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Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:04 AM

Safer Nuclear Power, at Half the Price

Transatomic, an MIT spinoff, is developing a nuclear reactor that it estimates will cut the overall cost of a nuclear power plant in half. It’s an updated molten-salt reactor, a type that’s highly resistant to meltdowns. Molten-salt reactors were demonstrated in the 1960s at Oak Ridge National Lab, where one test reactor ran for six years, but the technology hasn’t been used commercially.

The new reactor design, which so far exists only on paper, produces 20 times as much power for its size as Oak Ridge’s technology. That means relatively small, yet powerful, reactors could be built less expensively in factories and shipped by rail instead of being built on site like conventional ones. Transatomic also modified the original molten-salt design to allow it to run on nuclear waste.

High costs, together with concerns about safety and waste disposal, have largely stalled construction of new nuclear plants in the United States and elsewhere (though construction continues in some countries, including China). Japan and Germany even shut down existing plants after the Fukushima accident two years ago (see “Japan’s Economic Troubles Spur a Return to Nuclear” and “Small Nukes Get Boost”). Several companies are trying to address the cost issue by developing small modular reactors that can be built in factories. But these are typically limited to producing 200 megawatts of power, whereas conventional reactors produce more than 1,000 megawatts.

Transatomic says it can split the difference, building a 500-megawatt power plant that achieves some of the cost savings associated with the smaller reactor designs. It estimates that it can build a plant based on such a reactor for $1.7 billion, roughly half the cost per megawatt of current plants. The company has raised $1 million in seed funding, including some from Ray Rothrock, a partner at the VC firm Venrock. Although its cofounders, Mark Massie and Leslie Dewan, are still PhD candidates at MIT, the design has attracted some top advisors, including Regis Matzie, the former CTO of the major nuclear power plant supplier Westinghouse Electric, and Richard Lester, the head of the nuclear engineering department at MIT.


http://www.technologyreview.com/news/512321/safer-nuclear-power-at-half-the-price/?utm_campaign=newsletters&utm_source=newsletter-daily-all&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20130312


I'm not trying to start anything here, just thought this was too noteworthy not to post.

34 replies, 3414 views

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply Safer Nuclear Power, at Half the Price (Original post)
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 OP
PoliticAverse Mar 2013 #1
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #2
guyton Mar 2013 #3
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #4
wtmusic Mar 2013 #11
kristopher Mar 2013 #13
FBaggins Mar 2013 #21
Fumesucker Mar 2013 #29
guyton Mar 2013 #30
kristopher Mar 2013 #5
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #6
kristopher Mar 2013 #7
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #8
jonthebru Mar 2013 #9
kristopher Mar 2013 #10
pscot Mar 2013 #27
wtmusic Mar 2013 #12
Rhiannon12866 Mar 2013 #15
ladjf Mar 2013 #14
hunter Mar 2013 #17
ladjf Mar 2013 #18
hunter Mar 2013 #19
ladjf Mar 2013 #22
hunter Mar 2013 #24
Nihil Mar 2013 #28
FBaggins Mar 2013 #20
ladjf Mar 2013 #23
wtmusic Mar 2013 #25
ladjf Mar 2013 #31
FBaggins Mar 2013 #32
ladjf Mar 2013 #33
FBaggins Mar 2013 #34
NickB79 Mar 2013 #26
Cooley Hurd Mar 2013 #16

Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:47 AM

1. A video on the topic was also posted...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/112737791

Some of us were burned by the 'too cheap to meter' promises of the past...

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Response to PoliticAverse (Reply #1)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:48 AM

2. Don't know how I missed this! Thanks so much!

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)


Response to guyton (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:01 AM

4. Makes sense to me...

After what happened in Japan, and is still happening, I have no idea why we're still discussing this. As for "safer," I don't think that's good enough.

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Response to guyton (Reply #3)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 03:53 AM

11. One of the advantages of the thorium cycle

is that there is not only 1/100 of the waste of a traditional pressurized water reactor, but it can burn up waste from other reactors, warheads, etc.

The Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE) in the 1960s demonstrated a design that ran for four years, generating 8 megawatts of power at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

The insistence of ORNL's director, Alvin Weinberg, on continuing with the project got him fired by Nixon.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #11)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 04:58 AM

13. Really?

Thorium Fuel: No Panacea for Nuclear Power
By Arjun Makhijani and Michele Boyd
A Fact Sheet Produced by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research and Physicians for Social Responsibility


Thorium “fuel” has been proposed as an alternative to uranium fuel in nuclear reactors. There are not “thorium reactors,” but rather proposals to use thorium as a “fuel” in different types of reactors, including existing light-water reactors and various fast breeder reactor designs.

Thorium, which refers to thorium-232, is a radioactive metal that is about three times more abundant than uranium in the natural environment. Large known deposits are in Australia, India, and Norway. Some of the largest reserves are found in Idaho in the U.S. The primary U.S. company advocating for thorium fuel is Thorium Power (www.thoriumpower.com). Contrary to the claims made or implied by thorium proponents, however, thorium doesn’t solve the proliferation, waste, safety, or cost problems of nuclear power, and it still faces major technical hurdles for commercialization.

Not a Proliferation Solution
Thorium is not actually a “fuel” because it is not fissile and therefore cannot be used to start or sustain a nuclear chain reaction. A fissile material, such as uranium-235 (U-235) or plutonium-239 (which is made in reactors from uranium-238), is required to kick-start the reaction. The enriched uranium fuel or plutonium fuel also maintains the chain reaction until enough of the thorium target material has been converted into fissile uranium-233 (U- 233) to take over much or most of the job. An advantage of thorium is that it absorbs slow neutrons relatively efficiently (compared to uranium-238) to produce fissile uranium-233.
The use of enriched uranium or plutonium in thorium fuel has proliferation implications. Although U-235 is found in nature, it is only 0.7 percent of natural uranium, so the proportion of U-235 must be industrially increased to make “enriched uranium” for use in reactors. Highly enriched uranium and separated plutonium are nuclear weapons materials.
In addition, U-233 is as effective as plutonium-239 for making nuclear bombs. In most proposed thorium fuel cycles, reprocessing is required to separate out the U-233 for use in fresh fuel. This means that, like uranium fuel with reprocessing, bomb-making material is separated out, making it vulnerable to theft or diversion. Some proposed thorium fuel cycles even require 20% enriched uranium in order to get the chain reaction started in existing reactors using thorium fuel. It takes 90% enrichment to make weapons-usable uranium, but very little additional work is needed to move from 20% enrichment to 90% enrichment. Most of the separative work is needed to go from natural uranium, which has 0.7% uranium-235, to 20% U-235.
It has been claimed that thorium fuel cycles with reprocessing would be much less of a proliferation risk because the thorium can be mixed with uranium-238. In this case, fissile uranium-233 is also mixed with non-fissile uranium-238. The claim is that if the uranium- 238 content is high enough, the mixture cannot be used to make bombs without a complex uranium enrichment plant. This is misleading. More uranium-238 does dilute the uranium-233, but it also results in the production of more plutonium-239 as the reactor operates. So the proliferation problem remains – either bomb-usable uranium-233 or bomb-useable plutonium is created and can be separated out by reprocessing.
Further, while an enrichment plant is needed to separate U-233 from U-238, it would take less separative work to do so than enriching natural uranium. This is because U-233 is five atomic weight units lighter than U-238, compared to only three for U-235.
It is true that such enrichment would not be a straightforward matter because the U-233 is contaminated with U-232, which is highly radioactive and has very radioactive radionuclides in its decay chain. The radiation-dose-related problems associated with separating U-233 from U-238 and then handling the U-233 would be considerable and more complex than enriching natural uranium for the purpose of bomb making. But in principle, the separation can be done, especially if worker safety is not a primary concern; the resulting U-233 can be used to make bombs. There is just no way to avoid proliferation problems associated with thorium fuel cycles that involve reprocessing. Thorium fuel cycles without reprocessing would offer the same temptation to reprocess as today’s once-through uranium fuel cycles.

