutonium, 400 kg of which are in mud sediments.[62] It is thought the pool also contains waste from the Tokai Mura plant (Japan).[63]

Radiation around the pool can get so high that a person is not allowed to stay more than 2 minutes, seriously affecting decommissioning.[64] The pool is not watertight, time and weather have created cracks in the concrete, letting contaminated water leak.


Waste from reprocessing and legacy facilities, once treated, is pretty passive, it's encapsulated in cement or glass but that doesn't last forever. Unless it's stored underground a lot of waste will need repackaging, new stores will need building within the next 50-100 years.

GiDiYi
February 1 2013, 03:49:17 PM
Nuclear Power

Nu-cue-lar. It's pronounce nu-cue-lar.

ValorousBob
February 1 2013, 10:50:29 PM
Alright so I haven't been keeping up with this thread for awhile, but it does actually remind me of one of the most informative threads I've ever seen on Reddit. Basically someone was giving a presentation to MIT about the possibility of Thorium power (http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/mc712/i_have_a_chance_to_present_thorium_power_to_the/). The OP as well as a lot of the comments have good info on it.



There was also an info graphic explaining Thorium power.
http://www.wellhome.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Final-Thorium.png

Pacefalm
February 1 2013, 11:14:06 PM
+rep for informative post.

Couple of things to add to it:
The primary reason that Thorium research was discontinued was because right around that time, a huge Uranium deposit was found (Kazachstan I believe). There was suddenly less need for alternative nuclear power sources so research slowed / stopped.

The way it works is as follows. You have 232Thorium, then bombard it with neutrons until it absorbs one neutron to become 233Thorium. The 233Thorium (half life approximately 22 minutes) decays spontaneously to 233Protactinium (half life 27 days), which in turn decays to 233Uranium.
Now in order to have neutrons to bombard the 232Thorium with, usually a secondary (conventional) nuclear reaction is used (nuclear reactions produce a lot of neutrons). 233Uranium is used as a conventional nuclear reactor fuel for this reaction.
A proper Thorium reactor would produce more 233Uranium than is necessary to start up the reaction, making the reaction feasable. Additionally, if the 233Uranium ever 'runs out', the reaction will stop (the Thorium is subcritical by itself)

Another way to generate neutrons for this reaction is to use a particle accelerator. In this case the reaction mixture is completely safe from meltdown, as the reaction will instantly stop when the accelerator is turned off. However this is more expensive...

There are currently active Thorium reactors in India.

elmicker
February 2 2013, 12:56:50 PM
Yesterday Cumbria county council vetoed moving onto the next stage of searching for a suitable site for a repository which involved more detailed surveys and whatnot, the main argument being the effect on the tourist industry and blanket NIMBYism.

This is incorrect. Cumbria county council voted against moving forward not because of NIMBYism or the tourism industry: sellafield alone dwarfs the tourism industry and the county council knows it. Basically, Cumbria is the only place this is going to get built and they know it. At the moment, the government isn't offering anything of note in return for handing over a chunk of the county for all eternity and the county council is playing a game of brinksmanship with westminster to get them to stuff their mouths with gold. The views of the nimbys and posh country types who dont want their land ruined have been grossly over-represented by the media. Chances are the planning work will actually continue; both district councils involved voted yes, providing a possible legal path for them to continue investigation on their own authority, and the repository wasn't supposed to be built for decades anyway.

smuggo
February 2 2013, 06:06:10 PM
Yesterday Cumbria county council vetoed moving onto the next stage of searching for a suitable site for a repository which involved more detailed surveys and whatnot, the main argument being the effect on the tourist industry and blanket NIMBYism.

This is incorrect. Cumbria county council voted against moving forward not because of NIMBYism or the tourism industry: sellafield alone dwarfs the tourism industry and the county council knows it. Basically, Cumbria is the only place this is going to get built and they know it. At the moment, the government isn't offering anything of note in return for handing over a chunk of the county for all eternity and the county council is playing a game of brinksmanship with westminster to get them to stuff their mouths with gold. The views of the nimbys and posh country types who dont want their land ruined have been grossly over-represented by the media. Chances are the planning work will actually continue; both district councils involved voted yes, providing a possible legal path for them to continue investigation on their own authority, and the repository wasn't supposed to be built for decades anyway.

I'm aware that the local borough councils voted for progression to the next stage. As far as the county council goes... there's a lot more red than blue at the moment. The community benefit package which would come along with the construction of the suppository is in excess of £2 billion in addition to the jobs provided.
This vote was to continue planning work. A lot of Cumbria (the only county to volunteer for a suppository) has already been ruled out based on desktop studies. The next stage was to start putting in boreholes and testing for suitable locations. All the various councils involved had the opportunity to veto the build right up until people started digging and laying the first brick for the suppository. If you're going to hold out for more cash then at least wait until you're a bit further down the line when you know there's a good site in your county...

I'm aware that the suppository wasn't going to be built for several decades, however, even at this early stage delays of a few years will result in additional costs across the board.

EDIT: I apologise for calling it a suppository rather than a repository, force of habit. I got a couple of odd looks the other day when I refered to it as a suppository in front of a couple of seniors who are 2-3 up from me. Welpo

Lallante
February 4 2013, 11:29:28 AM
These latest developments are no big surprise to anyone in the nuclear industry.

Cool09
February 8 2013, 04:30:50 PM
These latest developments are no big surprise to anyone in the nuclear industry.

Good to know! Please keep us updated on how not surprised you are in the future.

On the topic of waste... send it to a CANDU reactor. It can run on waste from light water reactors, natural uranium, thorium, and plutonium from weapons. Downside is that they are big and expensive. I was born near the largest nuclear power plant in the world, Bruce Nuclear Generating Station which has 8 CANDU reactors.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fe/CANDU_fuel_cycles.jpg

Now that enrichment facilities are cheap we are apparently developing a cheaper, smaller version that outputs much more power but needs slightly enriched uranium.

smuggo
February 8 2013, 07:23:23 PM
These latest developments are no big surprise to anyone in the nuclear industry.

I'm probably a few down in terms of chains of command...

Pretty sure the suppository will end up in Cumbria.

Mike deVoid
February 8 2013, 08:06:56 PM
Arse

Mike deVoid
February 8 2013, 08:07:30 PM
Lark, you are a suppository of information.

Steph
February 9 2013, 06:07:24 PM
lol nuclear suppository

Lallante
March 1 2013, 04:21:01 PM
DECC figures released today for the UK:


Coal accounted for 42.8 per cent of electricity supplied in 2012, with gas accounting for 27.6 per cent and nuclear 20.8 per cent. Coal’s share of generation is at its highest level since 1996, with gas’s share at its lowest since 1996.

Low carbon generation accounted for 29.6 per cent of supply, up from 26.7 per cent in 2011.

Production of gas fell by 14.1 per cent, following the record fall of 20.8 per cent in 2011.

Production of crude oil fell by 14.3 per cent. Crude oil imports again exceeded UK production, though the UK still exported significant quantities, with production still exceeding net imports.

smuggo
March 2 2013, 06:12:45 PM
DECC figures released today for the UK:


Coal accounted for 42.8 per cent of electricity supplied in 2012, with gas accounting for 27.6 per cent and nuclear 20.8 per cent. Coal’s share of generation is at its highest level since 1996, with gas’s share at its lowest since 1996.

Low carbon generation accounted for 29.6 per cent of supply, up from 26.7 per cent in 2011.

Production of gas fell by 14.1 per cent, following the record fall of 20.8 per cent in 2011.

Production of crude oil fell by 14.3 per cent. Crude oil imports again exceeded UK production, though the UK still exported significant quantities, with production still exceeding net imports.

And?

Ralara
March 2 2013, 06:17:01 PM
Explain?

the thing from the buzz buzz

A few years ago feelers were put out to various county councils as to whether or not they'd be prepared to accept a geological disposal facility within their areas. Cumbria was the only one which said 'look into it mate'. Cumbria is also the location of Sellafield, where the UK's nuclear reprocessing industry lies, along with >95% of our nuclear waste and a great deal of legacy facilities which are in the process of being decommissioned and dismantled.
Yesterday Cumbria county council vetoed moving onto the next stage of searching for a suitable site for a repository which involved more detailed surveys and whatnot, the main argument being the effect on the tourist industry and blanket NIMBYism. Local borough councils within the area where surveys were due to take place accepted that we should move on to the next stage. Aside from the long term promise of jobs and a very generous benefit package to the county which would improve local transport links... Any of the individual groups could have blocked it right up until the moment the first brick was laid. This was a case of local political opportunism.

