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Starmage21
QUOTE (KnightAries @ Aug 15 2012, 07:36 AM) *
So from what I've read do far, it's safe to say, nuclear reactor is safe.
Chernobyl accident was human error and bad planning. (97% of all accidents is human error)
A MSR would be just as safe if not safer then the "standard" reactors today.
The only concern with a MSR is corrosion and not melt down.
Where's the problem and why don't we buld a few?


bias on part of the general public. Nuclear reactors are the same as nuclear bombs as far as John Q Publc is concerned.
Draco18s
QUOTE (Starmage21 @ Aug 15 2012, 08:46 AM) *
bias on part of the general public. Nuclear reactors are the same as nuclear bombs as far as John Q Publc is concerned.


"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."
Warlordtheft
QUOTE (Starmage21 @ Aug 15 2012, 08:46 AM) *
bias on part of the general public. Nuclear reactors are the same as nuclear bombs as far as John Q Publc is concerned.


All they are is giant steam engines, which is why you have to have a ready source of water for them. The dangerous bits are the fuel rods and the water that directly touches the fuel rods. That is more of a toxicity/waste disposal issue than a nuclear reaction issue. Causing a nuclear reaction is hard, and a precise thing--otherwise every country in the world would have the bomb.
Warlordtheft
QUOTE (Draco18s @ Aug 15 2012, 09:48 AM) *
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it."


"Thank you gentlemen, you're everything we expected from your government training. Now please step outside for your eye exam."
Draco18s
QUOTE (Warlordtheft @ Aug 15 2012, 10:48 AM) *
Causing a nuclear reaction is hard, and a precise thing--otherwise every country in the world would have the bomb.


Actually...it's not. High school diploma and the knowledge that it's possible.

The hard part is having access to fissionable material. Once you have enough of it in one place, it'll undergo a nuclear reaction all by itself. The trick is finding an amount that's harmlessly-stable, until outside forces act on it (say, by compressing it with a triggered explosion).
Speed Wraith
QUOTE (Warlordtheft @ Aug 15 2012, 09:48 AM) *
All they are is giant steam engines, which is why you have to have a ready source of water for them. The dangerous bits are the fuel rods and the water that directly touches the fuel rods. That is more of a toxicity/waste disposal issue than a nuclear reaction issue. Causing a nuclear reaction is hard, and a precise thing--otherwise every country in the world would have the bomb.


Yup, waste is the real issue. We can't even comprehend properly how long it takes for that stuff to be safe. I mean, we can easily find the numbers, but it isn't something the human brain can truly comprehend. Civilization hasn't even existed for as long as much of that waste will be dangerous.
Sengir
QUOTE (KnightAries @ Aug 15 2012, 12:36 PM) *
The only concern with a MSR is corrosion and not melt down.

A meltdown is a symptom and not a cause...and I've never understood the general public's obsession with the aggregate state of the fuel "Yeah, the whole complex blew up and and all the fuel is on its way to the Jet Stream now...but it didn't melt, no problem".


As far as the corrosion (or material failure in general) being the only concern goes...you mentioned another major problem (humans) yourself, then there is the aforementioned problem when oxygen gets into the containment, water is another biggie, blackouts lead to the standard risks of decay heat...
It's no better than conventional light water designs, just replaces a few design-specific problems with its own. Why invest a crapload of money for zero improvement?
Big D
How exactly did the test MSRs that ran for several decades handle this issue?

Also, I'm a tad surprised that nobody has mentioned polywell or focus fusion. If either of those works out, they'll change the world.
Irion
QUOTE (Starmage21 @ Aug 15 2012, 12:46 PM) *
bias on part of the general public. Nuclear reactors are the same as nuclear bombs as far as John Q Publc is concerned.

First of all: They would make a lot of the existant way of buissness useless. In words: The production of a "fuel".
And then there are some technical problems. Like how to keep your salt clean. (You have to deal with the accumulation of neutron poisons and so on)

So the technoloy is not ready for the big market yet. But you have to consider, that the money invested in the MSR is nothing compared to the research in the "regular" nuclear reactors....
So, it might be ready with additional research.
The question beeing would be if we want to stay with nuclear or reinvest. Becuase the waste problem still does exist. Might be the better choice to take the old models, make them a bit safer and go for fusion or whatever comes along in the next 50 years. It should be considered, that such a reactor will have to run for 20 to 30 years in order to "turn a profit". So it might not be such a good idea to do research to build an MSR in 10 years, to go online in additional 2 years. Now this thing needs to run for at least another 30 years....
And to predict the futur for 40 years is kind of hard...