Not a Waste Solution
Proponents claim that thorium fuel significantly reduces the volume, weight, and long-term radiotoxicity of spent fuel. Using thorium in a nuclear reactor creates radioactive waste that proponents claim would only have to be isolated from the environment for 500 years, as opposed to the irradiated uranium-only fuel that remains dangerous for hundreds of thousands of years. This claim is wrong. The fission of thorium creates long-lived fission products like technetium-99 (half-life over 200,000 years). While the mix of fission products is somewhat different than with uranium fuel, the same range of fission products is created. With or without reprocessing, these fission products have to be disposed of in a geologic repository.
If the spent fuel is not reprocessed, thorium-232 is very-long lived (half-life:14 billion years) and its decay products will build up over time in the spent fuel. This will make the spent fuel quite radiotoxic, in addition to all the fission products in it. It should also be noted that inhalation of a unit of radioactivity of thorium-232 or thorium-228 (which is also present as a decay product of thorium-232) produces a far higher dose, especially to certain organs, than the inhalation of uranium containing the same amount of radioactivity. For instance, the bone surface dose from breathing an amount (mass) of insoluble thorium is about 200 times that of breathing the same mass of uranium.
Finally, the use of thorium also creates waste at the front end of the fuel cycle. The radioactivity associated with these is expected to be considerably less than that associated with a comparable amount of uranium milling. However, mine wastes will pose long-term hazards, as in the case of uranium mining. There are also often hazardous non-radioactive metals in both thorium and uranium mill tailings.

Ongoing Technical Problems
Research and development of thorium fuel has been undertaken in Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK, and the U.S. for more than half a century. Besides remote fuel fabrication and issues at the front end of the fuel cycle, thorium-U-233 breeder reactors produce fuel (“breed”) much more slowly than uranium-plutonium-239 breeders. This leads to technical complications. India is sometimes cited as the country that has successfully developed thorium fuel. In fact, India has been trying to develop a thorium breeder fuel cycle for decades but has not yet done so commercially.
One reason reprocessing thorium fuel cycles haven’t been successful is that uranium-232 (U-232) is created along with uranium-233. U-232, which has a half-life of about 70 years, is extremely radioactive and is therefore very dangerous in small quantities: a single small particle in a lung would exceed legal radiation standards for the general public. U-232 also has highly radioactive decay products. Therefore, fabricating fuel with U-233 is very expensive and difficult.

Not an Economic Solution
Thorium may be abundant and possess certain technical advantages, but it does not mean that it is economical. Compared to uranium, the thorium fuel cycle is likely to be even more costly. In a once-through mode, it will need both uranium enrichment (or plutonium separation) and thorium target rod production. In a breeder configuration, it will need reprocessing, which is costly. In addition, as noted, inhalation of thorium-232 produces a higher dose than the same amount of uranium-238 (either by radioactivity or by weight). Reprocessed thorium creates even more risks due to the highly radioactive U-232 created in the reactor. This makes worker protection more difficult and expensive for a given level of annual dose.

Fact sheet completed in January 2009 Updated July 2009
3

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Response to kristopher (Reply #13)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 04:36 PM

21. Yes... really.

I'm not a thorium evangelist. Just like with similar articles for renewables, I point out that any article that talks about venture capital and attracting investors is just as likely to be a pitch as it is to be real news. I'd love to see this technology pan out, but there's a long way to go.

But I have a serious question for you:

When you read the piece you just cited. Did you just assume that it was correct because you don't like nuclear power so you just accept on face value anything that sounds good and knocks nuclear (which mistake has burned you more than once)... or did you actually read and understand what they were saying and agree with it?

Because there are LOTS of big errors in that piece... and I find it hard to believe that they don't know it. They're selling a bill of goods, and I'm just trying to figure out whether you're buying or selling

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Response to guyton (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 14, 2013, 10:01 AM

29. Getting to the Sun from Earth is remarkably energy intensive

Orbital mechanics are very counterintuitive, you have to get rid of virtually all of the Earth's orbital velocity in order to put something in the Sun, that's about 67,000 mph.

