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Comment Re:Fukushima factoid - Thorium and Thallium (Score 1) 136

It's the gamma radiation that makes it less of a proliferation risk. Can't have detonators around that.

As for the radioactivity, yes, it's highly radioactive, but properly processed the waste is in said highly radioactive state for a substantially shorter period of time. Basically, it'll reach background levels in a period shorter than human civilization, not longer.

I'm fine with going with IFR, but I'm not sure what you mean by 'loose energy' (lose energy) for mining and processing Thorium - Thorium is currently a byproduct of rare earth mining and refining; currently they're avoiding some of the richest Thorium ore because there's no demand for thorium, thus it's expensive to handle the ore.

Start up a few thorium reactors such that there's a commercial demand for the metal, and it'll get mined along with the other stuff. One thing I've learned is that a 'pure' mine is actually pretty rare. Copper and gold mines also tend to produce silver. Rare earths are usually mixed. Etc...

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid - Design (Score 1) 136

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.

You know, it's odd, I searched my posts multiple times and didn't find the AP1000 listed? I didn't even mention GenIII.
First: I was pretty much talking globally in my posts, thus the NRC could be considered a 'local' issue.
Second: More designs can gain approval.

AP1000 vs EPR: Per wiki the AP1000 has a core damage frequency of 5.09e-7 per plant years, EPR is rated at 6.1e-7 per plant year. So by that metric they're both neck and neck (e-7), with the AP1000 having a slight lead over the EPR. The EPR is about 50% more powerful though, so on a per kWh basis it's a touch safer, as you'd need 3 APs to replace 2 EPR. You're still very close though.

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.

The problem here is that you're assuming a linear relationship between clean-up costs and reactor power size. Personally, I figure that the cost has an extremely large static component - IE the relationship is not linear, and should be cheaper per MW the larger the reactor.

Basically, just getting set up to handle the cleanup is more expensive than actually doing it, especially for a smaller plant.

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.

Citation? Hell, citation that plants routinely vent radioactive materials into the environment outside of emergency circumstances!

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 point was that even a normal dome will still tank an aircraft.

AP-1000 is a rehash of the Standard Westinghouse Nuclear Utility Power Plant (SNUPPs) examples of which are installed at Wolf Creek [] and Callaway,

This is a bit like comparing a 4 stroke 4 cylinder from the '80s to a modern 4 stroke. Sure, there may be broad similarities, but there's also refinements in pretty much every aspect.

I'm afraid that I have to go - I've re-entered college to upgrade my degree and have to get to class. I need to get some other work done, so I'm afraid that I'm going to take a while to respond to your other posts, as well and being unable to go quite as deep into the research as I'd like.

Personally, rather than going 'greenfield', I'd prefer to do an immediate reconstruction in most areas - remove the old reactor, and put a new plant down in it's place, whether that be an AP1000, EPR*, or one of the other dozen approved GenIII designs out there. AP1k might be the only one in production, but it's not the only one approved.

*EPR might not be approved in the USA, but getting it so shouldn't be a huge regulatory hurdle, relatively speaking, especially if it's as safe as you say.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid (Score 1) 136

First you are talking about GenIII's and AP-1000, then you are saying thorium reactors, then you talk of reprocessing.

That's because there's different issues at play. I'm not a 'one true power' believer, so in a non-hydrocarbon fueled world, my benchmark is around 40% nuclear, 20% solar, 20% wind, and 20% 'everything else'.

I'm also not a 'one true' believer in the 'solution' for nuclear power. IE there's space for GenIII reactors such as the AP1000 to run alongside reactors that are more theoretical at this point, providing incentive to recycle current nuclear waste.

The breaks between quotes are there for a reason, each section is in response to a specific section of your post.

As for 'deadly to our genome', that's actually very common. There's plenty of chemical hazards out there.

