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Comment What a load of bullshit this is (Score 1) 146

*anyone* who has played a field sport of any kind will tell tell you it's about what the team can do, not what a team of egos can do. All to often you can take a bunch of top athletes and put them in a team and the team dynamic is created by the interactions between them. It's completely different from the environment that makes them the player they are.

The only people who would bet on this crap have never played sport in their life or want to make a killing on knowing the results and gambling on a sure thing. Essentially - what we are seeing.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid - reprocessing (Score 1) 130

Above ground caskets are working well. I figure that we'd be digging up anything we bury within a century to reprocess it anyways. Heck, let it sit in a cask for 40 years and so much of the 'hot' stuff has decayed that it should make reprocessing significantly cheaper.

I think I see where you are going with this. If you are going to take a longer term veiw of the Nuclear Industry based on reprocessing and start implementing reactors that implement this technology then you have to accomodate reprocessing facilities, the reactor and the spent fuel products anyway. You have to move it from around the country from the reactor sites to reprocess it.

IFR did this in an integrated way and it is a proven and tested design so I think it realistic to implement provided you have contained adequate facilities. You yeild a significant energetic advantage (from my loose calculation 1.3Tw hours - don't hold me to that though - I haven't checked my math) over the initial 40 year lifespan of the reactor if you can dispose of the reactor core, in situ, i.e you build the reactor in a granite mountain and leave it in place when it is no longer viable. Then double that advantage again because you don't need to mine and enrich for fuel to operate it. Triple the energetic return, if you build it with material technology improvements that allows it to go beyond it's initial lifespan, every 40 years. So it's a real winner for that potential.

That's why I think it makes sense to look ahead and actually start by accommodating the spent fuel facilities, then you can site reprocessing facilities and reactors. The state that hosts it would get a bonanza of industry looking for cheap electricity, because it's easier to move electricity as opposed to moving highly radioactive fuel. So when evaluating the two if you are going to consider Thorium reactors over something like IFR you have to also factor the energetic inputs of processing the ore ready for the reactor.

So far IFR is the only threat to the coal and oil industry and it's not hard to see the hard lobbying they did of Clinton when he killed it and Bush when he funded it's demolition to well and truely bury it. The American people would never have been beholden to the oil industry for at least 5000 years - based on fuel availability.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid - Thorium and Thallium (Score 1) 130

Question, do you know what "short half lives" amounts to? It means that the material in question is much more radioactive - but that means it also decays in radioactivity much faster.

Yes I do, but like the issue of the thermal containment, that is not what I am refering to. Thallium has some unusual properties (oh, I checked and it's 208 Thallium not 233. It's a gamma emmitter, not a alpha emmiter like 239 pu - so it's pretty nasty stuff). I'm still trying to wrap my head around it so if you have any facts about it that help to understand better, I'd welcome them.

What I've learnt so far is that it has lots of halflives (more than the 20 or so) and many, many daughter products. Now I'm not sure if the mechanism is spontaneous fission (IIRC) that does this (like DU) but because it is a gamma emmitter it would be a heck of a lot harder to deal with than plutonium. I'm not sure but I think it has something to do with the properties of the metal being more like alluminium than like lead (i.e. the properties of the metal).

Don't take that as a criticism of Thorium reactor technology though, it's got good anti-proliferation characteristics however I think if you are going to advocate the technology you really have to have a salient and realistic look at the whole fuel cycle and how you manage it especially if you want to avoid the mistakes of the old technology.

I probably have a ways to go with Thorium salt technology however from my understanding so far, I'd go with IFR because you don't loose energy (i.e joules) mining and processing the fuel as with Thorium and, IFR deals with 238 pu by yielding the energetic investment.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid - Biology (Score 1) 130

Also, citation on the birth rates. Citation on "majority of effects" being still years away



Komatsu, K and Okumura, Y. Radiation Dose to Mouse Liver Cells from Ingestion of Tritiated Food or Water. Health Physics. 58. 5:625-629. 1990.

Dobson, RL. The Toxicity of Tritium. International Atomic Energy Agency symposium, Vienna: Biological Implications of Radionuclides Released from Nuclear Industries v. 1: 203. 1979.

Hori, TA and Nakai, S. Unusual Dose-Response of Chromosome Aberrations Induced in Human Lymphocytes by Very Low Dose Exposures to Tritium. Mutation Research. 50: 101-110. 1978.

Straume, T and Carsten, AL.Tritium Radiobiology and Relative Biological Effectiveness. Health Physics. 65 (6) :657-672; 1993. [This special issue of Health Physics is entirely devoted to Tritium]

Laskey, JW, et al. Some Effects of Lifetime Parental Exposure to Low Levels of Tritium on the F2 Generation. Radiation Research.56:171-179. 1973.

Rytomaa, T, et al. Radiotoxicity of Tritium-Labelled Molecules. International Atomic Energy Agency symposium,Vienna: Biological Implications of Radionuclides Released from Nuclear Industries v. 1: 339. 1979.

