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Comment Ah, no. (Score 1) 427

Yeah, my conversation with cleverbot went off the rails immediately: me: Would you object to talking about nuclear physics? cb: Can you tell me about Lucifer? me: I don't think so; I don't follow mythology. cb: I thought you were a dodgers fan? Sorry, but that hardcore a non-sequitur isn't human.

Comment I don't think a degree helps you (Score 0) 349

Seriously. I've no degree, programming for a living at six figs, and when I finally got fed up with the mess the last job's management had unleashed upon us, it took me under a month to start a suitable replacement job at half-again my salary. I don't know how that rates for CS grads; they tend to be kinda useless theoretical asshats until you've broken 'em in a bit. But whatever.

Comment Re:ask Kerr McGee (Score 2) 279

Gimme a link. I couldn't find the photos of which you speak, but I did find an article from "In these times, 1987", in which, in accusatory tones, they describe the denitrating of actinide nitrates, with ammonia and spraying the resultant ammonium nitrate (i.e., sans actinides) on their own farmland. Seems reasonable enough to me, but then, I know some chemistry. To convert your waste from a stream of undisposable nitrates into a solid you can dispose of within the realm of government regulations, you take the nitrate groups off. You then have to do something with the nitrate groups that isn't going to piss people off, despite it's being non-radioactive and fairly valuable fertilizer otherwise. So, spray it on your own lands. Problem solved.

Best I can tell, the cattle thing is a synthesis. If you can link me the photos, I can probably help track down their source. They could be legit, but the fact is there are lots of sources of photos for mutilated and/or simply dead cattle. Hell, my wife grew up on a farm, and her family's entire herd died of a virus one year, ending their farming lives forever. Of course, I'm biased: I've seen some of the more zealous of environmentalists bald-facedly lie about important things; I would not ever put it past them to tell a whopper, even in picture form.

Comment Re:I'd say (Score 1) 279

Meh. If it were legal, I'd let the industry bury a dry cask in my back yard. Those things are solid ultra-dense concrete and steel. Put it about 20m down below, and the spent fuel is really just not getting out. Hell, they're dens enough and thickly shielded enough that there's nearly no gamma flux, and gamma's damn near impossible to stop fully.

I'd do it because I'd have no fear whatsoever of any harm as a result. I know what's in there; I know what's protecting the world from it; I know it's sufficient.

I'd do it; besides the fact that I'd be storing all the nuclear waste needed for my lifetime as well as about 200 other people, I'd do it just to shut up all the NIMBYs and BANANAs.

NIMBYs are whiny, ignorant fuckers. Do you fear, say, Yucca Mountain? Then I consider you to be a whiny, ignorant fucker. Do you know why? Because you are demonstrably in no danger, and yet you feel you have reason to prevent what is an otherwise necessary action.

Comment Re:Breeder reactor? (Score 2) 279

If you're curious about the working of nuclear energy - specifically breeder reactors, Wikipedia's actually surprisingly accurate for a topic that can be sometimes controversial.

  • Try the following searches:
  • "Nuclear fission"
  • "Uranium 235"
  • "Light Water Reactor"
  • "Integral Fast Reactor"
  • "Travelling Wave Reactor"
  • Also, if you're interested in thermal spectrum breeders, try:
  • "Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment"

There's also a relatively new American project working on MSRs, called LFTR, run by FLiBe energy. Google for that if you're interested; they've been putting all their 30,000 foot technology documents online.

That said.

Breeders don't burn waste, at least, not until it's been enriched further. Then the tailings can be bred and the HEMO (highly enriched mixed oxide) can be burned; then the tailings must be reprocessed to pull out the bred Pu-239 and put into the fuel stream, rinse and repeat until it's all changed into fission products, which you then sit on for about 300 years.

This carries a proliferation risk that's been the bane of any fast reactor project - you're making and breaking out the best isotope for making nuclear weapons. Mind, you'll often see refuel/reprocessing cycles tuned to make sure a lot of Pu-240 and Pu-241 are produced (which are very, very bad for weapons making, largely for predetonational reasons), but that's a variable that can be changed without a fundamental change to the design of the plant. And, in my opinion, any safety feature that's held in place through sheer force of bureaucracy is not to be trusted.

