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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 01:29am
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Strange, I thought MSRs used a lithium flouride / beryllium flouride eutectic, not liquid metallic sodium.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 01:38am
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fnord wrote:
Strange, I thought MSRs used a lithium flouride / beryllium flouride eutectic, not liquid metallic sodium.



You're referring to the Molten Salt Cooled Reactor, not the Molten Salt Fueled Reactor (though the later is still cooled by molten salt), the later can incorporate the fuel as a molten substance directly into the circulating loop in the form of uranium tetrafluoride, for instance, removing the need for fuel assemblies.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 01:40am
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I thought that was the eutectic that carried the fuel salt (either UF4 or PuF3), with the blanket salt being identical but swapping U for Th.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 02:20am
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fnord wrote:
I thought that was the eutectic that carried the fuel salt (either UF4 or PuF3), with the blanket salt being identical but swapping U for Th.



Yeah, some of them are and your information might even reflect a better picture of the current research. There's lots of different options available to be pursued with the basic concept of the molten salt reactor to the point it's sometimes hard to keep track of them, especially with the fuel/coolant options.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 05:22am
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MSR seems really promising technology, it just makes me wonder why MSR development has`t been pursued more aggressively since experimental reactors decades ago has proved this concept works and technology is well understood.

Imagine only about 1 - 2 tons of nuclear fuel necessary to operate 1 GW reactor for a year and practically no long term nuclear waste to bother with. This is as good as fusion with huge advantage of being a proven concept which we know it will work.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 05:28am
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Sky Captain wrote:
MSR seems really promising technology, it just makes me wonder why MSR development has`t been pursued more aggressively since experimental reactors decades ago has proved this concept works and technology is well understood.

Imagine only about 1 - 2 tons of nuclear fuel necessary to operate 1 GW reactor for a year and practically no long term nuclear waste to bother with. This is as good as fusion with huge advantage of being a proven concept which we know it will work.



It's because by the time the MSR concept was proved, Nuclear had become Evil, and was Dead. Thirty years later we're reinventing the wheel in getting MSR's in service.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 06:14am
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Milton Shaw didn't help its prospects in the US either, having somewhat of a hate-on for the concept, in favour of the LMFBR - the hatchet job came down in 1972 with the publication of WASH-1222. He didn't listen when ORNL researchers warned him about the differing relative maturities of the three main reactor types (LWR, MSR, LMFBR), either - then again, Shaw didn't listen to many people barring Adm. Rickover.

By this time, the original experimental reactor had completed full power runs, months long, running on each of the three major fuels - U233, U235 and Pu239, and design studies were underway in consultation with industry to scale up the idea to a gigawatt-class commercial reactor.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 02:33pm
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My sister used to work for the Wilderness Society, so I have discussions with her about this occasionally (though I don't push too hard because she has a chip on her shoulder and that would just be bad family mojo).

The discussions usually go like this:

Her: Uranium mining is too dangerous for the environment
Me: You require far less materials for nuclear than you do for an equivalent amount of wind power. Nuclear actually leaves a smaller mining footprint.

Her: Yeah, well nuclear waste is dangerous.
Me: It's not that dangerous. And you can recycle it. Besides, there are mountains in Australia more radioactive than that. We can just dump it there and make the area less radioactive.

Her: Well what about a meltdown?
Me: Not likely, besides *explain the deal with Chernobyl and three mile island*

Her: I still think things like solar power are better for the environment.
Me: What about the chemicals used to make solar panels? And what about the amount of space needed for solar farms? Do you support widescale habitat destruction so you can make adequately large solar farms?

Her: Yeah, well the water used to run a nuclear plant will get radioactive and contaminate our water supply.
Me: They can recycle the water too, and I'm not even sure if the water gets significantly radioactive.

The last one is the one I'm not too sure of. How much waste water does a nuclear power plant produce, and how dangerous is it?



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 02:58pm
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The "waste water" is the water pumped in to cool the water that needs to be condensed from steam back into liquid. It is on a completely separate loop than the steam, so no radioactivity is transferred (or very little, I should say). The environmental damage comes from the fact that the water is hot when it is pumped back into the river. Now, if we could just use this hot water...



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 03:41pm
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Or we could just pump it into an artificial lake and let it cool off before it reenters the river it was sucked from. Sheesh, these are dumb objections.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 05:28pm
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The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Or we could just pump it into an artificial lake and let it cool off before it reenters the river it was sucked from. Sheesh, these are dumb objections.