The future of nuclear power in the UK depends on us having somewhere to store the spent fuel (in addition to our huge reservoirs of waste). Oxide reprocessing is ending in 2018 and there's no real indication there are going to be new plants built. Above ground simply won't cut it anymore. The new build power plants are pretty dependent on having some sort of plan for a geological suppository in place. Nuclear power currently accounts for around 20% of the UK's output, by 2023 we'll only have one active station on the go (well, the AGRs are probably going to get a 7 year extension each so we can push that on to 2025-2030). We've also got to seriously start cutting carbon emissions around then (a lot of older fossil fuel plants will have to shut down).

I'm pretty much done for tonight.

Try the veal.

ok this may sound really short sighted / ignorant, but nobody own antarctica, right?

And right in the middle of it, there's no penguins or wildlife... no birds, no ... anything. Why can't the first world get together, each shove in however much they pay for nuclear waste storage over, say, 10 years, and send a lovely expedition out to drill down 4-5km... and ... ship it there. No more "on-site" storage for the UK, France, USA or any other nuclear power. No one owns it, no one has "rights"... it must be cheaper than "blast it in to space" ?

Mind you, I guess the first tanker to sink carrying thousand of tons of the shit would be /o\

Tyrus Tenebros
March 2 2013, 06:25:02 PM
+rep for informative post.

Couple of things to add to it:
The primary reason that Thorium research was discontinued was because right around that time, a huge Uranium deposit was found (Kazachstan I believe). There was suddenly less need for alternative nuclear power sources so research slowed / stopped.

The way it works is as follows. You have 232Thorium, then bombard it with neutrons until it absorbs one neutron to become 233Thorium. The 233Thorium (half life approximately 22 minutes) decays spontaneously to 233Protactinium (half life 27 days), which in turn decays to 233Uranium.
Now in order to have neutrons to bombard the 232Thorium with, usually a secondary (conventional) nuclear reaction is used (nuclear reactions produce a lot of neutrons). 233Uranium is used as a conventional nuclear reactor fuel for this reaction.
A proper Thorium reactor would produce more 233Uranium than is necessary to start up the reaction, making the reaction feasable. Additionally, if the 233Uranium ever 'runs out', the reaction will stop (the Thorium is subcritical by itself)

Another way to generate neutrons for this reaction is to use a particle accelerator. In this case the reaction mixture is completely safe from meltdown, as the reaction will instantly stop when the accelerator is turned off. However this is more expensive...

There are currently active Thorium reactors in India.

So what's the drawback? Why isn't this being done on a regular basis?

smuggo
March 2 2013, 07:17:23 PM
Explain?

the thing from the buzz buzz

A few years ago feelers were put out to various county councils as to whether or not they'd be prepared to accept a geological disposal facility within their areas. Cumbria was the only one which said 'look into it mate'. Cumbria is also the location of Sellafield, where the UK's nuclear reprocessing industry lies, along with >95% of our nuclear waste and a great deal of legacy facilities which are in the process of being decommissioned and dismantled.
Yesterday Cumbria county council vetoed moving onto the next stage of searching for a suitable site for a repository which involved more detailed surveys and whatnot, the main argument being the effect on the tourist industry and blanket NIMBYism. Local borough councils within the area where surveys were due to take place accepted that we should move on to the next stage. Aside from the long term promise of jobs and a very generous benefit package to the county which would improve local transport links... Any of the individual groups could have blocked it right up until the moment the first brick was laid. This was a case of local political opportunism.

The future of nuclear power in the UK depends on us having somewhere to store the spent fuel (in addition to our huge reservoirs of waste). Oxide reprocessing is ending in 2018 and there's no real indication there are going to be new plants built. Above ground simply won't cut it anymore. The new build power plants are pretty dependent on having some sort of plan for a geological suppository in place. Nuclear power currently accounts for around 20% of the UK's output, by 2023 we'll only have one active station on the go (well, the AGRs are probably going to get a 7 year extension each so we can push that on to 2025-2030). We've also got to seriously start cutting carbon emissions around then (a lot of older fossil fuel plants will have to shut down).

I'm pretty much done for tonight.

Try the veal.

ok this may sound really short sighted / ignorant, but nobody own antarctica, right?

And right in the middle of it, there's no penguins or wildlife... no birds, no ... anything. Why can't the first world get together, each shove in however much they pay for nuclear waste storage over, say, 10 years, and send a lovely expedition out to drill down 4-5km... and ... ship it there. No more "on-site" storage for the UK, France, USA or any other nuclear power. No one owns it, no one has "rights"... it must be cheaper than "blast it in to space" ?

Mind you, I guess the first tanker to sink carrying thousand of tons of the shit would be /o\

Aside from the greens and the UN getting upset... transport costs are a big deal. You can't just load up an oil tanker with waste. It's got to be properly shielded. The UK took a lot of Jap fuel for reprocessing and it's only recently been exporting it. For simplicity we're sending it back as vitrified high level waste (in terms of total activity). And thus it's going to be a dozen or so consignments rather than a few dozen consignments. If you wanted to ship all our shit to the Antarctic it would cost a great deal, add into that the additional risk factors of someone digging into it... it's not going to happen.

Toxic
March 2 2013, 08:24:59 PM
Im sure North Korea would love the idea, and send their own expedition down there to drill it all up again and take back home.

We wouldnt allow it. But as you said, in principle nobody owns the area.

Zeekar
March 2 2013, 08:26:18 PM
Im sure North Korea would love the idea, and send their own expedition down there to drill it all up again and take back home.

We wouldnt allow it. But as you said, in principle nobody owns the area.

:psyduck:

There are far far far easier and cheaper ways of getting fission material.

smuggo
March 2 2013, 08:32:48 PM
Im sure North Korea would love the idea, and send their own expedition down there to drill it all up again and take back home.

We wouldnt allow it. But as you said, in principle nobody owns the area.

:psyduck:

There are far far far easier and cheaper ways of getting fission material.

Pretty much this.

Aside from that... If you want a nuclear weapons program you have to do it in house. You can't go stealing spent fuel from other people, even if you reprocess it for the residual plutonium you're not going to get any A-grade material.

Pacefalm
March 2 2013, 08:55:48 PM
+rep for informative post.

Couple of things to add to it:
The primary reason that Thorium research was discontinued was because right around that time, a huge Uranium deposit was found (Kazachstan I believe). There was suddenly less need for alternative nuclear power sources so research slowed / stopped.

The way it works is as follows. You have 232Thorium, then bombard it with neutrons until it absorbs one neutron to become 233Thorium. The 233Thorium (half life approximately 22 minutes) decays spontaneously to 233Protactinium (half life 27 days), which in turn decays to 233Uranium.
Now in order to have neutrons to bombard the 232Thorium with, usually a secondary (conventional) nuclear reaction is used (nuclear reactions produce a lot of neutrons). 233Uranium is used as a conventional nuclear reactor fuel for this reaction.
A proper Thorium reactor would produce more 233Uranium than is necessary to start up the reaction, making the reaction feasable. Additionally, if the 233Uranium ever 'runs out', the reaction will stop (the Thorium is subcritical by itself)

Another way to generate neutrons for this reaction is to use a particle accelerator. In this case the reaction mixture is completely safe from meltdown, as the reaction will instantly stop when the accelerator is turned off. However this is more expensive...

There are currently active Thorium reactors in India.

So what's the drawback? Why isn't this being done on a regular basis?

More expensive to set up than conventional Uranium reactor is pretty much the main reason. Also less research has been done on Thorium reactors while Uranium fuelled ones have constantly been redesigned, enhanced and improved for more than half a century.

smuggo
March 2 2013, 09:05:34 PM
Noobs tend to tout Thorium reactors as being amazing.

