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Comment Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (Score 1) 438

I'm not sure where our production ends up going to, but we [nuke plant on east coast] almost never downpower. Being baseload, the electrical dispatch knows that we're a last resort to reduce load. We run 100% pretty much as best we can. I'm just a non-licensed op, so I don't deal with anything past our switchyard, and even that not all that much.

Comment Re:The only 'fanbois' I see are mindless droids... (Score 3, Informative) 427

Putting your finger there may attenuate the signal. But it won't short the antenna. My antenna is internal. I can't even take the backplate off and short it. Once I get home, I'll do some speed tests for ya if you like, but right now, I'm in a huge concrete box. BTW, that's an Incredible...he did ask for an N1 death-point ;)

Comment Quick Summary of some of the Patents (Score 1) 434

Engadget has a post about this. They list out some of the major/more ridiculous ones and give a quick summary. Well, as quick a summary as a non-patent lawer can give. Good to read if your'e curious about what Apple wants to sue over and don't want to read through patent abstracts.

Comment Re:Emergency Generators (Score 1) 562

I don't think these would do well as emergency power gen. Emergency back-ups are generally something you want to come online fast. So that your battery power UPSs can keep your vital systems up while you get power back to them. From what I understand, these fuel cells have an operating temp of 1000C, so unless you keep them warmed, or the start-up time is suprisingly short, these wouldn't do well. Our emergency diesels can come up to power and start to take on a load in under 15 seconds. And they're huge...I could stand in a combustion chamber. We have two 16 cylinder, four stroke, turbocharged, V-type engine with a continuous rating of 9074 hp at 450 rpm. It'll spin the genny for 6500 kW at 6.9 kV... Now THAT's an emergency backup generator.

Comment Re:Problems (Score 1) 710

You also have to factor in the costs for equipment that can handle water heated by a reactor that hot. Current PWRs heat primary water (stuff that touches the reactor) to ~550F / 2200PSIG. Which is fed through a steam generator that heats clean water into [saturated] steam that can be sent through a turbine to generate power. Then you'd need SGs that can transfer heat from the super hot water to the secondary side...which is kind of a crazy delta T.

Comment Re:zero-risk? (Score 1) 710

While you can make a reactor with passive safety systems, the whole plant is still run by humans. The point of failure is the operator in both Chernobyl and TMI. At TMI they had an auxiliary feedwater valve mispositioned, which eventaully led to a condition where the operators had a different plant configuration in their heads than what was actually there. In the end, they cause the reactor to go dry and melt itself. At Chernobyl they bypassed multiple safety systems in order to run a test. And violated several operating principals when the test was interrupted, and then tried to proceed with the test. Also, they're reactor had a positive void-coefficient. That means that as it got hotter, the reactivity (follow: power) increased. Current reactor designs have a negative coefficient. So as the core gets hotter, the reactivity decreases, cutting itself off, and preventing a run-away reactor. But remember, that's what TMI had, and they still managed to melt it. Human error is the tipping point in complex systems such as these.

Comment Re:Surprise! Business model problems... (Score 1) 710

The power companies themselves do not refine fuel. They don't design reactors. Everything in a nuclear power plant is bought and installed. All they do is run the equipment.
You've got to convince Westinghouse (fuel and reactors), Areva (fuel), and several other secondary companies (need equipment to deal with superheated steam, instead of merely saturated).
If you gave the actual power companies a cost effective and vetted thorium plant design, they would take it. But until then, everyone's eyes are set on Westinghouse's AP-1000 design for the next decade or two.
The fact that thorium takes less processing should encourage fuel makers because it's less work for them, while still selling fuel at a profit. But like a poster said, the actual fuel cost isn't why a nuke plant is hard to build. It takes 15-20 billion to build a 2-reactor plant right now. Getting that kind of funding is what's keeping them from being built.

Comment Re:ah... (Score 1) 404

A Z-pinch creates a small torus of plasma that contains itself, sustainably, this one does not. The only reason tokamak got focused on was because there wasn't enough money to pursue multiple containment schemes back in the 70s and the fusion community had to pick one. The wrong one if I say so myself.

Comment Re:Fusion!? (Score 2, Informative) 404

Actually, Three Mile happened because a PORV (Power Operated Relief Valve) on the pressurizer was stuck open. They were unaware of it (though things pointed to it, it had no positive indication of position), and as a result, secured cooling flow to the core, and the RCS inventory was lost through the PORV, uncovering the fuel.

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