MSRs have a better plan - though none have been built yet. Basically, since the whole system is fluids (i.e., molten salts with dissolved fissiles in), you can, in theory, do your reprocessing continuously deep inside the reactor building via basic lanthanide and actinide chemistry. You're still breeding a weaponable material (in this case, U-233), but it never has a need or opportunity to leave the reactor. Basically, it's trapped in there until it's fission products, at which point it's not weaponable. Proliferation resistance that has physical barrier to back it up. It's a good thing.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 1) 279

while not taking care of their trash

The agreement was that fees would be paid to the government which would (in theory) be used to build a central repository at which location the US government could choose to store or reprocess the waste. The fees have been (and are being) paid. The repo has not come to pass, however.

they should be required to have full insurance up to chernobyl style accidents

Power companies are liable for up to $2B/GW, which is significantly more than was spent cleaning up TMI. The cost of Fukushima, by the way, despite being a natural disaster that's going to cost Japan orders of magnitude more than the clean-up costs of the plant, is being mostly paid for by TEPCO, with the government chipping in about a third.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 1) 279

"Greenpeace may not be the most credible organization here" Give the man a gold star. "but the whole reprocessing story reeks" Jeez; you release a few micrograms of tritium per gallon of water and suddenly it's armageddon. I'll put it this way, dude: I have a keyring. It contains about half a gram of tritium, in a phosphorescent plastic chamber. If I were to burn that tritium into tritated water, then mix it into a liter of regular water, I'd have somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 billion picocuries of tritium per liter water - more than a million times the concentration released from AREVA's operations. And then I'd drink it, secure in the knowledge that tritium is not that damned harmful. It doesn't reek. France set extremely conservative radiological standards, and AREVA exceeded them, then brought their operation back under the limit. Now, mind, there are other waste streams - DUF6 being the largest one. But DUF6 isn't even that big a problem; it's just more expensive to defluoronate and bury (generally back in the uranium mines it came from) than it is to retain on-site. It's less radioactive than /natural/ uranium, for pity's sake.

Comment Re:i like drinking pseudo clean water (Score 3, Insightful) 279

No, see, chemical issue are /actual/ problems. You know, like coal ash, and carbon dioxide. Meanwhile, nuclear waste, while mildly radioactive, is an easily contained solid, and is produced in tiny quantities when compared to fossil fuel ash. Someone who actually gives a shit about the environment would do their research on nuclear power (and not from Greenpeace's website), learn what the /real/ safety concerns are, and push for solutions to those concerns. They would not, mind, push to eliminate the smallest mining/waste footprint per joule, lowest fatality count per joule, lowest land-use per watt technology we have, renewables included.

Anti-nuclear environmentalists always worry me: how is it you can be concerned about all the right things and still get such a wrong answer?

Comment Re:Why not just turn it off? (Score 1) 279

"WIthout about 10 million dead babies and misformed born babies in twe lost worldwide due to radioactivity you would be spreading propaganda. And we had enough of that shit. So just turn those damn things off. And leave them off."


Sorry, there are no dead babies as a result of nuclear power. None misformed either. There are several million misinformed babies (such as yourself) as a result of the dogmatic opponents of nuclear power, but that's not really what we're talking about.

Comment Re:Learn from the Japanese (Score 1) 102

"When we fuck up and kill 10k people ... its the 10k peoples fault they died, not the CEO or Engineers."

a) I don't think anyone in the US behaves like that
b) I don't see how that's relevant.

"The Japanese have a since of honor and pride, the rest of the world would do good to have some of it....some people actually feel bad when they fuck up"

There is no honor in suicide, and pride, when injured, does not justify giving up. If you feel bad, you help fix the problem. Committing suicide because you don't want to face the fact that you made a mistake and that mistake had real consequences? That is the height of dishonor.

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