To summarize: I'd like to see a number of GenIII(minimum) plants produced, in sufficient quantity such that they aren't all effectively prototype plants, but can share developmental knowledge in order to reduce expenses. Along with that, I'd also like to see a GenIV plant developed and deployed, but realistically we'd be looking to break ground for one of them around the time we have most of the GenIII's powered up, enabling us to shut down most of the coal and oldest nuclear plants. I happen to like the promise of the molten salt reactor, given that the thing can't suffer a meltdown because that's it's normal operating mode. This enables higher temperatures, with a real-world efficiency of slightly over 50% possible. This would shrink the size necessary for the thermal reactor, so it could be placed in smaller areas, and combined with higher efficiency, the waste heat could be used industrially, or for district heating.

Comment Re:Fukushima factoid (Score 3, Insightful) 136

By what standard?

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

By some ironic quirk TMI *is* one of the safest designs because it was designed to be resistant to aircraft impacts

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.

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.

"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.

Also, citation on the birth rates. Citation on "majority of effects" being still years away - if anything we should be recovering from the effects of post WWII above ground nuclear bomb tests.

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.

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. Something with a half-life of 10 days will be virtually entirely gone within a year. Something with a half-life in the decades will still be churning a century from now, but it's initially safer to be around.(Safer being a relative quality).

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.

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.

Comment post-liability not always sufficient (Score 3, Insightful) 100

By the time 3-eyed babies appear, the perps or their trail may be long gone.

Indeed, this is why I support some regulation despite my libertarian tendencies. It's entirely too easy to cause far more damage than you could every repay in seeking what amounts to a 'modest' profit. By the time it could be handled in a post-liability fashion, the person is already dead or broke. Leaving potentially thousands or even millions of people injured without the ability to seek redress.

As such, stopping them sooner rather than later is a 'once of prevention is worth a pound of cure' move.

Comment Nut filter. (Score 1) 370

Anything popular is going to attract all manner of crazy from the general public.

Doesn't even have to be all that popular. Just be glad that we have professionals at the FCC listening to these nuts, and I figure the nuts probably write the FCC quite often, rather than us having to listen to them.

Comment Parts fail, it needs to be planned for. (Score 1) 100

Sensor manufacturers, for instance, may be untruthful about their abilities or, more likely, reliability. While the integrators will be inherently distrustful, as they will take the liability, one can see smaller vendors telling lies if they see it as the only way to get a big sale for their business."

I like how he pretty much answers his own question. Car manufacturers aren't going to give those making parts for them an inch. They'll test everything, like they're used to doing. Now, a defective lot of parts getting through is a known hazard. But ideally speaking, self driving cars will be made with the same redundancies as planes - IE one failed part isn't enough to cause a hazardous condition.

More likely, VW's shenanigans are likely to cause governments to require more independent testing before approval.

Comment Fukushima factoid (Score 3, Insightful) 136

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?

Modern, actual modern nuclear plants would be far safer.

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

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

Comment Re:SolarCity = Liars (Score 1) 180

Single Junction vs Multi-Junction.

Single junction cells are currently the winner for actual installs, multi-junction cells are the ones that are so expensive that you want to focus many time's the sun's emissions on it.

Basically, you're comparing a family car against a top fuel car.

Comment Re:Not one percent (Score 1) 180

Context of the article, than the panels they were selling previously. If they developed a trick that allows them to produce panels that produce 30% more power than their last product line at not added expense, that makes them that much more competitive.

The previous product line was probably around 17% efficient.

Comment Re:Hmm... (Score 4, Interesting) 203

The question is, did they have enough money to fulfill their charter or did they just say screw it and do nothing because they didn't get what they asked for?

It can get even more complicated. Consider that there are always static costs - it takes a certain amount of money to just keep the lights on, the management staff paid and kept in offices, etc...

In short, if you cut a department's budget by 20%, without implementing additional measures to control FWA and/or otherwise reduce expenses, you should expect to see more than a 20% drop in performance.

One of the chief duties of the mathematician in acting as an advisor... is to discourage... from expecting too much from mathematics. -- N. Wiener