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Nuclear waste-burning reactor moves a step closer to reality
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Aurora



Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:33 pm    Post subject: Nuclear waste-burning reactor moves a step closer to reality Reply with quote

Quote:
The Guardian - 09/07/12

Feasibility study shows GE-Hitachi's proposed Prism fast reactor could offer a solution to the UK's plutonium waste stockpile.

Article continues ...
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
David MacKay, the chief scientist at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) told the Guardian there was enough energy in the UK's waste stockpile to power the country for more than 500 years

That statement needs some unpacking...

PRISM isn't a breeder reactor, it's a once-through-cycle fast reactor. Consequently the 100 tonnes of plutonium will be the fissile core which potentially could utilise some of the 35,000 tonnes of depleted uranium which McKay is interested in. (Even Monbiot's a supporter!)

However, to say that's 500 years of "energy" (they mean electricity, less than a fifth of UK "energy" use) is absurd. It's doesn't make sense on the back of an envelope at least. PRISM only produces 300MW of power, and at that rate one single reactor will never finish processing the uranium stockpile this millennia -- unless of course they're planning a lot more once they've got their foot in the door at Sellafield. It won't produce more than a fraction of one percent of UK electricity needs (300MW out of 90GW of installed generating capacity is about 0.3% -- less than the variance in daily consumption due to the weather!).

Also, the economics of a one-off reactor mean that the power produced will be much more expensive, and 300MW is likely to be less than Sellafield's power consumption and so what power is generated will never make it off the site -- it'll just be absorbed into the higher costs of the NDA's budget. This is a waste disposal option; it's lipstick on a pig to suggest that this is a beautiful and desirable way to produce power.

....end of rant! Evil or Very Mad
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
construction of the new facility will most likely take around 10 years, according to the NDA, which said it expects the new plant to be up and running in "the early years of the next decade".


10 years to get a sodium-cooled fast reactor decided upon, designed, built and working. La-la land.
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Lftrsuk



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:
PRISM only produces 300MW of power, and at that rate one single reactor will never finish processing the uranium stockpile this millennia -- unless of course they're planning a lot more


One "PRISM power block" produces 622 MWe, so 27 of these would provide our 16 GW of 'New Nuclear' electricity, which are all to be PWRs.

It's essential we get away from the flawed technology of PWRs, even with the peculiar methods of passive safety to be employed by the ones under consideration. They give too much ammunition to the anti-nuke scare-mongerers and continue to be held in suspicion by the public at large.

PRISM's predecessor, EBR-II (Experimental Breeder Reactor-II), underwent a Fukushima-style failure and survived. All safety systems were shut down and all electrics 'lost' - 70 scientists watched as the reactor shut itself down according to the laws of physics - inherent safety was demonstrated.

In one or two generations, nations grabbing for the vestiges of unaffordable hydrocarbons, will threaten world order, peace and stability. As the lights start to sputter, the shout will go up for inherently safe breeder reactors to be deployed worldwide.

By then, the accelerating energy demands and increasing economic power of the (now) developing world, will ensure they get their share - even at the expense of forcing a decline in living standards of those in the (now) developed world.

The simple answer to avoid conflict and meet the future emissions-free energy needs of the UK and every nation on Earth, is the widespread deployment of breeder reactors. The arithmetic is simple; the sums add up; the fuel is available until the end of time; no other energy technology is capable of completely replacing hydrocarbons.


The only decision the children or grandchildren of today's young parents will have to come to is: will it be LMFBRs or MSBRs: http://lftrsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/breeder-reactors-it-is-but-will-it-be.html
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
To generate electricity for a city of 1 million people for 1 year:___Mine 3,200,000 tonnes of coal - emit 8,500,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases and particulates - landfill 900,000 cubic metres of toxic/radioactive fly-ash.___OR___Mine 50,000 tonnes of uranium ore - emit no greenhouse gases - produce 24 tonnes of radiotoxic 'waste'.___OR___Mine 50 tonnes of equivalent thorium ore - emit no greenhouse gases - produce 0.8 tonnes of radiotoxic 'waste'.


I only got as far as the first sentence on your website. How do you mine uranium without emitting any greenhouse gas?
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RenewableCandy



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Easy: let your country's dissidents do it, then shoot them. It's Carbon neutral Twisted Evil
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Lftrsuk



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
I only got as far as the first sentence on your website. How do you mine uranium without emitting any greenhouse gas?