A lined lake, maybe. Otherwise it'll infiltrate into the surrounding ground.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 07:40pm
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Illuminatus Primus wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Or we could just pump it into an artificial lake and let it cool off before it reenters the river it was sucked from. Sheesh, these are dumb objections.


A lined lake, maybe. Otherwise it'll infiltrate into the surrounding ground.



We're not talking hot as in from the hot loop, IP, that never leaves the containment dome of the reactor. We're talking about hot as in cold water (non-radioactive) which has been superheated into steam in the power generation process and then dumped back into the river after it condenses.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-07 08:18pm
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I feel like point out that the highly endangered Florida Crocodile has been saved (well, imminent extinction headed off) in large part through the construction of a crocodile preserve in the cooling canals at the Turkey Point nuclear power station. The canals fill an area of about 5 x 2 miles and remove the need for cooling towers, and actually cool the water so much it can be recirculated back into the condensers. Chernobyl relied completely on a giant cooling lake too, though the additional reactors being built back in 1986 would have had cooling towers. I'm sure other examples exist too.

This means not only is environmental damage from hot water entering waterways removed, you physically use up less water too, since large cooling ponds rely more on radiant cooling and less on evaporative cooling, while costing much less then dry cooling towers. Course, you also need a lot of flat land.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 01:21am
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Illuminatus Primus wrote:
This is an appeal to popularity and a changing of the goalposts. You're having an "is-ought" discussion. You're trying to persuade the people (also, a majority now favor nuclear expansion, so his little chickenshit argument is fallacious itself) as to what is in their interests and realistic means to realize those interests.


Source? I would like that information next time I come across an anti-nuclear whiner.


Since this thread is about general nuclear energy questions, can I ask which countries are planning to invest heavily in nuclear energy infrastructure. I know China is investing in it, although it would still be years before there efforts bear fruit. Any one else?

Sadly we aren't one of those countries. :evil:



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 06:36am
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mr friendly guy wrote:
Illuminatus Primus wrote:
This is an appeal to popularity and a changing of the goalposts. You're having an "is-ought" discussion. You're trying to persuade the people (also, a majority now favor nuclear expansion, so his little chickenshit argument is fallacious itself) as to what is in their interests and realistic means to realize those interests.


Source? I would like that information next time I come across an anti-nuclear whiner.


Since this thread is about general nuclear energy questions, can I ask which countries are planning to invest heavily in nuclear energy infrastructure. I know China is investing in it, although it would still be years before there efforts bear fruit. Any one else?

Sadly we aren't one of those countries. :evil:



80% of French electrical power already comes from Nuclear, and there haven't been any major French nuclear accidents, have there? I can't believe that isn't a devastating argument in favour of nuclear energy and against the whiners, but it's never brought up.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 11:10am
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mr friendly guy wrote:
Since this thread is about general nuclear energy questions, can I ask which countries are planning to invest heavily in nuclear energy infrastructure. I know China is investing in it, although it would still be years before there efforts bear fruit. Any one else?


Work continues as ever in Asia: China, India, Japan, Korea etc. In Europe, Olkiluoto-3 is under construction in Finland with murmurs about another (though the construction is a couple of years behind schedule). Flamanville-3 in France has been given the go ahead. Sweden has just overturned its moratorium, which could mean a glowing future ahead. The British government has approved renewal of the nuclear base, though they seem to just repeatedly approve it without actually getting anywhere with it. Shit is happening in Eastern Europe, though I can't remember exactly what. In the Americas, I believe a new unit has been approved at Bruce power station in Canada. Argentina has been doing some building lately, keeping the Canadians in work. In the USA, numerous applications have gone in, though it's all tentative at this stage.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 11:17am
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The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
80% of French electrical power already comes from Nuclear, and there haven't been any major French nuclear accidents, have there? I can't believe that isn't a devastating argument in favour of nuclear energy and against the whiners, but it's never brought up.

It should be brought up more often, but in America it would be pointless because Americans tune out the moment they hear someone citing anything in Europe as an example of anything. Just look at the universal health care debate, where people seriously claim the whole concept of universal health care is an untested idea.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 02:04pm
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Glom wrote:
Shit is happening in Eastern Europe, though I can't remember exactly what.

Well, this is what I found:
  • Slovakia re-started construction of Unit 3 & 4 in the Mochovce NPP in 2008. (Owner's homepage)
  • Bulgaria re-started construction of the Belene NPP in 2008.
  • The Vasignas NPP in Lithuania currently in the planning stage. (project homepage)
  • According to wiki (reference section broken) the construction of Unit 3 & 4 in the Cernavodă NPP re-started in 2008.
  • All 4 reactors of the Paks NPP in Hungary got a 20 year lifetime extension and an uprating to 500 MWe between 2006 and 2008.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 03:41pm
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The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
80% of French electrical power already comes from Nuclear, and there haven't been any major French nuclear accidents, have there? I can't believe that isn't a devastating argument in favour of nuclear energy and against the whiners, but it's never brought up.