Fact is they're not. India's only going down that route because noone wants to give them Uranium, lol, and they have a lot of thorium reserves.

Thorium reactors produce less 'long term' waste by volume (they don't 'eat it up' by any means) and can still make for proliferation issues.

Evelgrivion
March 3 2013, 01:32:03 AM
The implementation of Thorium in the United States could conceivably be rendered irrelevant if the always slightly over the horizon Fusion actually gets worked out. Persistently ridiculous as the history of Nuclear Fusion has been, it's worth bringing up since Lockheed Martin has seen fit to throw their hat into the arena; they expect to build a prototype reactor in just four years, with commercialization in ten.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAsRFVbcyUY

Were it just about anyone else, I'd scoff, but Lockheed Martin's extensive background in radio technology, electromagnetics, exotic materials, plasma physics through nuclear weapons design and production, and deep hands in government pockets leads me to think they just might succeed.

Zeekar
March 3 2013, 09:01:46 AM
If they have a comercially viable fusion reactor in 10 years ill buy 10 from my own pocket.

Lallante
March 3 2013, 01:46:30 PM
Explain?

the thing from the buzz buzz

A few years ago feelers were put out to various county councils as to whether or not they'd be prepared to accept a geological disposal facility within their areas. Cumbria was the only one which said 'look into it mate'. Cumbria is also the location of Sellafield, where the UK's nuclear reprocessing industry lies, along with >95% of our nuclear waste and a great deal of legacy facilities which are in the process of being decommissioned and dismantled.
Yesterday Cumbria county council vetoed moving onto the next stage of searching for a suitable site for a repository which involved more detailed surveys and whatnot, the main argument being the effect on the tourist industry and blanket NIMBYism. Local borough councils within the area where surveys were due to take place accepted that we should move on to the next stage. Aside from the long term promise of jobs and a very generous benefit package to the county which would improve local transport links... Any of the individual groups could have blocked it right up until the moment the first brick was laid. This was a case of local political opportunism.

The future of nuclear power in the UK depends on us having somewhere to store the spent fuel (in addition to our huge reservoirs of waste). Oxide reprocessing is ending in 2018 and there's no real indication there are going to be new plants built. Above ground simply won't cut it anymore. The new build power plants are pretty dependent on having some sort of plan for a geological suppository in place. Nuclear power currently accounts for around 20% of the UK's output, by 2023 we'll only have one active station on the go (well, the AGRs are probably going to get a 7 year extension each so we can push that on to 2025-2030). We've also got to seriously start cutting carbon emissions around then (a lot of older fossil fuel plants will have to shut down).

I'm pretty much done for tonight.

Try the veal.

ok this may sound really short sighted / ignorant, but nobody own antarctica, right?

And right in the middle of it, there's no penguins or wildlife... no birds, no ... anything. Why can't the first world get together, each shove in however much they pay for nuclear waste storage over, say, 10 years, and send a lovely expedition out to drill down 4-5km... and ... ship it there. No more "on-site" storage for the UK, France, USA or any other nuclear power. No one owns it, no one has "rights"... it must be cheaper than "blast it in to space" ?

Mind you, I guess the first tanker to sink carrying thousand of tons of the shit would be /o\

Aside from the greens and the UN getting upset... transport costs are a big deal. You can't just load up an oil tanker with waste. It's got to be properly shielded. The UK took a lot of Jap fuel for reprocessing and it's only recently been exporting it. For simplicity we're sending it back as vitrified high level waste (in terms of total activity). And thus it's going to be a dozen or so consignments rather than a few dozen consignments. If you wanted to ship all our shit to the Antarctic it would cost a great deal, add into that the additional risk factors of someone digging into it... it's not going to happen.

Digging into permafrost to the kind of depth needed for 1000+ years of geological stability... good luck with that!

dpidcoe
March 3 2013, 04:37:48 PM
Rather than shipping the waste to antarctica, I think it might work better if all the nimby people were collected and shipped there instead. Then dispose of the waste in whatever way makes the most sense from a safety and economic standpoint.

Also, I remember reading a kind of funny blurb in an sf magazine where someone was theorizing about future archeologists finding a waste disposal site and being fascinated by all the strange colored signs and glyphs depicting people dying horribly. It would obviously encourage them to dig more (maybe it's a site where they performed human sacrifices!), which could be bad depending on exactly what they managed to open up before someone realized what it actually was.

Tafkat
March 3 2013, 04:42:57 PM
Rather than shipping the waste to antarctica, I think it might work better if all the nimby people were collected and shipped there instead. Then dispose of the waste in whatever way makes the most sense from a safety and economic standpoint.

Also, I remember reading a kind of funny blurb in an sf magazine where someone was theorizing about future archeologists finding a waste disposal site and being fascinated by all the strange colored signs and glyphs depicting people dying horribly. It would obviously encourage them to dig more (maybe it's a site where they performed human sacrifices!), which could be bad depending on exactly what they managed to open up before someone realized what it actually was.

This is actually something that has been considered in some detail, including how to send messages to a potential human civilization 10,000 years from now that could be significantly less technologically sophisticated than ours: http://www.wipp.energy.gov/picsprog/articles/wipp%20exhibit%20message%20to%2012,000%20a_d.htm


This place is not a place of honor.

No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.

Nothing valued is here.

This place is a message and part of a system of messages.

Pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us.

We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.

http://www.wipp.energy.gov/picsprog/articles/WIPP%20Exhibit%20Message%20to%2012,000%20A_D_files/spikes02.jpe


http://www.wipp.energy.gov/picsprog/articles/WIPP%20Exhibit%20Message%20to%2012,000%20A_D_files/thorns.jpe

dpidcoe
March 3 2013, 08:19:44 PM
This is actually something that has been considered in some detail, including how to send messages to a potential human civilization 10,000 years from now that could be significantly less technologically sophisticated than ours: http://www.wipp.energy.gov/picsprog/articles/wipp%20exhibit%20message%20to%2012,000%20a_d.htm


This place is not a place of honor.

No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here.

Nothing valued is here.

This place is a message and part of a system of messages.

Pay attention to it!

Sending this message was important to us.

We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
Great read. Of course if I saw that and had no idea about anything more advanced than steam power, the first thing I'd try to do is break in and see what kind of cool stuff powerful and long dead cultures played with.

This would make an interesting experiment though, place some mock up concrete storage buildings out in the woods somewhere, stick warnings like that all over them (avoid symbols that people today could attach specific meaning to). Post a few pictures about "hey, I found something freaky" on some urban explorer forums and see if the warning signs on the outside are enough, and if not, how long until someone breaks into it.

Lallante
March 4 2013, 09:34:56 AM
Tbh theres worse that could happen than a handful of consciously risk taking "archaelogists" dying from radiation poisoning. Its not like opening the repository would set off a bomb or release a genophage or whatever.

Lumy
March 4 2013, 04:29:33 PM
I don't see it could work without any kind of cultural reference. Considering state of modern art, there is no way how to differentiate warning and some artist being pretentious ass. A case in point:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c6/Holocaust_Memorial_Berlin.JPG/640px-Holocaust_Memorial_Berlin.JPG
Good pictogram might be useful, though.

But TBH, if the future neanderthals do not have even working geiger computer, they deserve to die.

Synapse
March 4 2013, 05:31:32 PM
In half seriousness, why not just build it so that the radiation is focused on the aparrent entryway so that those who go in immediately get sick and die, rather than getting cancer 20 years later.

If there is immediate cause an effect, then it would probably be shunned as planned....or it would be used as a way to execute criminals and witches with the power of god.....that's still less deaths overall than you'd get if someone built a village out of the pretty shiny things in the ground there.

definatelynotKKassandra
March 4 2013, 06:38:04 PM
Radiactive waste doesn't work that way

dpidcoe
March 5 2013, 06:47:51 AM
Its not like opening the repository would set off a bomb or release a genophage or whatever.
The problem would be if they start removing "artifacts" and the things get into circulation before anyone realizes what's up. Sell some luminecent blue dust to the local primatives as payment for digging, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goiania_accident


But TBH, if the future neanderthals do not have even working geiger computer, they deserve to die. Because the first thing we do when we climb into a pyramid is sweep it with a geiger counter?