Orbital velocity around the Earth at 120 miles altitude is about 17,000 mph so you would need nearly four times the energy to put something in the Sun from Earth orbit than it took to get it to Earth orbit from the surface to start with.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #29)


Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:16 AM

5. Beware

June 5, 1953


Important decisions about the future development of atomic power must frequently be made by people who do not necessarily have an intimate knowledge of the technical aspects of reactors. These people are, nonetheless, interested in what a reactor plant will do, how much it will cost, how long it will take to build and how long and how well it will operate. When they attempt to learn these things, they become aware of confusion existing in the reactor business. There appears to be unresolved conflict on almost every issue that arises.

I believe that this confusion stems from a failure to distinguish between the academic and the practical. These apparent conflicts can usually be explained only when the various aspects of the issue are resolved into their academic and practical components. To aid in this resolution, it is possible to define in a general way those characteristics which distinguish the one from the other.

An academic reactor or reactor plant almost always has the following basic characteristics:
(1) It is simple.
(2) It is small.
(3) It is cheap.
(4) It is light.
(5) It can be built very quickly.
(6) It is very flexible in purpose (“omnibus reactor”).
(7) Very little development is required. It will use mostly “off-the-shelf” components.
(8) The reactor is in the study phases. It is not being built now.

On the other hand, a practical reactor plant can be distinguished by the following characteristics:
(1) It is being built now.
(2) It is behind schedule.
(3) It is requiring an immense amount of development on apparently trivial items. Corrosion, in particular, is a problem.
(4) It is very expensive.
(5) It takes a long time to build because of the engineering development problems.
(6) It is large.
(7) It is heavy.
(8) It is complicated.

The tools of the academic-reactor designer are a piece of paper and a pencil with an eraser. If a mistake is made, it can always be erased and changed. If the practical-reactor designer errs, he wears the mistake around his neck; it cannot be erased. Everyone can see it.

The academic-reactor designer is a dilettante. He has not had to assume any real responsibility in connection with his projects. He is free to luxuriate in the elegant ideas, the practical shortcomings of which can be relegated to the category of “mere technical details.” The practical-reactor designer must live with these same technical details. Although recalcitrant and awkward, they must be solved and cannot be put off until tomorrow. Their solutions require manpower, time and money.

Unfortunately for those who must make far-reaching decisions without the benefit of an intimate knowledge of reactor technology and unfortunately for the interested public, it is much easier to get the academic side of an issue than the practical side. For a large part those involved with the academic reactors have more inclination and time to present their ideas in reports and orally to those who will listen. Since they are innocently unaware of the real but hidden difficulties of their plans, [t]hey speak with great facility and confidence. Those involved with practical reactors, humbled by their experiences, speak less and worry more.

Yet it is incumbent on those in high places to make wise decisions, and it is reasonable and important that the public be correctly informed. It is consequently incumbent on all of us to state the facts as forthrightly as possible. Although it is probably impossible to have reactor ideas labelled as “practical” or “academic” by the authors, it is worthwhile for both the authors and the audience to bear in mind this distinction and to be guided thereby.


Hyman G. Rickover

Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, U.S. Navy, (27 January 1900 – 8 July 1986) was known as the "Father of the Nuclear Navy".

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Response to kristopher (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:19 AM

6. Thank you!

Sounds like this plan fits the first description. However, it's still just a plan...

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Reply #6)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:24 AM

7. At the sales stage they always sound great.

In reality:
February 14, 2013
Latest Olkiluoto EPR Delay Puts Project 8 Years Behind Original Schedule

An EPR reactor under construction by an AREVA-Siemens consortium in Finland may not start operating until 2016, two years later than its revised start date in 2014, Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) said on Monday. Construction of the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) unit began in May 2005, and the new possible start date could put it eight years behind its initial schedule.