I would guess the best approach would be to do international coordinated research in different avenues. Most stuff might just come up empty. But even might,solar energy for example, still be used in Satallites or drones or for building far off the grid. So making them independant is cheaper than building the grid.
Speed Wraith
Heh, by the way, I just tripped over this article about butterfly mutations following Fukushima.
KnightAries
A couple of things about MSR's
They are actually harder to keep at critical then current reactors. You need them at that point for stable power generation.
Power output is lower when they are at critical.

It was tested as feasable but full scale success has not happened.

The melt down disaster at Chernobyl was because of two idiots (btw they both died there). Head idiot in charge had just finished school and had no experiance. The civilian injuries were due to govt idiots not evac in time even though they had forewarning.
Shortstraw
QUOTE (Speed Wraith @ Aug 16 2012, 12:52 AM) *
Yup, waste is the real issue. We can't even comprehend properly how long it takes for that stuff to be safe. I mean, we can easily find the numbers, but it isn't something the human brain can truly comprehend. Civilization hasn't even existed for as long as much of that waste will be dangerous.

Understand nuclear waste in 40 minutes or your money back.
Irion
I guess, everybody knows about transmutation. The point is there is still a lot of "waste" outside of plutonium. And of course the time it needs to get the product out of it. I mean that guy is going 30.000 Years... Well, yeah..... And well, the plutonium is still dangerous as hell.... The point is, even thinking in the a couple of hundred years is like thinking the guys in the middle ages would have left us a bunch of wood to burn for our heating needs... The point of regaining that stuff out of radioactive waste is the fact, that the waste is radioaktive. He makes it sound like there is a lot in there. But for example xenon with about 6-7kg per m means 6-7kg per about 10.000-20.000kg.
And you need to clean it up. Which can be quite expensive, since well you need to do it in isolated environments... (The first question nearly tanks him, meaning Xenon is the only element you might get out of it without difficulties...) The question quite put it into perspective...

It kind of reminds me about the hype of renewable energy. Yeah, that energy is for free and forever. Still, the costs are in collecting it....
Shortstraw
It's more that if you can separate out certain elements in the waste and use them for other things then you only need to sequester it for a short period of time.
Sengir
*sigh*

Nuclear breeding does not make nuclear waste magically disappear. The intention of the concept is to create new fuel from non-fissile elements, but that does not impact the fission products and transuraniums generated in the original fuel.
Reprocessing removes the usable transuraniums and returns them to the fuel cycle, but that only postpones disposal -- you are not disposing plutonium, but sending it through the reactor once more and then dispose the same amount (minus mass defect) of plutonium fission products.


So if you consider nuclear waste as the killer argument against nuclear energy, neither breeding nor reprocessing should change anything...then again, people holding that position always seem a bit inconsequential, as long as they do not demand a total phase-out of all chemical industry at the same time.
Stahlseele
If we had safe space travels, nuclear waste would not be quite such a problem . .
just shoot the stuff into the stun and be done with it . .
Starmage21
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Aug 16 2012, 05:35 AM) *
If we had safe space travels, nuclear waste would not be quite such a problem . .
just shoot the stuff into the stun and be done with it . .


Yeah. I'd rather take those radioactive rocks that we took from the ground and put them right back in their natural habitat: back under the ground.
Shortstraw
QUOTE (Sengir @ Aug 16 2012, 08:28 PM) *
*sigh*

Nuclear breeding does not make nuclear waste magically disappear. The intention of the concept is to create new fuel from non-fissile elements, but that does not impact the fission products and transuraniums generated in the original fuel.
Reprocessing removes the usable transuraniums and returns them to the fuel cycle, but that only postpones disposal -- you are not disposing plutonium, but sending it through the reactor once more and then dispose the same amount (minus mass defect) of plutonium fission products.


So if you consider nuclear waste as the killer argument against nuclear energy, neither breeding nor reprocessing should change anything...then again, people holding that position always seem a bit inconsequential, as long as they do not demand a total phase-out of all chemical industry at the same time.

