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Comment Re:uranium runs out (Score 1) 303

Good thing you are not one of those people, because you don't appear to be very informed at all.

The executive order killing the construction and operation of the research facilities for breeder reactors was rescinded without reinstating the budget for them. We might as well have said "it's now fully legal to flap your arms and fly to the moon" by executive order, because both were as likely to happen without funding.

Also, all plutonium isotopes are not created equal as far as weapons use goes, and there is no method to separate the one isotope you want for weapons from the others that you don't. This is why we have monitoring systems and such that the UN uses to make sure everyone is in compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Because as it turns out, if you use a PWR to create power, and actually use the fuel load economically, you don't make weapons grade material. If you shut the place down after 6 months and swap fuel in the most costly manner possible, you get weapons grade plutonium inside of a whole lot of other shit you don't want (trans-uranic elements that are amazingly deadly).

However, those spontaneously fissile plutonium isotopes that ruin a bomb still work really good in a reactor, so breeding plutonium that has a higher percentage of Pu-240 and Pu-241 isn't a problem for that use.

Comment Re:It worked as planned (Score 1) 303

Wow, that's a lot of hand waving you've got going on there. Nothing to see here, move along!

Except that it was an accident - they didn't plan to have a barrel of waste overpressurize and pop in a transport tunnel, shutting down the entire facility and requiring several billion dollars of cleanup, and the delay of other barrels of waste ready for transport to this location.

Sure, if this would have happened 15 years from now after everything they planned on putting down there was already down there and the place was sealed up - fine. But that was not the operating environment. They were lucky nobody was in the place when this happened, or they would be dead right now.

Oh, but right - it wasn't an accident because it wasn't the absolute worst case scenario. Sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up. And I say this as someone who would be happy to see more nuclear power deployed, but also isn't a fucking lunatic.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a crazy, hot girlfriend (Score 2) 303

Right. If only those assholes in the 1950s would have designed a perfect system without the benefit of 60 years of hindsight and iterative process improvement, and without the 60 years of improved understanding of nuclear physics, and 60 years of improved tools. You know, like computers actually existing now instead of doing the whole fucking thing on blue paper and chalkboards with a slide rule.

What a bunch of assholes.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a crazy, hot girlfriend (Score 1) 303

Not saying you are wrong, but let's put the same metrics to use on other energy sources: how much economic damage, loss of valuable land, and social ramifications of losing entire cities to sea level rise from the continued emission of burning oil and coal?

Every source of energy has it's costs. With properly run nuclear*, you get an amount of waste that is very dangerous, but concentrated and manageable. With fossil fuels, you get less dangerous waste, dispersed into the atmosphere until it causes global catastrophe. With solar, you get mine tailings from producing the panels. With wind, you get localized weather changes, bird deaths, low frequency noise pollution. With hydroelectric, you get fish kills, flooding of thousands of acres of land into a reservoir. Etc. etc. And none of them are perfect for 100% of our needs.

So let's go with the least harm principle, and get the fuck off fossil fuels as fast as possible, by whatever means we have possible today, instead of waiting for what might be tomorrow while we still spew gigatons of shit into the air.

* yes, it's debatable if this has ever existed. The United States Navy makes a compelling argument with running many dozens of reactors over the last 60+ years with zero incidents. Commercial power plants make a compelling counter-argument with their long list of low-level fuck-ups, and a few very high-profile fuck-ups.

Comment Re:Reminds me of a crazy, hot girlfriend (Score 3, Informative) 303

Yeah, except nowhere in this article is anything about nuclear power actually mentioned. This article, and storage facility, are for the waste coming from nuclear weapons production and research.

I guess that's "nuclear energy" in a way, but commercial nuclear energy generation has vastly different waste outputs, with completely different handling procedures. For example, you usually don't have liquid radioactive waste that needs blotting up and stored in barrels, because you haven't dissolved the nuclear material in nitric acid in order to extract the remaining plutonium and uranium from all the other crap you don't want.

Comment Re:Fuck mdsolar (Score 1) 303

I still have never figured out how North Korea would somehow spontaneously get plutonium created at a breeder reactor in Tennessee. I guess the argument is "well if we spend billions and billions of dollars to prototype and refine the design until it actually works, then all of a sudden they have one too without all the pesky engineering and construction costs?

It's not a fucking MP3 - it can't be copied perfectly with zero cost.

Comment Re:Fuck mdsolar (Score 2, Insightful) 303

Yeah, except that this story has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear power generation. All of this waste, and this waste disposal site, is designed for material coming from the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and the output of the DoE national laboratories.

So the FUD is implicit - anything that is bad about any nuclear technology at all, mdsolar will post just because people will automatically relate it to nuclear power. I still don't know why he thinks that nuclear is such a threat to his dream of solar panels everywhere, being that solar deployments are growing, and panel prices are falling, and panel efficiencies are rising; and there's all of 1 or 2 nuclear reactors under construction in the US, for the first time since 1979.

Comment Re:I don't get it (Score 1) 114

Now only if there was some way to test some of the stuff you're griping about without sending it to orbit. Oh wait, all of it can be tested with facilities that already exist.

And why would any welding need to be done in space? We've already built a huge space station without it. Just make sure there are fittings already there before you launch it.

Can you do this with a bone-stock Atlas-V tomorrow? No, there would need to be some retrofit. But that retrofit will likely cost far less than multiple launches of Atlas-V rockets to put multiple payloads in orbit, if you can re-use the second stage tank.

This is why we have engineers "do the math" and figure out if it's cost effective or not, and they're far smarter than either you or I. Because they are literally rocket scientists.

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