Obviously there are mutagenic properties of other materials however tritium is often labeled the most benign so the effects get worse depending on how energetic the radio-isotope is and if the body absorbs it.

if anything we should be recovering from the effects of post WWII above ground nuclear bomb tests

A nuclear bomb produces a lot of radiation, but not a great deal of fallout compared to what a nuclear reactor can release and that is what we are talking about here. Radio-isotopes as opposed to the radioactivity they produce.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid - Design (Score 1) 130

The usual, mean time between expected accidents, radiation releases, etc... We're talking about an order of magnitude or two longer times.

Well the AP1000 is the only approved design and my understanding of that design doesn't lead me to that conclusion. Safer reactor designs are already available, the features aren't implemented in AP-1000 because they are too expensive so the AP-1000's design still falls short. For accident mitigation the EPR design is better. Briefly the buildings that service the reactor are split into four (main) operational divisions (and the reactor containment). An accident, failure or maintenance in the other areas can be mitigated by the other divisions. It's planning, and being prepared for, problems.

None of the designs incorporate features to ease the teardown and eventual decommissioning of the facility. For example, Yankee Rowe, was a controlled shutdown of a functioning reactor. It cost half a billion dollars to clean-up and it was only 137 Megawatts, less than a quarter of the size of TMI-2. You have to wait decades to allow the *really* radioactive elements to decay. This is because new and highly radioactive elements are created in the reactor core. It's still not something that has been addressed in an industrially proficient way that makes the sites safe or 'greenfeild'. Considering the 104 reactor sites around America are multi-core the United States will be looking at a conservative estimate of a quarter of a *Trillion* dollars, at todays prices, on reactor decommissioning alone.

While the cost is a concern, decommissioning the reactor core has to be conducted so that it doesn't release any of the new radioactive elements free to bio-concentrate in the food chain.

Finally, The Nuclear industry panel (Westinghouse, General Electric, Bechtel, Sargent & Lundy, Northern States Power and Commonwealth Edison) design recommendations are specifically targeted at reducing the opportunities to sabotage a nuclear reactor installation. The AP-1000 incorporates none of the design changes the industry *itself* recommends be applied to reactor facility design. AP-1000 is a rehash of the Standard Westinghouse Nuclear Utility Power Plant (SNUPPs) examples of which are installed at Wolf Creek and Callaway, you will note in the picture the uncanny resemblence to the AP-1000 design (and similar capacity).

Is there anything specific you can point to that details why we can expect something different from this design by the order of magnitude your saying, I would be very interested in evaluating it. To the OP, I'd say, not much.

Actually, it wasn't. It's just a quirk that a giant concrete pressure dome like what the USA and the rest of the sane world puts around nuclear reactors happens to sneer at plane impacts.

Actually it is specifically the Thermal Containment ratio, which refers to how much concrete is in the dome, is higher in TMI than other NPP concrete domes. My understanding of the rational is because it is in the flightpath of a major airport. So what I mean specifically is, there is more concrete in the TMI concrete dome than other reactor installations, and a lot more than the AP-1000 designs (even if you include AP-600).

"radioactive effluents"? You do realize that nuclear reactors don't release any radioactivity under normal operating conditions? Major releases are on the order of once a decade or more, and that's with our aging GenII reactors, world wide. GenIII would be a lot safer.

NRC guidelines permit the venting of radioactive effluents into the environment every two weeks Firethorn. There is no evidence that the AP-1000 series improves on that.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid (Score 1) 130

Well you've raised a lot of interesting stuff there Firethorn however I don't see how it relates. First you are talking about GenIII's and AP-1000, then you are saying thorium reactors, then you talk of reprocessing. Reprocessing, plutonium (spent reactor fuel) presumably. It's three different types of technology, so I get a general sense you are talking about future technologies.

So I'll just point out that I'm not against the idea of Nuclear power, I support it's development, I am for fixing it's problems or shutting it down until we can, like you preferabely with a new technology. If you look at the history and evidence, this nuclear industry has a lot of problems, and our generations (unless you are a boomer of course) have been left a carbon legacy to deal with. The physical properties of the materials of the Nuclear Industry are deadly to our genome and are active for geological timeframes well beyond our death so we have to treat them for what they are as a responsibility to future generations. We either leave future generations electricity (and maybe hydrogen) or we leave them a problem we didn't want to deal with and have a party - i.e. what was done to our generation. I think whatever solution we come up with should handle the existing spent fuel product and not create a new one. Then they have more problems to deal with.

I've broken down your points into threads. We've had civil discussions in the past, so I hope you don't mind if we short circuit the polarization present in these debates, I prefer them to be about facts and what I can learn. Too many people here (not you) do the ad-hom thing here these days as if the nuclear industry is too fragile for any criticism.

Comment Re:America (Score 1) 393

the real war of terror is waged by the United States Government, against the citizens. It is a success, fear being the motivator for giving up rights, privacy, freedom.