Pacefalm
March 5 2013, 08:20:30 AM
Its not like opening the repository would set off a bomb or release a genophage or whatever.
The problem would be if they start removing "artifacts" and the things get into circulation before anyone realizes what's up. Sell some luminecent blue dust to the local primatives as payment for digging, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goiania_accident
We are talking about several thousand years from now on. 60Cobalt* (and most radioactive materials other than reactor waste) would be long gone by then. Pretty much only very long-lived radioactive isotopes could have a chance to pose a risk in the future (uranium waste has a half life well over a billion years).

*edit: 60Cobalt is the most used isotope for medical radiation sources, but the same goes for 137Caesium which was actually involved in this specific incident.




But TBH, if the future neanderthals do not have even working geiger computer, they deserve to die. Because the first thing we do when we climb into a pyramid is sweep it with a geiger counter?

I think people could be quite certain that there is no nuclear reactor waste in thousands year old manmade places.

Lallante
March 5 2013, 08:29:38 AM
Its not like opening the repository would set off a bomb or release a genophage or whatever.
The problem would be if they start removing "artifacts" and the things get into circulation before anyone realizes what's up. Sell some luminecent blue dust to the local primatives as payment for digging, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goiania_accident


But TBH, if the future neanderthals do not have even working geiger computer, they deserve to die. Because the first thing we do when we climb into a pyramid is sweep it with a geiger counter?

Going to ridiculous efforts to

PS: noone is going to get into a high-grade radioactive fuel storage container with a screqdriver or anything less than proper tools. I've had to deal with these fuckers a few times through work and they are insane.

They literally test the containers by crashing full speed trains into them, dropping them from helicopters onto metal spikes, burning them at crazy temperatures and other similar crazy tests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJflu7z4QyI

GeromeDoutrande
March 5 2013, 02:11:37 PM
Should something be done about commercial reactors designed in the 1950s/60s/70s that are still operating?

smagd
March 5 2013, 02:44:13 PM
Should something be done about commercial reactors designed in the 1950s/60s/70s that are still operating?

Not really necessary, they'll sort themselves.

After that, there'll still be solar power for those who moved away from any nearby craters.

Even Shell (http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/scenarios/new-lens-scenarios.html) is trying to convince themselves Oil is not the future:


What might lie ahead 50 years from now… or even in 2100? We consider two possible scenarios of the future, taking a number of pressing global trends and issues and using them as “lenses” through which to view the world.

The scenarios provide a detailed analysis of current trends and their likely trajectory into the future. They dive into the implications for the pace of global economic development, the types of energy we use to power our lives and the growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

The scenarios also highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest influence on the development of cleaner fuels, improvements in energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions.

Mountains

The first scenario, labelled “mountains”, sees a strong role for government and the introduction of firm and far-reaching policy measures. These help to develop more compact cities and transform the global transport network. New policies unlock plentiful natural gas resources – making it the largest global energy source by the 2030s – and accelerate carbon capture and storage technology, supporting a cleaner energy system.

http://onebit.us/x/i/DxRyahqMtB.jpg

Oceans

The second scenario, which we call “oceans”, describes a more prosperous and volatile world. Energy demand surges, due to strong economic growth. Power is more widely distributed and governments take longer to agree major decisions. Market forces rather than policies shape the energy system: oil and coal remain part of the energy mix but renewable energy also grows. By the 2060s solar becomes the world’s largest energy source.

http://onebit.us/x/i/N1LYKRshBB.jpg

TL/DR: In dictatorships, coal and oil and gas will remain powerful. Everywhere else, solar power wins by 2060.

smuggo
March 5 2013, 05:32:21 PM
Its not like opening the repository would set off a bomb or release a genophage or whatever.
The problem would be if they start removing "artifacts" and the things get into circulation before anyone realizes what's up. Sell some luminecent blue dust to the local primatives as payment for digging, etc.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goiania_accident


But TBH, if the future neanderthals do not have even working geiger computer, they deserve to die. Because the first thing we do when we climb into a pyramid is sweep it with a geiger counter?

Going to ridiculous efforts to

PS: noone is going to get into a high-grade radioactive fuel storage container with a screqdriver or anything less than proper tools. I've had to deal with these fuckers a few times through work and they are insane.

They literally test the containers by crashing full speed trains into them, dropping them from helicopters onto metal spikes, burning them at crazy temperatures and other similar crazy tests.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJflu7z4QyI

To add to this... the site for any geological suppository should be deep enough and far enough away from any ore/coal deposits that people wouldn't even dig that close anyway. I'll try and dig up some sources when I can be bothered and I'm back in work later this week, I think the baseline for the risk assessment was a geological technician taking a core sample from an area where high level waste was stored and analysing it and even if it was done after <10000 years he wouldn't pick up a lethal dose.

Any future civilisation that can dig/drill below 300m and hits concrete where there is no need for it is probably going to have a condor moment anyway and proceed very cautiously from then on anyway.

Pacefalm
March 6 2013, 02:37:35 PM
Even Shell (http://www.shell.com/global/future-energy/scenarios/new-lens-scenarios.html) is trying to convince themselves Oil is not the future:


What might lie ahead 50 years from now… or even in 2100? We consider two possible scenarios of the future, taking a number of pressing global trends and issues and using them as “lenses” through which to view the world.

The scenarios provide a detailed analysis of current trends and their likely trajectory into the future. They dive into the implications for the pace of global economic development, the types of energy we use to power our lives and the growth in greenhouse gas emissions.

The scenarios also highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest influence on the development of cleaner fuels, improvements in energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions.

Mountains

The first scenario, labelled “mountains”, sees a strong role for government and the introduction of firm and far-reaching policy measures. These help to develop more compact cities and transform the global transport network. New policies unlock plentiful natural gas resources – making it the largest global energy source by the 2030s – and accelerate carbon capture and storage technology, supporting a cleaner energy system.

http://onebit.us/x/i/DxRyahqMtB.jpg

Oceans

The second scenario, which we call “oceans”, describes a more prosperous and volatile world. Energy demand surges, due to strong economic growth. Power is more widely distributed and governments take longer to agree major decisions. Market forces rather than policies shape the energy system: oil and coal remain part of the energy mix but renewable energy also grows. By the 2060s solar becomes the world’s largest energy source.

http://onebit.us/x/i/N1LYKRshBB.jpg

TL/DR: In dictatorships, coal and oil and gas will remain powerful. Everywhere else, solar power wins by 2060.

Pffft. Fusion power by 2040 imho

Cool09
March 8 2013, 04:03:43 PM
At the end of the paper they point out that an analysis should be done to determine the total projected deaths over 10,000 years caused by the waste and compare that to the cost of building some structure there.

As the waste isn't a threat to people on the surface, the whole "caveman repellant" element to it (pages of material about denying space for farming and husbandry) is pointless. As lall said anyone who can dig hundreds of meters through rock and get into the sealed containers probably doesn't need to be warned about radiation.

Alistair
March 9 2013, 12:16:30 PM
Space Elevator.

Waste shipped up to orbital transfer plant.

Waste sent to Sol for uber incineration.

Make it so.

(Mostly cause Space Elevator could be used for a ton of other things as well).

Pacefalm
March 9 2013, 12:42:39 PM
I, too, enjoy Alpha Centauri

Alistair
March 9 2013, 12:46:43 PM
I, too, enjoy Alpha Centauri

Today's Sci-Fi is often tomorrow's technological status quo.

:Sent from my Star-Trek-like Phone/MiniComputer whilst listening to my iPod containing 3,845 albums worth of music:

A economical mechanic for transfer from surface to orbit has to come to pass eventually, and it will.

Zeekar
March 9 2013, 02:07:25 PM
While space elevator might be science fiction for very long time ( currently its still impossible but some theoretical materials might be suitable ) space travel is becoming cheaper and cheaper with a steady pace for ages now. In time it will be affordable for everybody.

CastleBravo
March 9 2013, 06:14:49 PM
I'm betting we end up with electric powered drives that throw air out the back of the rocket at high speed before we get space elevators. Imagine a fusion powered space plane that sucks up and liquefies whatever gas is in the atmosphere of the planet it is departing from and then uses it as reaction mass to burn at 1g for a few days/weeks to anywhere in our solar system.