The video makes the point that 3 elements are responsible for the long term radioactivity of waste - Cesium (which decays into Barium) Plutonium and Strontium (which decays into Yttrium). Each of which is usable in some way - plutonium is obviously usable to generate power, Cesium can be used to irradiate food to kill bacteria such as E.Coli and Strontium can be used in Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators and Radioisotope Heater Units. By removing and reusing these three elements you only need to store the waste for ~100 years (don't get me wrong you wouldn't build a house out of it but you can stick it in a hole and not worry about it).
Irion
@Shortstraw
You still would end upt with the Cesium and the plutonium....
This means you need ways to use it....
And those uses need to be expensive enough so it is worth taking it out of the mix.

Not saying it ain't an idea... The point is, it can at best be helping with the problem and it won't solve it.
I guess thats why Shadowrun uses Fusion energy.... Every SiFi needs a nearly "clean" reactor...
Sengir
QUOTE (Shortstraw @ Aug 16 2012, 02:49 PM) *
The video makes the point that 3 elements are responsible for the long term radioactivity of waste - Cesium (which decays into Barium) Plutonium and Strontium (which decays into Yttrium). Each of which is usable in some way

Relabeling the major hazards from "waste" to "usable" neither reduces the dangers nor amounts of material. If nuclear waste is a problem that is not adequately addressed by long-term (well, forever) storage, then handling it outside of salt formations obviously is far worse. If our means of disposal are adequate, well, case closed.

Also, food sterilization works just as well with X-rays or accelerated neutrons, both of which are vastly superior in terms of handlind, safety, and security. And radioisotope generators are a fringe application if there ever was one.
pbangarth
QUOTE (Sengir @ Aug 16 2012, 06:32 PM) *
And radioisotope generators are a fringe application if there ever was one.

Except to the people who live because of them. (Caveat: please do not mistake me for an apologist for the nuclear industry.) I am given to understand, though, that there exists laser technology to generate isotopes. This came up here in Canada a while ago when our Chalk River nuclear facility, responsible for generating roughly half of the world's medical nuclear isotopes, went offline.
Irion
Just as a side note: Just because something does safe lifes, it is not a mainstream application.
If you have a cure for a very rare but deadly illness, you will safe lifes with it. But it is probably wise to produce thousand of tons of this cure..
For medical application the amount needed per application is very low. The problem is, that it has to be very pure.
Sengir
QUOTE (pbangarth @ Aug 17 2012, 04:47 AM) *
Except to the people who live because of them. (Caveat: please do not mistake me for an apologist for the nuclear industry.) I am given to understand, though, that there exists laser technology to generate isotopes. This came up here in Canada a while ago when our Chalk River nuclear facility, responsible for generating roughly half of the world's medical nuclear isotopes, went offline.

Being very rarely used (and no longer at all in pacemakers, modern Li-Ion batteries last as long as the pacemaker) does not make radioisotope generators useless. However it means they are not a viable destination for the volume of nuclear waste we produce.
Some ballpark numbers: An average commercial reactor produces 30 t of spent fuel a year, 1% of which are Pu. Curiosity's RTG contains around 5 kg Pu oxide...
Stahlseele
QUOTE (Starmage21 @ Aug 16 2012, 02:40 PM) *
Yeah. I'd rather take those radioactive rocks that we took from the ground and put them right back in their natural habitat: back under the ground.

new idea:
what happens, when it gets chucked into an active volcanoe?
Starmage21
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Aug 17 2012, 07:50 AM) *
new idea:
what happens, when it gets chucked into an active volcanoe?


You get a slightly more radioactive volcano unless its a lot of waste. Volcanic eruptions already spread dangerous material about as part of normal activity, but the level of radioactivity of a volcano or its eruption is going to depend on the amount of naturally occurring radioactive material deposits along the magma veins feeding it.

I think there are a couple of em out there that you cant even get close to.

**EDIT**

someone has done most of the work already for this line of thinking: http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010...waste-volcanoes
Stahlseele
Other Idea:
Under Water Tunneling into the edge of Subduction zones, then blast the tunnels closed again.
It will take long, but it will get burried into the mantle of the earch unther the crust again right?
Draco18s
QUOTE (Stahlseele @ Aug 17 2012, 08:50 AM) *
new idea:
what happens, when it gets chucked into an active volcanoe?


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