Just out of interest, and certainly no disagreement here, how much of this do you think is driven by America's hidden aristocracy?

Comment Re:You have one last hope (Score 1) 270

Well Slashdot, the Republicans that so many of you despise, are your last line of defense against the rod that is about to be rammed into you...

I'm surprised you think there are two sides of politics remaining, they are the left and right wing of the same party and this agreement purely increasing control over the populous. Ask yourself who wants this. When trade agreements override a nations sovereignty this ceases to be a political issue and becomes a structural issue of democracy.

We are all getting rammed...

Comment 90 days (Score 1) 270

And they want to release it in a *a month or so*. So at roughly 80 or so pages (in the Intellectual Property section) can we expect a 2400 page document with 60 days to read it, so 40 pages a day after a full time job, commute and so on. So that's the expected input from the populous who will be affected by this trade agreement.

So essentially, sign this contract before you understand it. That's worldwide democracy right there. Talk about a Faustian Bargain.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid (Score 2) 130

While Fukushima was the latest accident, I always like to point out that the Fukushima plant is actually older than TMI, by at least by a few months, depending on how you measure it - do you start the time when construction started, or when criticality was first achieved?

When construction started. More precisely when the design was finished. The nature of a NPP means that it is close to impossible to retrofit any technological advances into them because a lot of the technology is in the way the plant is arranged and constructed.

One exception is I am seeing some interesting developments in nano level enhancements to coolants for the primary cooling loop however these appear to favor extending the existing lifespans of existing reactors.

Modern, actual modern nuclear plants would be far safer.

By what standard? And to which approved, viable and currently available NPP designs are you referring too? We have already seen significant design advances for NPPs already proposed and rejected due to the expense. By some ironic quirk TMI *is* one of the safest designs because it was designed to be resistant to aircraft impacts

And yes, Coal power kills more people any given day than Nuclear does all decade.

Coal and Nuclear are as bad as each other but for different reasons. Nuclear kills people for subsequent decades as the radioactive effluents make their way through our water and food supply, it also reduces the birth rate because pregnancies fail to come to full term. The key thing is it happens very slowly and the majority of effects are still years away as opposed to coal whose effects are almost instantaneous in comparison.

If there was the will to fix some of it's many design flaws it may have a chance to contribute to human society, however right now it is just a source of subsidy revenue for the oil and coal companies using provisions made available in the 2005 energy act. Governments, i.e. the populous, should own the nuclear industry as private industry is profit motivated as opposed to safety motivated. Properly managed NPP's could have provided economic stimulus, for example by providing cheap industrial power inputs, during downturns forcing industry to invest to take advantage of them. Alas!

I'd really like to see a high-efficiency high temperature molten salt thorium reactor deployed.

From my understanding of this technology it's spent fuel product is 233 Thallium, IIRC, which is characterized by many daughter products with short half lives. I'm not saying it isn't better reactor technology however it would seem the central issue of current reactor technology, the long term storage of spent fuel products, is an issue for thorium reactor technology as well.

Until we have effective, geologically stable and appropriate spent fuel containment facilities then we will always have higher levels of risk with greater levels of impact as a result of accidents in the nuclear industry. For that reason it's important to reduce that level of risk and impact to the community regardless of what reactor technology is deployed.

Comment Animals can't read signs (Score 1) 130

And animals don't have the mental capacity to understand how radionuclides will affect their offspring, that's still human created toxicity.

These animals are as likely to be exposed to radionuclide contamination by eating the local plant life as humans are. Since animals live vastly shorter lifespans than humans there is less time for cancers to manifest it's effects on the animals.

I doubt eating these animals would be a good idea however it would be very interesting to examine just how much radionuclide contamination is in the apex predators, like the wolves. The salient point about this article is that the microbes, insects and birds at the bottom of the food chain aren't there, as these are the fundamental building blocks of life.

Hardware Hacking

Desktop Turing-Welchman Bombe Build 67

An anonymous reader writes: I completed a months long project to build my own version of the Turing-Welchman Bombe. My machine uses a Raspberry Pi2 and an Arduino to drive stepper motors to turn the three output indicator drums and to drive an LCD display, to work like the indicator unit on the real Bombe. Everything was custom made by me at home. The unit is built to reflect the style of the real Bombe at Bletchley Park and to run in a similar way but as a portable, desktop sized unit. To demonstrate it I use the same Weather Report Menu as used at BP to demonstrate their real Bombe. The entire build was painstakingly documented over many months but the link given shows an overview and a film of the completed machine in action.

Comment Re:America (Score 1) 393

I don't have your qualification, however I've encountered them and found they destroy everything. I hope organizations recognize how damaging they are and take steps to exclude them.

I could only see a Narcissist or Psychopath thinking that it would be a good idea. In my experiences they have very little competence that is reliable enough to offset the damage they cause.

I'm always looking for a new idea that will be more productive than its cost. -- David Rockefeller