Synapse
March 10 2013, 09:23:51 AM
I'm betting we end up with electric powered drives that throw air out the back of the rocket at high speed before we get space elevators. Imagine a fusion powered space plane that sucks up and liquefies whatever gas is in the atmosphere of the planet it is departing from and then uses it as reaction mass to burn at 1g for a few days/weeks to anywhere in our solar system.

I know this applies to earth but since we're saying "whatever planet" there's nothing that says an atmosphere needs to contain a significant amount of a good oxidiser.

Evelgrivion
March 12 2013, 05:13:49 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/science/in-search-of-energy-miracles.html


At a legendary but secretive laboratory in California, Lockheed Martin is working on a plan that some employees hope might transform the world’s energy system: a practicable type of nuclear fusion.

Some 900 miles to the north, Bill Gates and another Microsoft veteran, Nathan Myhrvold, have poured millions into a company developing a fission reactor that could run on today’s nuclear waste.

And on the far side of the world, China has seized on discarded American research to pursue a safer reactor based on an abundant element called thorium.

Beyond the question of whether they will work, these ambitious schemes pose a larger issue: How much faith should we, as a society, put in the idea of a big technological fix to save the world from climate change?

A lot of smart people are coming to see the energy problem as the defining challenge of the 21st century. We have to supply power and transportation to an eventual population of 10 billion people who deserve decent lives, and we have to do it while limiting the emissions that threaten our collective future.

Yet we have already poured so much carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere that huge, threatening changes to the world’s climate appear to be inevitable. And instead of slowing down, emissions are speeding up as billions of once-destitute people claw their way out of poverty, powered by fossil fuels.

Many environmentalists believe that wind and solar power can be scaled to meet the rising demand, especially if coupled with aggressive efforts to cut waste. But a lot of energy analysts have crunched the numbers and concluded that today’s renewables, important as they are, cannot get us even halfway there.

“We need energy miracles,” Mr. Gates said in a speech three years ago introducing his approach, embodied in a company called TerraPower.

A variety of new technologies might help. Bright young folks in American universities are working on better ways to store electricity, which could solve many of the problems associated with renewable power. Work has even begun on futuristic technologies that might cheaply pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

But because of the pressing need for thousands of large generating stations that emit no carbon dioxide while providing electricity day and night, many technologists keep returning to potential improvements in nuclear power.

After all, despite its many problems, it is the one low-carbon energy source that we know can work on a very large scale. France gets 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors.

Perhaps Mr. Gates can find a way forward. He is the world’s second-richest man and surely the premier American technologist of the era, following the death of Steve Jobs.

His partner in TerraPower is Mr. Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer at Microsoft. Adept in geophysics, space physics, mathematics, economics, paleontology and gastronomy, Mr. Myhrvold is the man behind a $600 cookbook called “Modernist Cuisine” and a slew of other wildly inventive projects.

Their plan is to build something called a traveling wave reactor. In principle, it could operate safely for a half-century or more without refueling, and could run on material that has been discarded from today’s reactors as hazardous waste, solving several problems at once.

They have persuaded an energy veteran, John Gilleland, to run the company; he employs about 60 people and is laying plans to build a prototype reactor.

“We sensed that nuclear had not been pushed in an innovative sense for some time,” Mr. Gilleland said. “No one had taken 21st-century technology and modeling capabilities and just sort of started over.”

Their method, like that of existing reactors, is based on fission, or splitting heavy atoms, then using the resulting heat to spin turbines and make electricity.

Lockheed Martin is pursuing a more difficult course: fusion. It involves fusing hydrogen variants into heavier elements, similar to the reaction that powers the sun.

The company will not say much about the program under way at its legendary Skunk Works facility in California, which developed the U-2 spy plane. But in a videotaped speech this year, a leader of the program, Charles Chase, suggested it was aiming for small, modular fusion reactors that could be built in factories.

Mr. Chase and his colleagues face long odds: 60 years of research on fusion has produced more disappointment than progress. “There’s really only one guarantee, and that’s if we don’t try, nothing is going to happen,” Mr. Chase said in his talk.

Among the new nuclear approaches, fission reactors based on thorium are especially intriguing, offering potentially huge safety advantages. The basic concepts were proved in research by the American nuclear establishment in the 1960s, but the idea was ultimately abandoned by the Nixon administration in favor of a riskier approach called breeder reactors, which turned into an $8 billion black hole.

An engineer in Alabama, Kirk Sorensen, has helped excavate the old thorium work and founded his own tiny company, Flibe Energy, to push it forward. But it will surprise no one to hear that China is ahead of the United States on this, with hundreds of engineers working on thorium reactors.

“They’re doing laps around the track, and we haven’t even decided if we’re going to lace up our shoes,” Mr. Sorensen said.

Yet not even the speedy Chinese are likely to get a sizable reactor built before the 2020s, and that is true for the other nuclear projects as well. So even if these technologies prove to work, it would not be surprising to see the timeline for widespread deployment slip to the 2030s or the 2040s. And climate scientists tell us it would be folly to wait that long to start tackling the emissions problem.

Two approaches to the issue — spending money on the technologies we have now, or investing in future breakthroughs — are sometimes portrayed as conflicting. In reality, that is a false dichotomy. The smartest experts say we have to pursue both tracks at once, and much more aggressively than we have been doing.

An ambitious national climate policy, anchored by a stiff price on carbon dioxide emissions, would serve both goals at once. In the short run, it would hasten a trend of supplanting coal-burning power plants with natural gas plants, which emit less carbon dioxide. It would drive investment into current low-carbon technologies like wind and solar power that, while not efficient enough, are steadily improving.

And it would also raise the economic rewards for developing new technologies that could disrupt and displace the ones of today. These might be new-age nuclear reactors, vastly improved solar cells, or something entirely unforeseen.

In effect, our national policy now is to sit on our hands hoping for energy miracles, without doing much to call them forth. While we dawdle, maybe the Chinese will develop a nice business selling us thorium reactors based on our old designs. For communists, they do have an entrepreneurial bent.

But surely we would all feel better about the future if the full creative power of American capitalism were unleashed on the climate problem.

If given more attention, perhaps we can finally see the investments made to buy the future we want.

CastleBravo
March 13 2013, 06:07:36 PM
I'm betting we end up with electric powered drives that throw air out the back of the rocket at high speed before we get space elevators. Imagine a fusion powered space plane that sucks up and liquefies whatever gas is in the atmosphere of the planet it is departing from and then uses it as reaction mass to burn at 1g for a few days/weeks to anywhere in our solar system.

I know this applies to earth but since we're saying "whatever planet" there's nothing that says an atmosphere needs to contain a significant amount of a good oxidiser.

You don't need an oxidizer, you just need mass to heat up into a plasma and shoot out the back of the engine at high velocity. All the energy for the heat would come from the craft's reactor or other energy source. You would still need some sort of fuel for the reactor, but that would be negligible compared to the reaction mass you are using for propulsion.

JForce
March 15 2013, 02:44:34 AM
New reactor design could power entire world for 70 years (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/14/nuclear_reactor_salt/) (The Register)


(extract)
.......The WAMSR takes "waste" fuel pellets and dissolves them in molten salt. The fluid is then pumped into a graphite core to induce a reaction and generate heat, which is extracted via a heat exchanger and used to drive steam turbines and generate power.
The design is much more fuel-efficient than light-water reactors – using 98 per cent of the potential energy in uranium pellets – and a WAMSR unit would produce just three kilos of waste a year that would be radioactive for only hundreds of years rather than hundreds of thousands.

With around 270,000 tons of nuclear waste available worldwide, the reactors would be enough to supply all the world's projected energy needs for the next 70 years. As a side benefit, this could also reduce nuclear proliferation since countries would no longer have to manufacturer nuclear fuel......


http://youtu.be/AAFWeIp8JT0

smuggo
March 15 2013, 05:07:22 PM
New reactor design could power entire world for 70 years (http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/03/14/nuclear_reactor_salt/) (The Register)


(extract)
.......The WAMSR takes "waste" fuel pellets and dissolves them in molten salt. The fluid is then pumped into a graphite core to induce a reaction and generate heat, which is extracted via a heat exchanger and used to drive steam turbines and generate power.
The design is much more fuel-efficient than light-water reactors – using 98 per cent of the potential energy in uranium pellets – and a WAMSR unit would produce just three kilos of waste a year that would be radioactive for only hundreds of years rather than hundreds of thousands.

