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Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

How about another source referring to a more recent Duke study? Further, coal slurry has plenty of heavy metals which are also ugly environmental contaminants that react poorly with human populations, particularly when they leech into water supplies (or just bury your town). In any event, I can't imagine anyone making the argument that it's good for humans or for the environment to have mountains of coal slurry hanging around. Outside of a coal lobbyist, I don't think anyone actually believes it's harmless.

And you have to admit the Wikipedia linked info about Shakti is pretty damn thin. An offhand comment in a publication appears to suggest that maybe possibly something somewhere could have come from Bill's father-in-law's third cousin twice removed on a stormy Tuesday...

Comment No they can't, I'm special (Score 4, Funny) 990

Electric cars won't ever work because I drive 3,000 miles each way to work every day across all the peaks of the Himalayas hauling seven shipping containers filled with concrete. And if an electric car can't do that without me having to stop along the way, it's a useless piece of shit that nobody can ever use for anything. /UsualElectricCarNaysayers

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

You are saying that NOW after India used it to make nuclear weapons? Seriously?

Well, first of all, they didn't. They used the CIRUS research reactor in Trombay. The US and Canada gave it to them under an agreement that it would only be used for peaceful purposes.

Oh come on now, do you think the readers are really that stupid? Alex Gabbard pushed that line and the bullshit about terrorists building nukes from ash but he was getting paid to lie when he did it. It's no more real than his novels about hillbilly moonshiners.
It's as radioactive as fucking sand because that's what the stuff that becomes ash was before it ended up as impurities in coal.

I didn't say anything about building nukes from coal slurry, so that's a strawman. I made the point that coal has real, measurable impacts that one can actually see whether one subscribes to the concept of global climate change caused by human activities (such as burning coal) or not. The idea is that you can readily see severe environmental impacts from coal and oil power plants without having to get into any sort of complex interconnected open system dynamics. You can just see entire towns buried by fucking coal slurry like Kingston, TN and in Martin County, KY.

Also, coal ash is more radioactive than nuclear waste. But please, don't let facts get in the way of whatever agenda it is you're pushing. You done yet?

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

My point was not that it's a politically feasible plan. My point was that it's a technically feasible plan. The fact that it requires foresight and a supermajority of human beings actually thinking and acting rationally and in the best interests of the species as a whole (i.e. it'll never happen) does not negate the fact that there is no technical impediment to successfully implementation. Further, we'd all be far better off for it. But none of that matters because people - as a whole - won't agree to do things that make sense for everyone.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

Two issues there: 1) CANDU actually is proliferation resistant (meets international standards for resistance anyway) and 2) No, India did not get it from there; they got the material from the CIRUS research reactor at Trombay that the US and Canada provided them under an agreement that it would only be used for peaceful purposes. So you're batting 1.000 somewhere, but unfortunately, this is Earth. :-)

But neither of those things really matter anyway for a simple reason: most of what you're getting out of a CANDU plant is easy to get if you have the technical understanding to actually build a working weapon out of it. If you're going for a uranium device and you want enriched uranium, build calutrons and get your uranium. They're old tech that's well understood and documented. A group of decent engineering grad students with a few hundred bucks could build one in a garage and get decent materials out of it (though anyone operating it likely wouldn't live too long). But most of what the CANDU plant is going to give you is plutonium and you aren't building a working device out of that without serious know-how. North Korea's been trying to make that work for decades and they can't do it. Plenty of others have also tried and failed many, many times. In that case, the plutonium is the easy part; making a weapon that can bring it to criticality is the challenge.

So what's the risk? A country that already has everything it needs for a bomb has one additional avenue, maybe, if they can bypass the safeguards? Nobody's joining the nuclear club because of CANDU - they're doing it because they've decided to do so and it really isn't that hard if you aren't trying to do the super cool shit.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 1) 254

CANDU has pretty solid safeguards against weaponization, but it's not like enrichment is all that difficult. Calutrons are fairly simple and old tech you can build in a garage (though you may not want to actually start processing material there if you enjoy being alive for long). You won't get amazing stuff out of them, but if all you're looking for is a uranium gun device, they'll do the job. If you're going with a plutonium based device, the synchronized, symmetric implosion is really your long pole anyway. Getting the plutonium will never be the real challenge there and an unlimited supply won't help you if it just blows itself apart prior to criticality.

CANDU designs are already prepared for MOX fuel cycles (and theoretically, they'll run on thorium as well but nobody's ever actually implemented it to the best of my knowledge), but you'll want to take that into account when actually building the plant or you'll be in for some expensive refitting later. They don't do it in Canada for the same reason we don't in the US: policy says don't do it. But they've reprocessed used fuel in Europe, Russia, Japan, and other places around the world for a long time. You can actually also feed weaponized material from decommissioned nuclear weapons into these reactors as well (a process the US Department of Energy is looking into, since we have a whole lot of that stuff sitting around now thanks to START, START II, etc).

That cuts a significant amount of your high level waste. You feed the rest into a fairly small number of fast neutron reactors. Yes, they'll be more expensive to run, but they're serving a greater purpose (turning dangerous waste into power and vastly less dangerous waste with significantly diminished time to reach non-hazardous status). House them in very safe, stable places like the US, Canada, and western Europe. We'll take what's left of the reprocessed material that the CANDU plants can't use anymore and extract most of what's left of its energy until there's just a tiny amount of waste with very little remaining energy. What remains is very easy to safely store and there's not much of it anyway.