The utility estimated that the reactor, the first of its kind when construction began, would not be ready for regular electricity production in 2014 as announced by the plant supplier last year because its instrumentation and control (I&C) design "has not proceeded as planned." TVO admitted it had not yet received a schedule update from the consortium but said it continued to cooperate with the supplier...

http://www.powermag.com/POWERnews/Latest-Olkiluoto-EPR-Delay-Puts-Project-8-Years-Behind-Original-Schedule_5377.html

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Response to kristopher (Reply #7)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:32 AM

8. I agree, may sound promising when still in the planning stage

But there's no telling what unexpected problems can crop up in the actual implementation. This kind of undertaking is a complicated thing, no matter how practical it appears on paper. And so this one now fits your second definition and, assuming that the "simple" one in the article I posted ever gets past the planning stage, that one would probably experience the same complications and delays. There is too much that is unforeseen, even among those which have already been built and have been deemed safe for years. By the time they're actually built, they're doomed to be already outmoded.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:44 AM

9. The liquid salt reactor, if implemented, could be a successful connection between

the fossil fuel present and the futures unknown source of energy.
So if one of these is 1/5th the size of a current type of reactor, build 5 of them on the same space. Operating autonomously if one needed to be shut down the others continue running; generating power and desalinating water...

If I were a rich man I would invest in a company such as this.

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Response to jonthebru (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:58 AM

10. The future energy source is well known - renewables.

The only people in denial are those who want to see continued use of fossil fuels and/or nuclear power.

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Response to jonthebru (Reply #9)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 09:50 PM

27. Highly radioactive cooling salt

was a major problem for the 50 year long Hanford cleanup. The stuff is hot and very corrosive. It's hard to get rid of and eats through storage vessels. We need some assurance that that won't be a problem with these newer designs.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 04:25 AM

12. thanks for posting

It's a shame that anyone should have to think twice about posting something that looks promising, despite "conventional wisdom".
Sometimes C.W. is B.S.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #12)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 05:16 AM

15. You're welcome

Considering the bad press that the tragedy in Japan has been getting, I was surprised to see plans for this, despite being smaller, safer, etc. I just hope that we can begin learning from our mistakes. *sigh*

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 05:14 AM

14. Half the price but just as deadly to the human race. nt

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Response to ladjf (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:04 PM

17. I dunno. Fossil fuels are pretty damned deadly, and getting deadlier.

It would be a hard record to beat.

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Response to hunter (Reply #17)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:09 PM

18. Fossil fuels are very deadly, but the effects aren't as long lasting. However, the obvious answer

is to improve the utilization of renewable sources. No sources are without risk.

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Response to ladjf (Reply #18)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:15 PM

19. Actually, the effects are longer lasting.

Last edited Thu Mar 14, 2013, 02:09 AM - Edit history (1)

It's going to take a long, long time (if ever) for the earth's climate to return to the icy "normal" we are familiar with.

After a few centuries of storage nuclear power plant waste is comparable to other commonly produced toxic industrial materials, not radically different than a pile of used tires, lead acid batteries, asbestos laced building materials, or many sorts of mine tailings. You don't want to go dumping it anywhere, but it's not going to kill you just looking at it like it would when it's first pulled out of the reactor.

That doesn't mean I support nuclear power. I'm a Luddite. I'd happily kill 80% of our industrial economy. You can forget your private automobiles, commercial air travel, air conditioning, and big box stores if Hunter ever becomes Emperor of Earth. Heck, I'd probably impose a universal speed limit of 35 m.p.h. for any vehicle that's not responding to an honest-to-god emergency. Someone had better be bleeding, on fire, or otherwise in danger of great bodily harm, else I take away your license to drive or fly forever. There would be no more car races and I wouldn't be sorry. Want to go fast? Buy a bicycle and peddle harder.

So sit down on the porch, relax, and enjoy an ice cold beer or lemon-aide from your solar powered refrigerator. You're not going anywhere, nor is their any reason to. Work's been canceled today because it's too hot.

Seriously, humans got into this mess by working too hard. What we now call "economic productivity" isn't really productive because we're busy destroying the environment that supports us.

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Response to hunter (Reply #19)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 05:06 PM

22. The negative effects of the Chernobyl will last for about 48,000 years.

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Response to ladjf (Reply #22)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 05:50 PM

24. And the half life of mercury is forever.

I didn't say it was harmless, I said in a few centuries it is comparable to other familiar industrial toxins and mining wastes, none of which are harmless.

In 48,000 years, maybe even 480 years, it's likely there will be many places that are more dangerous than the area around Chernobyl because they've been polluted with non-radioactive industrial toxins. There are plenty of non-radioactive places today where you wouldn't want to grow your vegetables because they've been contaminated with non-radioactive industrial toxins.