With around 270,000 tons of nuclear waste available worldwide, the reactors would be enough to supply all the world's projected energy needs for the next 70 years. As a side benefit, this could also reduce nuclear proliferation since countries would no longer have to manufacturer nuclear fuel......


http://youtu.be/AAFWeIp8JT0

Interdasting.

A very simplistic sugar coated and slick sales pitch though... All sounds a bit too good to be true.

I've tried to dig up a bit more technical info but can't really find anything.

Aside from the reactor design itself there's all sorts of engineering and technical challenges to deal with.

Cool09
March 15 2013, 05:38:46 PM
There are already reactors that can run off waste, think I've posted it twice in this thread. They are very expensive. So expensive in fact that fuel costs are negligible in comparison so it's not exactly a game-changer.

Zeekar
March 15 2013, 05:43:59 PM
There are already reactors that can run off waste, think I've posted it twice in this thread. They are very expensive. So expensive in fact that fuel costs are negligible in comparison so it's not exactly a game-changer.

Fuel costs are negligible in pretty much all nuclear reactors.

smuggo
March 15 2013, 06:14:40 PM
There are already reactors that can run off waste, think I've posted it twice in this thread. They are very expensive. So expensive in fact that fuel costs are negligible in comparison so it's not exactly a game-changer.

Hnnngh...

For starters it all depends on what you class as waste. Because the US has no civil reprocessing industry (due to proliferation concerns because of, among other things, lolfreemarket), spent fuel as and when it comes out of the reactor is simply written off as waste. With a bit of rejigging it can potentially be put into CANDU reactors (which don't require enriched fuel) but even then because of buildup of poisons and degradation of cladding they will become uneconomical to run. Most other reactor designs that run on 'waste' (IE FBRs) require some sort of intermediate reprocessing.

What's a bit more interesting is that these chaps are suggesting they can declad spent LWR fuel (a technical endeavour all in itself) and just drop the pellets straight into the reactor (fuelling reactors ain't like dusting crops, you'd have to take into account enrichment, burn up, cooling time etc) and I'd really like to see where this 98% number comes from.

Lallante
March 16 2013, 11:08:51 AM
There are already reactors that can run off waste, think I've posted it twice in this thread. They are very expensive. So expensive in fact that fuel costs are negligible in comparison so it's not exactly a game-changer.

Fuel costs are negligible in pretty much all nuclear reactors.

This. Upfront capital costs and decommissioning and spent fuel management/disposal make up 95% of the lifetime costs of a reactor.

BUT a good chunk of that is the spent fuel, which in the above example would be limited, so maybe it is a goer.

Lallante
March 16 2013, 11:11:19 AM
EDF got the main DCO planning consents for Hinkley Point C yesterday. Another big step forward.

Expecting a big announcement on the Contract for Difference side of things in the next couple of months. Assuming that happens, the project will too!

elmicker
March 19 2013, 01:48:15 PM
EDF got the main DCO planning consents for Hinkley Point C yesterday. Another big step forward.

Ed Davey's just announced the approval of Hinkley C's planning. Lib dems backing nuclear power. Glorious.

Lallante
March 19 2013, 02:26:32 PM
EDF got the main DCO planning consents for Hinkley Point C yesterday. Another big step forward.

Ed Davey's just announced the approval of Hinkley C's planning. Lib dems backing nuclear power. Glorious.

Lib Dem position is "no public subsidy" is it not?

elmicker
March 19 2013, 02:32:33 PM
As part of the current government, that is their policy, but in general they hold a total anti-nuclear stance. From P59 of their 2010 manifesto


"Liberal Democrats will ... Reject a new generation of nuclear power stations; based on the evidence nuclear is a far more expensive way of reducing carbon emissions than promoting energy conservation and renewable energy"

Lallante
March 19 2013, 02:41:40 PM
They are complete idiots on Energy. It really lets them down.

They literally can't describe an engineering-feasible plan for UK energy. Its literally "lets build a lot of windmills and hope for the best someone invents some new renewable tech before we have a windless day".

Cool09
March 19 2013, 08:24:38 PM
Funny how hot windless days are the same days everyone turns on the AC, thus peak power useage is highest...

Also last I checked nuclear was cheaper than wind/solar per kw/h (will admit that was a few years ago, and numbers were for Canada).

Zeekar
March 19 2013, 08:26:23 PM
They still are.

elmicker
March 19 2013, 09:55:54 PM
The last DECC report put the cost of offshore wind at £125-200/MWh (factoring in load) in the short term (next decade), and £75-110 for onshore wind, but onshore has severe capacity limitations because we're a piddly little island, with a realistic maximum of 10-15GW installed (3-5GW effective), about the capacity of one nuclear power station. PV is still rated in the multiple hundreds of pounds, is limited by space like wind, and will always be hindered by the fact we're basically as far north as moscow. The last DECC report that reviewed all technologies, rather than just "renewables", put nuclear spot on at £100/MWh, putting it a bit more expensive than gas and cheaper than coal, but the report's authors reckoned if deployed in sufficient scale, to mitigate the hilarious pre-construction and decommissioning costs, could fall to less than £70/MWh within five years, making it the cheapest option by quite a bit.

tl;dr, nuclear's cheap as fuck, dwi.

Lallante
March 23 2013, 02:19:54 AM
Nuclear built en masse by a single nationalised entity with lots of capital supported by a sensible legal regime and supportive government is cheap as fuck. Nuclear built by individually tendered CfD in an uncertain political climate with serious investment disincentives, vague, moving goalpost legal regime and significant public opposition is expensive as fuck.

Guess which the UK has opted for.

Thorjak
March 23 2013, 03:40:41 AM
Nuclear built en masse by a single nationalised entity with lots of capital supported by a sensible legal regime and supportive government is cheap as fuck. Nuclear built by individually tendered CfD in an uncertain political climate with serious investment disincentives, vague, moving goalpost legal regime and significant public opposition is expensive as fuck.

Guess which the UK has opted for.

Vague, moving goalposts? just a rough guess.

dpidcoe
March 23 2013, 04:05:31 AM
Speaking of offshore wind, what about offshore nuclear.

Cooling pumps failing? Dunk the entire thing into the ocean and problem solved.

I found a few articles about it but they were all paywalled.

Thorjak
March 23 2013, 04:28:27 AM
Speaking of offshore wind, what about offshore nuclear.

Cooling pumps failing? Dunk the entire thing into the ocean and problem solved.

I found a few articles about it but they were all paywalled.

No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.

SAI Peregrinus
March 23 2013, 04:52:07 AM
Speaking of offshore wind, what about offshore nuclear.

Cooling pumps failing? Dunk the entire thing into the ocean and problem solved.

I found a few articles about it but they were all paywalled.

No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.

To be more specific, you REALLY don't want to be releasing waste that can bioaccumulate in fish into the ocean.

Thorjak
March 23 2013, 05:09:09 AM
They are complete idiots on Energy. It really lets them down.

They literally can't describe an engineering-feasible plan for UK energy. Its literally "lets build a lot of windmills and hope for the best someone invents some new renewable tech before we have a windless day".

I have it on good assurance that one of the the most commonly uttered phrases in the national grid control room is 'Fuck Windpower'

dpidcoe
March 23 2013, 06:58:16 PM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

definatelynotKKassandra
March 23 2013, 09:01:00 PM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

Lets drop a nuclear reactor into the sea and allow the water to circulate right through the core then escape into the open ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

Aea
March 23 2013, 09:43:48 PM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

Lets drop a nuclear reactor into the sea and allow the water to circulate right through the core then escape into the open ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

I actually would like to know what could possibly go wrong, other then vague "common sense" rhetorical questions.

F*** My Aunt Rita
March 23 2013, 09:52:50 PM
I actually would like to know what could possibly go wrong, other then vague "common sense" rhetorical questions.