And before you tell me the fast neutron reactors are a pipe dream of the future, EBR-II ran for 30 years (until Congress pulled its budget in 1994 - thanks GOP!) without issue. Not only did it work and actually produce electricity, but it was truly passively safe (tested in 1986 in a complete pull-the-plug test with all emergency systems offline - the physics of the design itself caused it to shut down naturally on its own in the absence of the systems that normally run it). The design was commercialized, but hasn't yet been picked up - largely due to NIMBY and the economic and political problems it creates with state and local governments. So we already have the tech developed and tested; we're merely choosing not to implement it via incompetence and ignorance.

None of this is politically feasible. It would require human beings behaving rationally and in the interests of the species as a whole. People on the right (no, not all of them) don't want to buy into the idea that fossil fuels are bad for the environment (even in cases where it's unquestionable that they are like towns buried under radioactive coal slurry) and people on the left (no, not all of them) have an irrational fear of radiation that rivals the anti-vaccine hysteria. Between that and the international cooperation it'd take, plus all the money required to get it kicked off, plus the coordination required, bureaucratic red tape to cut through, corruption to deal with, general incompetence, etc, it isn't going to happen anytime soon. But there's no technical reason we couldn't do it if we suddenly starting thinking and acting rationally in the best interests of our own species.

Comment Another zero-value mdsolar submission (Score 0) 254

Editors, please stop accepting submissions from mdsolar. The articles are always biased and filled with unscientific drivel. Frankly, they're garbage. But they align with mdsolar's agenda of pushing solar and bashing nuclear, so they keep getting submitted.

Please stop accepting their submissions. It's junk that reduces the credibility and the level of discussion for the site as a whole.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 2) 254

It's mdsolar; they won't submit an article that doesn't bash nuclear power. It could be an article about Python, but it better have something about how nuclear power is bad and dangerous or mdsolar won't submit it.

Still waiting to see if mdsolar will ever respond to the fact that - per kwh generated - nuclear power is safer (causes less human deaths) than solar.

Comment Re:Unfair to bash nuclear (Score 5, Informative) 254

Exactly. Give me a CANDU 6 plant that's actually reprocessing its "waste" any day of the week and twice on Sunday. It's safe, reliable, and oodles of power coming from a small footprint. But no, instead we'll elect to dump all our R&D into new tech that uses tons of rare Earth elements, uses huge amounts of space, isn't dependable (due to weather), can't handle base load, requires lots of toxic chemicals to produce, has to be replaced every other decade, destroys ecosystems housing endangered species, and basically just fucking sucks.

We have a solution to power requirements that doesn't cause any major issues. Replace all coal, oil, solar, and wind power with CANDU 6 power plants and reprocess the "waste" until it's so low energy that it can't hurt anyone. You'll end up with a relatively tiny amount of low-energy waste and a whole lot of fairly cheap, reliable, safe electrical power. If we made it a national priority, we could go 90% nuclear in 10 years in the US, but we'd have to wipe out a whole bunch of local government NIMBY regulations that do absolutely nothing to make anyone or any thing any safer.

Comment Re:The death of common sense (Score 3, Insightful) 220

Having the student issue a written apology to the teacher and having him post a simple "obviously this was a joke" tweet seems like it should have handled the situation quite well and made it a learning experience for the student. Engaging the parents early would help ensure it's taken seriously and reinforced at home. No damage done, no lawsuits, no absurdly ignorant police chiefs.

Comment A tough area (Score 0) 220

Based on the facts presented thus far, I don't really see that the school district has a leg to stand on and that police chief needs to head back to night school to brush up on some law basics. Now that teacher; she may have had cause for some sort of civil action against the student, especially if the school did any sort of investigation of her based on the content of the exchange.

If the school wanted to take action here, they should have provided the teacher with lawyers and legal options upon request. If the tweets caused some sort of disruption on their own (frankly, the school district's actions caused more disruption than anything else), only then should they have acted based on the results of an investigation. Here they just seemed to have been lurching about without any sort of plan or clue for how to proceed properly and objectively.

Comment Re:rip-off (Score 1) 296

If it's required by law (e.g. driver's license, medical license, etc) then sure. If it's an IT cert, then it's absurd. And if the justification is that some contract requires it, then fire the asshole who wrote and/or signed that contract.

I understand that people place differing levels of confidence in certs and I don't begrudge them that. I disagree that IT certs mean much, but others think they're more useful. Where my strong objection comes in is holding that over somebody's head and bringing in auditors to shitcan everyone (regardless of how good a job they're doing) because some useless piece of paper expired.

Only way I'd ever take a job at a place like that is if the annual salary was enough for me to retire on. That way, even if they shitcanned me the day the cert expired, I'd be set for life anyway. And I'd still go in every day thinking to myself "fuck this place". They certainly would never get my best work, which only comes when I'm pouring my heart and soul into the work I'm doing to build something I can be proud of.

Comment Re:rip-off (Score 3, Insightful) 296

Then they were better off for it. Any place that'll pull that kind of bullshit without regard for knowledge, skill, and work ethic (Hell, any place without regard for treating its workforce like human beings instead of numbers) isn't a healthy place to work anyway. I don't care if they're starting you a $250k; without any sense of job security, you go in each day and go to bed each night wondering if you'll have a job tomorrow.

That's no way to live. Fuck that place.

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