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Comment: Re:Lost focus (Score 2) 52

by QuantumPion (#49167547) Attached to: Interactive Edition of the Nuclear Notebook

Your post is total hogwash. Just about everything you have said is completely 100% factually false. By "scientists" I assume you are referring to an actor portraying a scientist in an anti-nuclear power propaganda piece.

a) there is no large pool of water directly below the reactor
b) even if the fuel melted into a large reservoir of water, it could not become critical. It is not physically possible without the precise fuel and moderator arrangement present in an in-tact reactor configuration.
c) even if you somehow made the fuel become critical, it could not explode like a bomb. If a fuel mass became critical, it would simply heat up and disperse. Worse case is the heat would cause additional steam/fire to disperse more fission products. Let me reiterate: it is physically impossible for reactor fuel of any kind to produce a nuclear bomb type explosion. Nuclear bombs require extremely precise arrangement with unimaginably creative engineering to function.
d) if the fuel mass reached the water table, all that would occur would be another path for contamination in the local area which was already heavily contaminated. Fission products would not be magically transported throughout the whole continent, nor could an entire continent be made uninhabitable.
e) a power plant contains a couple orders of magnitude more fuel than a bomb. The contamination from a worse-case-scenario power plant accident is much higher than nuclear bombs would be, unless they were some sort of salted enhanced radiation bomb. For comparison, a typical nuclear power reactor creates as many fissions as a nuclear bomb about every 6 hours.
f) radiation does not spread like a contagion. This is just plain FUD.

The only part of your post which was even remotely accurate was about doomsday enhanced radiation bombs or salted bombs. No one has ever designed, built, or tested such a device and they are only theoretical. But theoretically, with enough salted bombs (meaning about 1000 times more than the entire world's nuclear stockpile at the height of the cold war) you could theoretically make most of the surface uninhabitable.

Comment: Re:hate to dive headfirst into politics. (Score -1, Troll) 599

by QuantumPion (#49126795) Attached to: Republicans Back Down, FCC To Enforce Net Neutrality Rules


The Democrats in the senate and Obama are the ones who shut down the government. The House crated a budget and the Demcocrats (specifically Harry Reid) refused to even bring it up for a vote in the senate. Regardless of whether you agree with the budget or think it is a bad deal, a budget was made. If the Democrats disagree with it and refuse to implement it that is perfectly fine and legal. But it's not the Republicans shutting down the government because they refused to give Democrats everything they demanded with no concessions. Democrats shut down the government, and used their influence in a sympathetic media to blame Republicans for it. And you fell for it, hook, line and sinker.

Comment: Re:So humans are the biggest problem. (Score 1) 213

If you look at this list, the majority of these problems are man-made. Other than a super volcano and an asteroid impact, the solution seems pretty simple. We must abandon all technology and kill all but a small percentage of the population. And those that are left must live in isolated groups. That way there will not be a world wide disease outbreak.

So what you're saying is, the #1 threat to humanity is intellectuals making lists about the dangers to humanity? :)

Comment: Re:oh please. I'm tired of this "diversity" bullsh (Score 2) 493

Weirdly enough, women were quite well represented in technology before the 80s. Clearly there was an interest - so what's changed?

What changed was the definition of what a technology job is. Before the 80's, technology jobs included things like typists, calculators, vacuum tube changers, telephone operators, etc. These were relatively low skill repetitive jobs that were well suited to women in the workplace which didn't require higher education, physical ability, or advanced trade skills.

Comment: Re:And this is why burning Uranium is stupid... (Score 1) 282

by QuantumPion (#48950299) Attached to: NASA Looking At Nuclear Thermal Rockets To Explore the Solar System

This makes about as much sense as worrying about deorbiting Jupiter with all the gravitational slingshots we do around it. The amount of uranium we consume is extremely extremely tiny. For example, we could power 100% of the entire world's energy for 10,000 years using only the depleted uranium sitting around unused in barrels at enrichment plants. We might be making very inefficient use of it now, but there's nothing to stop us from eventually digging up spent fuel and reprocessing it, for instance.