The mechanisms of toxicity are myriad, radioactivity is just one family of them. Radioactive toxins are not any scarier than non-radioactive toxins. I don't want to eat a fish contaminated with mercury any more than I want to eat a fish contaminated with radioactive caesium.

People ought to be viewing fossil fueled power plants the same critical way they view nuclear plants. By the numbers, coal fired power plants are a greater danger to our health and civilization than nuclear plants, but "better than coal" is a pretty low standard to aim for.

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Response to hunter (Reply #19)

Thu Mar 14, 2013, 05:08 AM

28. You've got my vote!

 

Sadly, so much common sense in your post means that you've got no chance
of getting anywhere in pre-apocalypse politics but you'd have a lot of support
from the common man!

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Response to ladjf (Reply #14)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 02:55 PM

20. Why is it just as deadly?

In theory, it consumes material that is already existing waste, and would be passively save (that is... a loss of power doesn't do anything but shut it off... even in no human operator takes any action at all).

Thorium is an existing byproduct of mining for "rare earths" (which are needed for both solar and wind generation). It's being mined anyway (we can't avoid it)... it's just that now it's radioactive waste (that's right... radioactive waste from renewables).

There are plenty of reasons to question a switch to this type of reactor, but risk to the human race isn't really one of them.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #20)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 05:09 PM

23. The Chernobyl disaster will impact the environment for about 48,000 years.

Some forms of radiation can take up to 250,000 years to dissipate.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/27/chernobyl-disaster-anniversary-japan


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Response to ladjf (Reply #23)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 05:56 PM

25. Sometimes the bullshit gets so thick you have to respond.

"The accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 was a tragic event for its victims, and those most affected suffered major hardship. Some of the people who dealt with the emergency lost their lives. Although those exposed as children and the emergency and recovery workers are at increased risk of radiation-induced effects, the vast majority of the population need not live in fear of serious health consequences due to the radiation from the Chernobyl accident. For the most part, they were exposed to radiation levels comparable to or a few times higher than annual levels of natural background, and future exposures continue to slowly diminish as the radionuclides decay. Lives have been seriously disrupted by the Chernobyl accident, but from the radiological point of view, generally positive prospects for the future health of most individuals should prevail."

http://www.unscear.org/unscear/en/chernobyl.html

"People who were evacuated in 1986, received an average, whole-body radiation dose of 20 mSv, and a dose to the thyroid (from iodine-131) of 470 mSv. Inhabitants of the most highly contaminated parts of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine, where deposition of cesium-137 was higher than 555 kBq per m2, received the whole body doses of 47 mSv, 36 mSv, and 83 mSv, respectively. The average doses to the thyroid in the most contaminated regions were 177 mGy in the Gomel district (Belarus), 37 mGy in the Bryansk district (Russia), and 380 mGy in the 8 most contaminated districts of Ukraine."

http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/articles/chernobyl.html

"In Colorado, for example, natural radiation exposure can be 1000 mrem per year due to higher altitude." Chernobyl evacuees received, on average, the same whole-body radiation dose as someone living in Colorado for two years. In 2013 average levels in Chernobyl are .417 mSv/hr, or 3.7x as high as naturally-occurring radiation in Colorado.

http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/how-much-radiation-exposure-do-you-normally-get-every-year.html

Science based (and sourced) replies will be read, others will be ignored

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #25)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 10:39 AM

31. Thousands of posts on the INTERNET state that it will take about 48,000 years for all of the

effects of radiation in the Chernobyl area to dissipate and the the area will not be safe to repopulate for 600 years.

I don't think that such a large body of scientific opinion should be characterized as "horse shit".

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Response to ladjf (Reply #31)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 11:32 AM

32. Oh! Why didn't you say so???

It says that on the INTERNET... so it must be true.

When did "found it on the internet" become synonymous with "large body of scientific opinion" ?