I listened to Patrick Moore arguing with some "anti-nuclear journalist" on the radio last week, and the journalist had moved on to the old argument about how nuclear is supposedly so expensive, and tried arguing that reprocessing was totally unfeasible because it "just doesn't work" and costs so much.

Moore pointed out the 80% figure for France, that Japan is also heavily reliant on nuclear, that they both use reprocessing extensively, and asked why they would have done so if it were really so unfeasibly expensive - the only retort that the anti-nuclear activist had was that those were "socialist" electrical utilities, that it was all state-run. Moore said, yeah, well maybe if we're the only ones with private electrical generation, we should rethink that, since electricity is so vital that it could be considered a matter of national security. The activist came back with "well we just shouldn't want socialist programs like that, we wouldn't accept it here."

I'm not sure how many other anti-nuclear activists would go down the anti-socialist line, although an excellent retort would be that we already have some socialist electrical generation here - the Bonneville Power Administration is one example, and it sells electricity so cheaply that Bush was for awhile attempting to force the BPA to charge "market rates" for electricity because it "wasn't fair" that we got cheaper electricity than the rest of the nation.

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
The city of Astoria for instance might be an ideal place for one of these facilities, with power easily supplied to Portland and coal for the Fischer-Trosch operations hauled in by railroad directly from the east, and plenty of seawater nearby for desalination and hydrogen cracking.

I would weep with joy if such a thing came to fruition. Probably my greatest frustration with Oregon is that it has developed an irrational loathing for nuclear power ever since the Trojan plant turned out to be a lemon, and I'm afraid we'll wind up sticking our thumbs up our asses while everyone else is building actual electrical infrastructure.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 06:57pm
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The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Illuminatus Primus wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Or we could just pump it into an artificial lake and let it cool off before it reenters the river it was sucked from. Sheesh, these are dumb objections.


A lined lake, maybe. Otherwise it'll infiltrate into the surrounding ground.



We're not talking hot as in from the hot loop, IP, that never leaves the containment dome of the reactor. We're talking about hot as in cold water (non-radioactive) which has been superheated into steam in the power generation process and then dumped back into the river after it condenses.


Okay, well the pond will need to be suitably large to provide adequate radiative cooling before flowing continuously into a normal river with wildlife. That's going to increase your property costs.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 06:59pm
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Darth Wong wrote:
The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
80% of French electrical power already comes from Nuclear, and there haven't been any major French nuclear accidents, have there? I can't believe that isn't a devastating argument in favour of nuclear energy and against the whiners, but it's never brought up.

It should be brought up more often, but in America it would be pointless because Americans tune out the moment they hear someone citing anything in Europe as an example of anything. Just look at the universal health care debate, where people seriously claim the whole concept of universal health care is an untested idea.


Rhetorically phrasing it as "if the French can do it, are we too pussy for it?" usually helps considerably. In any case, I was convinced recent polling showed support for new nuclear in the 60s.



"You know what the problem with Hollywood is. They make shit. Unbelievable. Unremarkable. Shit." - Gabriel Shear, Swordfish

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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-08 07:47pm
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One of the more clever rhetorical tricks of the anti-nuclear crowd is to smear the distinction between high-level waste and low-level waste. A lot of people don't realize that these scary large tonnage figures of yearly waste production are invariably generated by treating high-level waste and low-level waste as if they are the same thing. Most people don't even realize there is such a thing as low-level waste. They think that all of it is of the "we have to bury it in the ground for a quarter-million years" variety.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-09 05:23am
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Even worse when tabloid newspapers get in on it for sensationalism.



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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-09 01:36pm
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Uraniun235 wrote:
I'm not sure how many other anti-nuclear activists would go down the anti-socialist line,


Round these parts, it's the Left that is more anti-nuclear. I was under the impression is the same over there too.

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 Post subject: Re: Questions about nuclear energy PostPosted: 2009-02-09 05:42pm
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tim31 wrote:
Even worse when tabloid newspapers get in on it for sensationalism.


Even if someone planted a real bomb on a train carrying spent nuclear fuel it would result only in derailed train and highly unlikely to cause any release of radiation. These fuel casks are stronger than tanks, you would need to direct hit one with anti tank missile to have any chance to breach it and cause radiation release.

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