The same way you mine the iron ore and coal (to make steel) and produce the (diabolically CO2 emitting) cement, for the concrete, to install a wind turbine - 54 X worse than nuclear power: http://lftrsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/how-green-is-wind-turbine-in-my-valley.html

Oh, I forgot - you would like us to believe that all you have to do is plant a windmill seed and watch it grow.

Read on!
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lftrsuk wrote:
The same way you mine the iron ore and coal (to make steel) and produce the (diabolically CO2 emitting) cement, for the concrete, to install a wind turbine - 54 X worse than nuclear power

Do you have any research/references to prove that string of bullshit? Laughing
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adam2
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If one is going to include the carbon emissions from the manufacture of the cement used in wind turbine towers, then one should also include the manufacture of the cement used in the building of nuclear power plants.

All those that I have seen involve immense volumes of cement.

Nuclear power plants do not emit any carbon from fuel burning, but the indirect emmisions are clearly substantial.
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Lftrsuk



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:
Do you have any research/references to prove [it]


Yes! But it's a 20 page long scientific paper, by a Professor of Physics, but don't let that put you off, since it could help your presentation skills on energy issues: http://pb-ahtr.nuc.berkeley.edu/papers/05-001-A_Material_input.pdf
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mobbsey



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lftrsuk wrote:
Yes! But it's a 20 page long scientific paper, by a Professor of Physics, but don't let that put you off, since it could help your presentation skills on energy issues: http://pb-ahtr.nuc.berkeley.edu/papers/05-001-A_Material_input.pdf

OK, that doesn't conform to the way most other energy life-cycle analyses are carried out! (e.g., see this, or better still this one from Oz). The indicator of "metric tonnes of steel per peak megawatt generating capacity" is meaningless because that doesn't give you any idea of the life-time impact of the structure once you take the post-decommissioning of materials into account.

Also what grade of steel are we talking about here? The sort of stuff that's used in the rebar for wind foundations; or the high quality chromium nickel steel required for reactor pressure vessels and pipework -- which costs substantially more and has a much high ecological footprint than the lower grades of low-carbon nickel steel used in wind turbine towers, nacelles and foundations.

And of course the greatest flaw in this paper is that there is absolutely no consideration of the impacts of waste disposal or fuel recycling/reprocessing, which represent another substantial chunk of high quality steel and concrete consumption that wind power does not require over its life-cycle. Whenever the nuclear industry does these kind of studies (e.g. this) they always miss the long-term waste disposal part of the system!!

Then again, look at the lead author:
Quote:
Per Peterson performs research related to high-temperature fission and fusion energy systems, as well as studying topics related to the safety and security of nuclear materials and waste management. He recently participated as a member of a National Research Council committee reviewing DOE Office of Nuclear Energy R&D programs, which provided recommendations on DOE's Generation IV, AFCI, and GNEP programs. He has served as a member and chair of numerous advisory committees for the national laboratories, including LLNL, LANL, INL, ORNL, and PNNL....


If you check my history you'll see that I'm no friend of "industrial wind". However, as papers go this proves nothing. It's written by a bunch on people who have close and dependent links to the nuclear industry. Most comparative materials and energy analyses are now carried out by independent contractors who specialise in this work, and who have taken the time to amass a detailed database of information related to the impact of raw materials production, manufacturing and industrial processes.

Nuclear power will not save the technological economy. It's just as limited in terms of resources production as fossil fuels, and as demonstrated by Fukushima the impact of accidents (not aided by the incestuous relationship between the industry, academics and government safety institutes) far outweigh any economic benefit from the production of power.

There is only one essential energy source for the human species -- food. Everything else, which we might call culture, is negotiable within the relationship our species has to the environment it inhabits. That's the reality of our situation; and that's ultimately why advanced technological solutions to the "energy problem" will fail.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wot Mobbs said, plus wind-turbines look pretty. I mean, they didn't put a liquid sodium cooled fast breeder reactor on the hill in Telly Tubby Land, did they? Did they?

And furthermore, Lftrsuk, you never answered my question, which was a bit rude for someone new to PowerSwitch.
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Lftrsuk



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mobbsey wrote:
OK, that doesn't conform to the way most other energy life-cycle analyses are carried out! (e.g., see this, or better still this one from Oz). The indicator of "metric tonnes of steel per peak megawatt generating capacity" is meaningless because that doesn't give you any idea of the life-time impact of the structure once you take the post-decommissioning of materials into account.