The ecological risks or the nuke reactor failing risks?

Synapse
March 24 2013, 01:02:39 AM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

Lets drop a nuclear reactor into the sea and allow the water to circulate right through the core then escape into the open ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

I actually would like to know what could possibly go wrong, other then vague "common sense" rhetorical questions.

As reply to both you and dpidcoe since I read a fair bit on the nuclear subject.
1) Dpid you can't use normal boiling convection for cooling, it doesn't cool it fast enough. The water needs to pass through an active reactor faster than it would under normal temperature gradients in order to cool it effectively. If it's too slow (as it would be without cooling pumps) the water begins to boil, leaving air pockets that cause even further lack of cooling and also imbalance the neutron flux through the reactor core.

2) Seawater makes for very poor coolant. It corrodes the shit out of everything it touches, and you don't want your reactor core rusting and flaking off into your coolant loop. Things rust INCREDIBLY fast in seawater, especially with the number of exotic metal alloys that go into reactor core construction. The salt also mucks with the boiling point of the water meaning some of your design assumptions about the limits of your coolant will depend on the salinity of the ocean that day.

3) Seawater is full of all kinds of shit from sharks to plankton to microbes. Some of those can be filtered out, many of the smallest will pass through the reactor, becoming radioactive in the process, and the contaminate the food chain in that area. Remember that as you go up the food chain things accumulate 100 to 1000x in concentration, so radioactivity at the base of the food chain is the most damaging.

4) Water itself under radioactivity becomes radioactive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritiated_water) and it is reportely toxic. Studies with rats have shown that replacing half of an animal's intake with heavy water (which is not radioactive) will kill them with similar symptoms to chemotherapy. Tritiated water would probably do the same plus the radiation poisoning. Heavily irradiated water will contain varying amounts of both.

Combined, these are the reasons many reactors isolate their main coolant loop through the reactor, and actually use a secondary loop of water that doesnt go through the reactor to spin turbines. Yes it requires them to exchange heat from the primary and irradiated water but it has too many beneficial effects and lets them control the pressure of the primary coolant without needing it to boil and steam to spin turbines like the secondary coolant does.

Aea
March 24 2013, 02:58:57 AM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

Lets drop a nuclear reactor into the sea and allow the water to circulate right through the core then escape into the open ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

I actually would like to know what could possibly go wrong, other then vague "common sense" rhetorical questions.

As reply to both you and dpidcoe since I read a fair bit on the nuclear subject.
1) Dpid you can't use normal boiling convection for cooling, it doesn't cool it fast enough. The water needs to pass through an active reactor faster than it would under normal temperature gradients in order to cool it effectively. If it's too slow (as it would be without cooling pumps) the water begins to boil, leaving air pockets that cause even further lack of cooling and also imbalance the neutron flux through the reactor core.

2) Seawater makes for very poor coolant. It corrodes the shit out of everything it touches, and you don't want your reactor core rusting and flaking off into your coolant loop. Things rust INCREDIBLY fast in seawater, especially with the number of exotic metal alloys that go into reactor core construction. The salt also mucks with the boiling point of the water meaning some of your design assumptions about the limits of your coolant will depend on the salinity of the ocean that day.

3) Seawater is full of all kinds of shit from sharks to plankton to microbes. Some of those can be filtered out, many of the smallest will pass through the reactor, becoming radioactive in the process, and the contaminate the food chain in that area. Remember that as you go up the food chain things accumulate 100 to 1000x in concentration, so radioactivity at the base of the food chain is the most damaging.

4) Water itself under radioactivity becomes radioactive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritiated_water) and it is reportely toxic. Studies with rats have shown that replacing half of an animal's intake with heavy water (which is not radioactive) will kill them with similar symptoms to chemotherapy. Tritiated water would probably do the same plus the radiation poisoning. Heavily irradiated water will contain varying amounts of both.

Combined, these are the reasons many reactors isolate their main coolant loop through the reactor, and actually use a secondary loop of water that doesnt go through the reactor to spin turbines. Yes it requires them to exchange heat from the primary and irradiated water but it has too many beneficial effects and lets them control the pressure of the primary coolant without needing it to boil and steam to spin turbines like the secondary coolant does.

Thanks, that was enlightening.

smuggo
March 24 2013, 05:32:36 PM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

Lets drop a nuclear reactor into the sea and allow the water to circulate right through the core then escape into the open ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

I actually would like to know what could possibly go wrong, other then vague "common sense" rhetorical questions.

As reply to both you and dpidcoe since I read a fair bit on the nuclear subject.
1) Dpid you can't use normal boiling convection for cooling, it doesn't cool it fast enough. The water needs to pass through an active reactor faster than it would under normal temperature gradients in order to cool it effectively. If it's too slow (as it would be without cooling pumps) the water begins to boil, leaving air pockets that cause even further lack of cooling and also imbalance the neutron flux through the reactor core.

2) Seawater makes for very poor coolant. It corrodes the shit out of everything it touches, and you don't want your reactor core rusting and flaking off into your coolant loop. Things rust INCREDIBLY fast in seawater, especially with the number of exotic metal alloys that go into reactor core construction. The salt also mucks with the boiling point of the water meaning some of your design assumptions about the limits of your coolant will depend on the salinity of the ocean that day.

3) Seawater is full of all kinds of shit from sharks to plankton to microbes. Some of those can be filtered out, many of the smallest will pass through the reactor, becoming radioactive in the process, and the contaminate the food chain in that area. Remember that as you go up the food chain things accumulate 100 to 1000x in concentration, so radioactivity at the base of the food chain is the most damaging.

4) Water itself under radioactivity becomes radioactive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritiated_water) and it is reportely toxic. Studies with rats have shown that replacing half of an animal's intake with heavy water (which is not radioactive) will kill them with similar symptoms to chemotherapy. Tritiated water would probably do the same plus the radiation poisoning. Heavily irradiated water will contain varying amounts of both.

Combined, these are the reasons many reactors isolate their main coolant loop through the reactor, and actually use a secondary loop of water that doesnt go through the reactor to spin turbines. Yes it requires them to exchange heat from the primary and irradiated water but it has too many beneficial effects and lets them control the pressure of the primary coolant without needing it to boil and steam to spin turbines like the secondary coolant does.

Thanks, that was enlightening.

I'd argue against point 4. Water is pretty bad at absorbing neutrons and even worse at absorbing them again to make tritium. Not a massive health risk.
Another big issue is 'environmentalism'. AFAIK a few French reactors have had to reduce their output over the summer because they're discharging 'hot' water from their secondary coolant loops which is killing fish in rivers or near to the shore.

dpidcoe
March 24 2013, 06:55:48 PM
stuff Thanks, exactly the kind of technical answer I was looking for.


I'd argue against point 4. Water is pretty bad at absorbing neutrons and even worse at absorbing them again to make tritium. Not a massive health risk.
Another big issue is 'environmentalism'. AFAIK a few French reactors have had to reduce their output over the summer because they're discharging 'hot' water from their secondary coolant loops which is killing fish in rivers or near to the shore.
afaik tritium is a beta emitter with a half life of 1-2 weeks, and pretty much anything metallic will block it. The problem would be if you ingest it you now have a bunch of beta particles shooting directly into all sorts of internal organs that would normally be untouched by it. In order to pose a health risk to people it would have to go from water->fish->human consumption within a few weeks.

smuggo
March 24 2013, 07:10:50 PM
stuff Thanks, exactly the kind of technical answer I was looking for.


I'd argue against point 4. Water is pretty bad at absorbing neutrons and even worse at absorbing them again to make tritium. Not a massive health risk.
Another big issue is 'environmentalism'. AFAIK a few French reactors have had to reduce their output over the summer because they're discharging 'hot' water from their secondary coolant loops which is killing fish in rivers or near to the shore.
afaik tritium is a beta emitter with a half life of 1-2 weeks, and pretty much anything metallic will block it. The problem would be if you ingest it you now have a bunch of beta particles shooting directly into all sorts of internal organs that would normally be untouched by it. In order to pose a health risk to people it would have to go from water->fish->human consumption within a few weeks.

