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[MSN]US licenses first nuclear reactors since 1978 - Page 13

post #121 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralReaper View Post

About time. Nuclear is the way to go. Just take the spent rods and send them to the sun. Bam. sun lives longer and no radiation pollutes the earth. By the time we run out of material for new rods we will be on mars mining the planet for ore. And the only way to get there is with nuclear rocket engines. There are no downsides to this plan.

Yeah! Let's just start throwing our waste toward what provides life for everything on our planet. That'll solve everything!
post #122 of 223
Nuclear is the most viable alternative energy source currently at our disposal. It creates large amounts of energy while occupying relatively small patches of land while expelling steam (besides the nuclear waste). I am strongy in favor of expanding our nuclear efforts in the short run at least.

Cliff-notes version: Good news smile.gif
    
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post #123 of 223
Still confused as to how the fuel material in a reactor can have 0 chance of failure after shutting down.
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post #124 of 223
Will these reactors use Thorium instead of Uranium? It produces far less waste. Rather than try to figure out a scheme like launching it into the sun, we should focus on reducing the waste and recycling as much of it as possible. Thorium reactors offer a 10-100x reduction in the amount of waste and do not produce the kind of waste that could be used in weapons.

One of the big reasons the US went with Uranium reactors in a big way is that our military industrial complex wanted those waste products to help build our nuclear arsenal during the cold war. Uranium is not our best option, and it has given nuclear as a whole a black eye that's not necessarily deserved.

Nuclear has downsides but the planetary-scale destruction we're bringing about with carbon-based fuels is impossible to ignore any longer. Solar and wind won't solve the entire problem. Nuclear needs to have a place. Safety and waste management are easy problems to solve versus undoing the CO2 saturation in our biosphere and repairing all the devastation it is causing.
post #125 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blazing angel View Post

Just to the people saying Nuclear is the only "clean" method for power when compared to the pollutants exposed in the environments, i say it isn't. Here in Canada, we have a lot of hydro-electric dams powering our cities. These are pollution free centers. Heck, we even send power to the north eastern American states via power wires! The only thing they do is distrupt a bit of wildlife:p
Nuclear power is doing fine. The waste they produce isn't in 100x barrells, hell, its barely a few. Reactors aren't monsters spewing out death you know:thumb:

Rivers can only sustain so many dams, and the US have 10 times the population and power demands of Canada, with roughly the same amount of land (and probably rivers). Dam up all the rivers any more and you'll ruin them.
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post #126 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahilal View Post

Will these reactors use Thorium instead of Uranium? It produces far less waste. Rather than try to figure out a scheme like launching it into the sun, we should focus on reducing the waste and recycling as much of it as possible. Thorium reactors offer a 10-100x reduction in the amount of waste and do not produce the kind of waste that could be used in weapons.
One of the big reasons the US went with Uranium reactors in a big way is that our military industrial complex wanted those waste products to help build our nuclear arsenal during the cold war. Uranium is not our best option, and it has given nuclear as a whole a black eye that's not necessarily deserved.
Nuclear has downsides but the planetary-scale destruction we're bringing about with carbon-based fuels is impossible to ignore any longer. Solar and wind won't solve the entire problem. Nuclear needs to have a place. Safety and waste management are easy problems to solve versus undoing the CO2 saturation in our biosphere and repairing all the devastation it is causing.

If government provides incentive for Thorium initially, then maybe yes. Right now Thorium is more costly than Uranium. If we can get few reactors start to use Thorium, then by economies of scale the price will goes down.
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post #127 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clamtell View Post

Still confused as to how the fuel material in a reactor can have 0 chance of failure after shutting down.

Do some research on Thorium Reactors.

Thorium by its self cannot undergo a fission reaction...not sustainably anyway. You have to have a particle cannon/accelerator firing something at it every so often for the reaction to keep going. Cut the power to the particle cannon and the reaction fizzles out. Note that even with the energy expended on this there is still a very large net gain in energy output.
Quote:
Originally Posted by trumpet-205 View Post

If government provides incentive for Thorium initially, then maybe yes. Right now Thorium is more costly than Uranium. If we can get few reactors start to use Thorium, then by economies of scale the price will goes down.

I think the main reason Thorium is more expensive is that we don't really actively mine it yet. I think all we get is just by products of rare earth mining. I guess I never heard of a thorium mine anyway. In reality it is more abundant and easier to get than Uranium.
Edited by Vagrant Storm - 2/10/12 at 10:46am
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post #128 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clamtell View Post

Still confused as to how the fuel material in a reactor can have 0 chance of failure after shutting down.
It depends on the type of fuel being used.

Older style reactors use fuel that is enriched enough to continue reacting on its own. Newer style reactors use fuels that can only react if energy is applied from an outside source. Since older fuel types can continue a reaction on their own, they are susceptible to nuclear meltdowns, etc, since they will continue generating heat on their own if something goes awry in the plant. Newer fuel types cannot continue a reaction on their own, so they will not continue to generate heat in the event of something going awry in the plant. it is impossible for a nuclear meltdown to happen with those newer fuel types.

Picture it like this:
Older nuclear fuel is like a wood fire. Once it is started, it will continue burning for a while without further inputs. You don't have to add any fuel or energy to the fire in any way - it will just naturally continue burning. Older nuclear fuel is the same way - it can continue reacting without any input, and the whole goal is to keep the reaction under control. Remove the nuclear facility from the equation, and it'll keep reacting with itself, resulting in a meltdown state. In any natural disaster which removes electricity, you have the possibility of an uncontrolled meltdown from a lack of water to cool the fuel, and a lack of control over the control rods to stop the reaction.

Newer nuclear fuel is like a gas fire. As soon as you cut gas to the fire, it stops, immediately. It cannot continue on its own without additional fuel inputs. In a modern facility, the gas parallel is electricity. Without some electricity as an input to the setup, the fuel will not continue reacting. In any natural disaster which removes electricity, the reaction of the material simply stops, and there is no chance for a meltdown, even if all the water somehow leaks out of the chamber.

At least, that is the way I understand it.
post #129 of 223
I thought molten salt reactors were the next big thing...
 
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post #130 of 223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clamtell View Post

Still confused as to how the fuel material in a reactor can have 0 chance of failure after shutting down.

Look up the integral fast reactor. Here is a quote explaining the process that keeps the core from melting down.
Quote:
The IFR also has passive safety advantages as compared with conventional LWRs. The fuel and cladding are designed such that when they expand due to increased temperatures, more neutrons would be able to escape the core, thus reducing the rate of the fission chain reaction. In other words, an increase in the core temperature will act as a feedback mechanism that decreases the core power. This attribute is known as a negative temperature coefficient of reactivity. Most LWRs also have negative reactivity coefficients; however, in an IFR, this effect is strong enough to stop the reactor from reaching core damage without external action from operators or safety systems. This was demonstrated in a series of safety tests on the prototype. Pete Planchon, the engineer who conducted the tests for an international audience quipped "Back in 1986, we actually gave a small [20 MWe] prototype advanced fast reactor a couple of chances to melt down. It politely refused both times."

Source

tl;dr

The fissile material expands so much when it is overheated that fission cannot occur (physically impossible) so a meltdown is physically impossible.
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