Also what grade of steel are we talking about here? The sort of stuff that's used in the rebar for wind foundations; or the high quality chromium nickel steel required for reactor pressure vessels and pipework -- which costs substantially more and has a much high ecological footprint than the lower grades of low-carbon nickel steel used in wind turbine towers, nacelles and foundations.
Do I sense a bit of grasping at straws here?

mobbsey wrote:
And of course the greatest flaw in this paper is that there is absolutely no consideration of the impacts of waste disposal or fuel recycling/reprocessing, which represent another substantial chunk of high quality steel and concrete consumption that wind power does not require over its life-cycle. Whenever the nuclear industry does these kind of studies (e.g. this) they always miss the long-term waste disposal part of the system!!
Do you mean all of that DU, SNF and Pu stockpiles - now I call that a useful source of energy for a PRISM reactor - to be chugging away in the UK in a decade or so.

mobbsey wrote:
Nuclear power will not save the technological economy. It's just as limited in terms of resources production as fossil fuels, and as demonstrated by Fukushima the impact of accidents (not aided by the incestuous relationship between the industry, academics and government safety institutes) far outweigh any economic benefit from the production of power.

There is only one essential energy source for the human species -- food. Everything else, which we might call culture, is negotiable within the relationship our species has to the environment it inhabits. That's the reality of our situation; and that's ultimately why advanced technological solutions to the "energy problem" will fail.
Please don't put the noose in place just yet. Read in depth what Weinberg has to say - inexhaustible uranium and thorium fuels can supply all of the energy (including liquid fuels for transport and ammonia feed stock for nitrate fertilisers - to feed 9 billion) to every individual on the planet (at developed world standards) for all of time (at least for the 5 billion years the Sun has left) - while leaving miniscule amounts of waste, that decays to background radiation levels in 300 years - easily, safely and cheaply stored. All this by virtue of wall-to-wall deployment of emission-free breeder reactors. The world can be a wonderful place within one or two generations - IF stability can be maintained as hydrocarbons vanish: http://lftrsuk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/breeder-reactors-it-is-but-will-it-be.html
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nope, your website still says "emit no greenhouse gases". I'm not reading beyond the first sentence till you correct that. If you make a basic mistake so early on I can't trust the rest.
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Lftrsuk



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

biffvernon wrote:
Nope, your website still says "emit no greenhouse gases". I'm not reading beyond the first sentence till you correct that. If you make a basic mistake so early on I can't trust the rest.


My Blog is the amateurish effort of a retired engineer who seeks to promote Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) technology, because of its unique reactor qualities, which makes it ideal for manufacture in the UK - in its entirety. We have the design/technological expertise and manufacturing capacity to get the first-of-a-kind LFTR underway now.

The reason MSR technology is so unique, is that it is the only reactor concept which operates at atmospheric pressure and high temperature. Atmospheric pressure obviates pressure vessels with 8" thick walls, which can only be sourced from one Japanese manufacturer - so these 'glorified' hot-salt chemical plant can be made here. The high temperature increases thermodynamic efficiency and provides process heat capable of launching a hydrogen economy, to manufacture liquid fuels and ammonia for nitrate fertilisers.

It's likely that these reactors will evolve as factory produced Small Modular Reactors (MSRs), say 100 MWe, and in order to provide all of the world's energy needs (electrical, transport, manufacturing, etc.), the market would be in the hundreds of thousands. We could see manufacturing growth and prosperity here in the UK, that we have not seen for 3 generations - if we can only get a slice of the action.

Dont bother with my blog, get in among the professionals on 'energyfromthorium'. In particular, look at what's said about Alvin Weinberg - a true doyen of nuclear energy development. He was in at the start, on the Manhattan Project. He and his mentor, Nobel Laureate Eugene Wigner, held patents on Light Water Reactors (LWRs), when they were first made for nuclear submarine propulsion. Weinberg railed against the use of LWRs for civil power production and predicted loss-of-coolant/meltdown accidents. He wanted Molten Salt Breeder Reactors (MSBRs) - now known as LFTRs - to power the world.

It could all have happened 40 years ago, but politics and politicians got in the way, and 40 years of the worst pollution and environmental destruction ensued - surely the 'saddest accident' in history.

If you can get onside with this technology, maybe you could become an advocate too?
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