Comment: Re:Nuclear is a dead end (Score 1) 176

In 75 years all of the low hanging fruit reserves will be mined out... according to current estimates that leaves 125 years of increasingly harder to get (i.e. more expensive) ore.

Then what? I guess develop the clean energy that we should be working on now.

No. Using proven fast reactor technology, we could supply 100% of the world's energy needs for 10,000 years just using the depleted uranium sitting unused in storage barrels at enrichment plants. Not to mention the huge amounts of raw uranium ore, tailings, reserves in localities that have previously banned mining, and seawater extraction. Nuclear fuel availability is purely a political and social problem, not technical.

Comment: Re:the problem with how nuclear works in the USA (Score 4, Insightful) 176

It also takes pressure off nuclear power companies to invest in reclamation and reprocessing technologies and frees them to simply consume fresh nuclear fissile materials without concern for their total lifespan.

While most of your post I would disagree with, this part is especially wrong. The reason why power companies do not invest in reprocessing and consume fresh fissile material is because by federal law bans it. Remember Jimmy Carter's Non-proliferation deal? Yeah.

Comment: Re:If only it were POLITICALLY and SOCIALLY sound (Score 5, Informative) 176

Nuclear waste disposal isn't an engineering problem

The folks in Japan working the #4 unit of the Fukushima Daiichi plant would like to have a word with you about this. It was shut-down and defuelled before the tsunami struck, and despite this its spent fuel pool's contents blew the building apart.

You are misinformed. While the stability of the fuel pools was unknown and a concern at the time of the disaster, it was later determined that they were in fact not leaking, damaged, or in danger. No fuel in storage was compromised. The damage to Unit 4 was caused by the hydrogen explosion of Unit 2.

Comment: Car Analogy (Score 1, Insightful) 113

by QuantumPion (#48908135) Attached to: NVIDIA GTX 970 Specifications Corrected, Memory Pools Explained

A particular high performance car has a premium 8 cylinder engine and 32 valves at 400 hp. They also sell a non-premium version which is also 8 cylinders but only 30 valves and makes 350 hp but is a lot cheaper. The difference is that one cylinder is missing two valves which lowers its maximum power compared to the premium version. The engine's computer correctly controls the engine to compensate for the one weird cylinder, but someone in the marketing department sold the car as having 32 valves when it only had 30. The 350 hp figure is accurate, but some people complain because if they reprogram the engine control chip to force the one 2-valve cylinder to run at the same conditions as the other 4-valve cylinders, the car only makes 300 hp. But in all normal circumstances the car performs as advertised, only it was initially sold with incorrect details as to how the engine was put together to make it nearly as fast for much cheaper than the premium version.

Comment: Re:Inconsistent fuel? (Score 1) 289

by QuantumPion (#48496447) Attached to: Physicist Kip Thorne On the Physics of "Interstellar"

The Endurance itself was large and heavy and full of fuel, requiring a large rocket to get to orbit.

The Ranger was a small, lightweight spaceplane which probably used something like a SABRE engine.

Here is a delta-V map of the solar system. According to it, you would need 6300 m/s delta-V to return to Earth from Mars. Which is about 2/3 the delta-V required to get to Earth orbit.

Comment: Re:The Internet answer (Score 1) 516

by QuantumPion (#48466159) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

The reason why no one switches energy providers whom put their cables underground because if such a utility did exist, its electric prices would be much higher and almost everyone would chose the cheaper, slightly less reliable option and drive them out of business. The problem isn't capitalism. The problem is people like low prices and our current system is good enough not to warrant voluntarily paying more.

Comment: Re: Market forces don't work on essential utilitie (Score 1) 516

by QuantumPion (#48466135) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Why Is the Power Grid So Crummy In So Many Places?

On the contrary, market forces work fine. The problem is simply a case of the leaky roof problem. You can't fix the roof it when it's raining, and when it's not raining there is no need to fix it because it isn't raining. When people's lights are on and working it's hard to convince them to voluntarily pay more to upgrade transmission systems.

You can be replaced by this computer.