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  •  They've also recently bought a couple of breeder (8+ / 0-)

    reactors from Russia. Russia has been proving this design using its BN600 predecessor for a couple of decades or so, and are close to starting up their BN800 as well. I have also read that China has been working on an Integral Fast Reactor based system of its own.

    They're moving ahead on a lot of fronts.

    Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

    by billmosby on Thu Mar 25, 2010 at 09:33:20 PM PDT

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    •  Breeder reactors are tough to get right. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, MD patriot

      And they are dangerous.  I mean, at least the Chinese are doing something, but I hope we don't get involved with breeder reactors.

      The falsifications and fictions that are ruling us have become life-threatening.

      by geomoo on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 12:49:57 AM PDT

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      •  The Vanishing Face of Gaia (5+ / 0-)

        Pick up James Lovelock's book; or read James Hansen's "Storms of My Grandchildren".  Both make a compelling argument understandable by the layman that every stitch of life on this planet will have zero chance of surviving if our societies fail to employ nuclear energy on a massive scale to meet our energy demand, and employ it quickly.  The problem is so large, so utterly immense in scale, that all the purer forms of green energy can collectively do no more at full build-out than what a mosquito can do to harry an elephant.  I think idealism can be deadly... to us all.

        "Life is forever menaced by chaos and must restore balance with every intake of breath"-- Jean Gebser

        by rangemaster on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 02:59:52 AM PDT

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        •  Neither are energy experts so I take what (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy

          they say with some reservation. Still a very expensive way to boil water. We're going to build more nukes, let's do it right this time around, as in not near population centers. Osama's first target was the Indian Point nuclear facility on the Hudson.

          "Ignorance breeds monsters to fill up the vacancies of the soul that are unoccupied by the verities of knowledge." H Mann

          by the fan man on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 04:03:50 AM PDT

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          •  It matters not what the U.S. does with nukes.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            the fan man

            other parts of the world can deploy them and it will still benefit us. That may well be happening, or it may not. Either way, it's out of our hands.

            Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

            by billmosby on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 07:48:17 AM PDT

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        •  Also get Bill McKibben's new book, EAARTH. (4+ / 0-)

          He maintains that we no longer live on the old familiar planet Earth; that it's too late to stop the climate-change freight train headed our way--and we'd better start adjusting/adapting to the fact that we NOW live on a very different, and far less stable, planet than humans have enjoyed for many thousands of years. He emphasizes that it's still important to do things to reduce our impact on the planet, but more from the perspective of species survival than notions that earth changes can be forestalled if we act quickly enough. Because it's too late for that. And it is. Even the climate change deniers will be forced to open their eyes.

      •  Soduim Fast Reactors (SFR) have proven to be safe (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose, G2geek, billmosby

        The first glimmer of the fast-reactor concept began at the federal government's Argonne National Laboratory in 1951, when the sodium-cooled Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 1 powered four lightbulbs and proved that nuclear power was a real thing. In 1965, Argonne put into service Experimental Breeder Reactor No. 2, a demonstration project that ran successfully for thirty years.

        As to other safety aspects, lots of theory and tests were done with EBR-II that confirmed the superiority of pool-type sodium cooled fast reactor safety characteristics in a number of areas. They even had a sodium-water-concrete reaction (fire) early in the program and showed how quickly it could be recovered from at least in the 60s. They also dropped a fuel assembly on top of the reactor core and found it easy to find and recover it again even in opaque liquid sodium. Plus they recovered from a sodium pump failure in a few weeks that skeptics said would shut down the program. In short, EBR-II's long successful operational history showed that a properly designed fast reactor is not an accident waiting to happen.

        The nuclear problem is the solution to Global Warming

        Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

        by Alan Arizona on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 07:16:52 AM PDT

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      •  We already did. The ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RunawayRose

        Integral Fast Reactor I mentioned is a U.S. development. I worked at the site that developed it.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 07:46:42 AM PDT

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    •  Jim Hansen supports 4th gen nuclear power (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, billmosby

      James E. Hansen heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.

      From his latest newsletter:

      ....If that were the end of the story, I would not have any enthusiasm for nuclear power. However, it is clear that 4th generation nuclear power can be ready in the medium-term, within about 20 years. Some people argue that it could be much sooner â€" however, the time required for its implementation is of little importance.

      The reason that 4th generation nuclear power is a game-changer is that it can solve two of the biggest problems that have beset nuclear power. 4th generation uses almost all of the energy in the uranium (or thorium), thus decreasing fuel requirements by two orders of magnitude. It practically removes concern about fuel supply or energy used in mining â€" we already have fuel enough for centuries. Best of all, 4th generation reactors can “burn” nuclear waste, thus turning the biggest headache into an asset. The much smaller volume of waste from 4th generation reactors has lifetime of a few centuries, rather than tens of thousands of years. The fact that 4th generation reactors will be able to use the waste from 3rd generation plants changes the nuclear story fundamentally â€" making the combination of 3rd and 4th generation plants a much more attractive energy option than 3rd generation by itself would have been.

      20090713_Strategies.pdf

      Republican marriage is between one man and one woman....plus another woman on the side.

      by Alan Arizona on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 07:42:31 AM PDT

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    •  Bill, what do you think of... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RunawayRose, billmosby

      ...the modular Traveling Wave Reactor concept that Bill Gates has committed a few billion dollars to?  

      The way I've heard it described, it can eat spent fuel and other high-level "waste", can be plugged in to the turbines in existing coal plants thereby mothballing the coal burners and saving cost of installation, and can be built in sizes small enough to fit in a hot tub.  

      From that description it sounds highly promising.  How long before these can start being built commercially?  

      •  Thanks for mentioning this.. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek

        I looked into it a couple of weeks ago, and I recall having seen it before. Some concept like it was looked at by some of the Argonne fuel development guys a while back, too, under a "solid phase reprocessing" category, I think, but am only going by the title on that one. It may not be very closely related.

        From the description of the fuel after it has been used, it looks to me like it uses about 20 percent of the fissile material in the fuel and ends up in need of reprocessing to use more of the energy potential and the long-lived waste. It is said that one fuel load would last about 100 years. It looks like at the end of that time it would be something like today's waste, except that the quantity of spent fuel would be much smaller. Same amount of waste per unit energy, but much less volume of other stuff going with it. I could be wrong about that, I don't have a lot of details to go by and that's just from reading between the lines. If you have a few links to info on it let me have them and I'll see what else I can tell about it.

        As for reactor safety, size, ability to be plugged into an existing fossil plant, it looks good. It seems to be based on the same reactor technology (coolant, pool-type reactor design, etc) that worked well with EBR-II and IFR. Not having a dedicated fuel cycle facility would be a plus in that regard, as it would take up less space and cost less than a full IFR installation. For a plug in, that would be a plus. To leave out the fuel cycle and leave it for the future opens it up to the same criticisms about what to do with the waste as the current generations of reactors.

        It may be that the fuel cycle question is still being worked on for the TWR and we just don't have any info about it yet. One other thing is that the TWR fuel would need the same fairly lengthy development and verification steps that the IFR fuel has already gone through, so there's more time required for that.

        Overall, I'm positive about it but think it would take time to develop. As does Mr. Gates, I think.

        Moderation in most things. Except Reactors. IFR forever!

        by billmosby on Fri Mar 26, 2010 at 09:08:41 AM PDT

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