Actually tritium has a half life of around 12 years. It has a slightly shorter 'biological' half life. Tritium emissions are a low concern as far as most NPPs go. LOL

Synapse
March 24 2013, 09:04:50 PM
stuff Thanks, exactly the kind of technical answer I was looking for.


I'd argue against point 4. Water is pretty bad at absorbing neutrons and even worse at absorbing them again to make tritium. Not a massive health risk.
Another big issue is 'environmentalism'. AFAIK a few French reactors have had to reduce their output over the summer because they're discharging 'hot' water from their secondary coolant loops which is killing fish in rivers or near to the shore.
afaik tritium is a beta emitter with a half life of 1-2 weeks, and pretty much anything metallic will block it. The problem would be if you ingest it you now have a bunch of beta particles shooting directly into all sorts of internal organs that would normally be untouched by it. In order to pose a health risk to people it would have to go from water->fish->human consumption within a few weeks.

Actually tritium has a half life of around 12 years. It has a slightly shorter 'biological' half life. Tritium emissions are a low concern as far as most NPPs go. LOL

Biological half life is nice and all but if you're a fish living around the reactor you're also constantly ingesting new sources as well.

The comments about heated water are also legitimate. A few degrees of warming can kill a number of important species in an ecosystem, surprisingly. I mean fish are sometimes fine but fish eggs and insects are often more vulnerable. I have no idea what impact that might also have on the oxygen content of the water, which is of course also important.

Pacefalm
March 24 2013, 10:59:59 PM
A lot of the downsides mentioned could be averted by using a two-loop setup (PWR rather than BWR design).

Not that I think it is a good idea regardless...

RazoR
March 24 2013, 11:05:37 PM
Nuclear power is the best.

Lallante
March 25 2013, 02:06:21 PM
No. Just no

One reason among many is that the control and cooling systems need steady power. and if you decide to 'dunk it' .. no, can't take this seriously.
The cooling system requires power to circulate cooling water around the core right? So why do you need power to circulate the water if it's submerged, as seawater boils away it'll circulate the rest of the water around the thing. The only thing that would screw you over is if the heat generated is greater than what the seawater can carry away (which it very well could be, I don't know enough about heat transfer and fluid analysis to even estimate the flow requirements.)

Lets drop a nuclear reactor into the sea and allow the water to circulate right through the core then escape into the open ocean. What could possibly go wrong?

I actually would like to know what could possibly go wrong, other then vague "common sense" rhetorical questions.

As reply to both you and dpidcoe since I read a fair bit on the nuclear subject.
1) Dpid you can't use normal boiling convection for cooling, it doesn't cool it fast enough. The water needs to pass through an active reactor faster than it would under normal temperature gradients in order to cool it effectively. If it's too slow (as it would be without cooling pumps) the water begins to boil, leaving air pockets that cause even further lack of cooling and also imbalance the neutron flux through the reactor core.

2) Seawater makes for very poor coolant. It corrodes the shit out of everything it touches, and you don't want your reactor core rusting and flaking off into your coolant loop. Things rust INCREDIBLY fast in seawater, especially with the number of exotic metal alloys that go into reactor core construction. The salt also mucks with the boiling point of the water meaning some of your design assumptions about the limits of your coolant will depend on the salinity of the ocean that day.

3) Seawater is full of all kinds of shit from sharks to plankton to microbes. Some of those can be filtered out, many of the smallest will pass through the reactor, becoming radioactive in the process, and the contaminate the food chain in that area. Remember that as you go up the food chain things accumulate 100 to 1000x in concentration, so radioactivity at the base of the food chain is the most damaging.

4) Water itself under radioactivity becomes radioactive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritiated_water) and it is reportely toxic. Studies with rats have shown that replacing half of an animal's intake with heavy water (which is not radioactive) will kill them with similar symptoms to chemotherapy. Tritiated water would probably do the same plus the radiation poisoning. Heavily irradiated water will contain varying amounts of both.

Combined, these are the reasons many reactors isolate their main coolant loop through the reactor, and actually use a secondary loop of water that doesnt go through the reactor to spin turbines. Yes it requires them to exchange heat from the primary and irradiated water but it has too many beneficial effects and lets them control the pressure of the primary coolant without needing it to boil and steam to spin turbines like the secondary coolant does.

Thanks, that was enlightening.

I'd argue against point 4. Water is pretty bad at absorbing neutrons and even worse at absorbing them again to make tritium. Not a massive health risk.
Another big issue is 'environmentalism'. AFAIK a few French reactors have had to reduce their output over the summer because they're discharging 'hot' water from their secondary coolant loops which is killing fish in rivers or near to the shore.

That last point on environmentalism is just a result of poor reactor location. Theres a reason most nuclear sites in the UK are on the coast, on headlands in remotish places and its not that that is where peak demand is. In the UK we also have stricter rules on seawater discharge temperature, for example existing and new reactors at Oldbury, which is on the severn estuary, cannot discharge much into the estuary because it would warm it up too much, so they use cooling towers instead. If French reactors have to decrease output in the summer this just implies the designers were too dumb to use cooling towers rather than constant sea-water recyling.

Lallante
March 25 2013, 02:07:40 PM
A lot of the downsides mentioned could be averted by using a two-loop setup (PWR rather than BWR design).

Not that I think it is a good idea regardless...

Doesn't help with the hot-waste-water issue mentioned.

Aea
March 25 2013, 04:12:03 PM
A lot of the downsides mentioned could be averted by using a two-loop setup (PWR rather than BWR design).

Not that I think it is a good idea regardless...

Doesn't help with the hot-waste-water issue mentioned.

Well when it's considered an emergency measure is this super significant?

cullnean
March 25 2013, 06:19:44 PM
I need more tritium for my susat

Tapatalk 2

Daco
March 26 2013, 05:53:47 AM
To quote a glorious Prime Minister of my beloved country.

"Lean a bit closer I think that is Uranium I can smell on your breath"

NUCLEAR FREE BABY :razor:

Lallante
March 26 2013, 11:38:18 AM
A lot of the downsides mentioned could be averted by using a two-loop setup (PWR rather than BWR design).

Not that I think it is a good idea regardless...

Doesn't help with the hot-waste-water issue mentioned.

Well when it's considered an emergency measure is this super significant?

Its not emergency only, PWR (in optimal circumstances) still use water from adjacent sea for everyday (secondary) cooling, it just never goes inside the nuclear island.

Its the single reason why Hinkley Point C is the most advanced project in the UK - Hinkley Point has incredible strong currents going past allowing significantly more hot water discharge without localised ambient warming - there is no better location for access to effective cooling.

smuggo
March 26 2013, 05:47:05 PM
I need more tritium for my susat

Tapatalk 2

I once had a SUSAT with a serial # of <1000 in around 2004. Hardly glowed at all :(.

In other news, UK PLC. published a paper on Nuclear Industrial Strategy. Had a very brief glance but it implies moving to ~50% electrical capacity coming from nuclear by the 2030's, no new reprocessing until Gen IV reactor technology becomes mature enough to pursue and no mention of managing civil plutonium stockpiles.

Lallante
March 26 2013, 07:46:56 PM
haha 50% nuclear in 2030s.

We will be extremely lucky if its more than 10%.

NoirAvlaa
March 26 2013, 10:02:37 PM
haha 50% nuclear in 2030s.

We will be extremely lucky if its more than 10%.

Stop killing my hope :(

Pacefalm
March 27 2013, 05:15:48 PM
It is already more than 10%...

definatelynotKKassandra
March 27 2013, 05:32:47 PM
It is already more than 10%...

And that proportion is falling as old reactors are decommissioned due to already being decades past their designed lifetime

Lallante
March 28 2013, 03:20:58 PM
It is already more than 10%...

Hey guys, did you know that once you build a nuclear reactor it lasts for ever?

We haven't had a serious nuclear reactor building program since the 70s. All 70s-80s reactors are due to be decomissioned between now and the early 2030s.

We could conceivably have only 1 reactor in service by 2035 (2 if Hinkley Point C goes ahead)

Pacefalm
March 30 2013, 11:03:44 AM
I could prove you wrong but its gonna take about 20 years to do so