Also... were you going to get around to the actual question you've dodged? You can't say that a new type of reactor is "just as deadly" as an old type by showing that the old type was dangerous.

the area will not be safe to repopulate for 600 years

Large portions of the exclusion zone are primarily contaminated with Cesium 137, which has a half-life of about 30 years. That means that there's currently about a million times as much of the stuff as there will be 600 years from now. It's pretty safe to assume that cesium contamination will drop below any safety thresh hold long before that.

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Response to FBaggins (Reply #32)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 12:35 PM

33. ‘Scientists don’t know why’: Cesium-137 in soil near Chernobyl has half-life of 180 to 320 years,

" [...] From Wired Magazine (12/15/2009):

Reinhabiting the large exclusion zone around the [Chernobyl] accident site may have to wait longer than expected. Radioactive cesium isn’t disappearing from the environment as quickly as predicted, according to new research presented here Monday at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Cesium 137’s half-life — the time it takes for half of a given amount of material to decay — is 30 years. In addition to that, cesium-137’s total ecological half-life — the time for half the cesium to disappear from the local environment through processes such as migration, weathering, and removal by organisms is also typically 30 years or less, but the amount of cesium in soil near Chernobyl isn’t decreasing nearly that fast. And scientists don’t know why.

It stands to reason that at some point the Ukrainian government would like to be able to use that land again, but the scientists have calculated that what they call cesium’s “ecological half-life” — the time for half the cesium to disappear from the local environment — is between 180 and 320 years.

“Normally you’d say that every 30 years, it’s half as bad as it was. But it’s not,” said Tim Jannik, nuclear scientist at Savannah River National Laboratory and a collaborator on the work. “It’s going to be longer before they repopulate the area.” [...]"

http://enenews.com/scientists-don’t-know-why-cesium-137-in-soil-near-chernobyl-has-half-life-of-180-to-320-years-not-30-years-as-is-typical

I notice that you didn't cite any source for your information concerning the half-life of Cesium 137 at Chernobyl. Since you don't seem to trust info from the INTERNET, where did you get your information?

Recent tests are showing that the Cesium 137 release at the Japanese explosion is four times greater than Chernobyl. That's on an island that is one of the least stable land masses on Earth. And, if you can believe it, they are beginning construction of another nuclear plant.







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Response to ladjf (Reply #33)

Fri Mar 15, 2013, 01:30 PM

34. That's just nuts. Sorry.

There's no guarantee that levels measured at a few specific sites will fall by half in 30 years, because contamination can migrate from areas of stronger concentration to the area where the measurements are taken. It can even go up.

But it's an incontestable fact that half of the total cesium will be gone roughly every 30 years.

I notice that you didn't cite any source for your information concerning the half-life of Cesium 137 at Chernobyl. Since you don't seem to trust info from the INTERNET, where did you get your information?

What makes you think that the INTERNET says only one thing? You can find all sorts of nutty ideas on the internet (and enenews is a great place to find them).

You can google "Cs137 half life" and likely come up with scores of resources. They'll all say the same thing because it'd a physical constant. It isn't open to opinion or debate. In fact, it's right there in the text that you posted.

Recent tests are showing that the Cesium 137 release at the Japanese explosion is four times greater than Chernobyl.

No. They don't. They took an iodine equivalent calculation for the cesium from Fukushima and compared it to the cesium emissions from Chernobyl (without applying the same conversion). That's either ignorant or dishonest, because iodine equivalency means multiplying by a factor of 40 (because of the longer half-life). If you compare "apples to apples", Chernobyl put out about ten times as much cesium. And that compares one reactor to three.

That's on an island

The fact that it's an island means that far less of the contamination fell among populated areas. I can't imagine why you think that's a bad thing.

And, if you can believe it, they are beginning construction of another nuclear plant.

Actually, they're continuing construction on a plant that was close to being finished.

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Response to ladjf (Reply #23)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 08:14 PM

26. And CO2 will impact for 150,000 years or more

Only difference is, the CO2 from fossil fuels will affect the entire planet, from pole to pole, driving a new mass extinction event the likes of which we haven't seen since the end of the Age of Dinosaurs. And extinction is forever.

Fossil fuels beat nuclear on the danger to life on this planet. Every. Single. Time.

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Response to Rhiannon12866 (Original post)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 06:58 AM

16. morning kick

 

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