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(NPR)   The future of nuclear power is in a series of miniature reactors that are just so cute you'll want to cuddle with them   (npr.org) divider line 233
    More: Strange, nuclear reactors, reactor cores, office park  
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16652 clicks; posted to Main » on 04 Feb 2013 at 1:08 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-04 01:38:34 PM  

GameSprocket: Knew it all along.


This was supposed to have a picture. New editor fooled me.

hubcap.clemson.edu
 
2013-02-04 01:38:41 PM  

liam76: Dinjiin: Nobody wants to see high-voltage transmission lines go up yet they don't want to pay to have them installed underground,

What is the benefit of puttingt hem underground?



Not having to listen to nutcases who claim to be sensitive to magnetic fields, and claim that they cause cancer, rickets, and gingivitis.
 
2013-02-04 01:39:57 PM  
I still think that traveling wave reactors are the best idea out there for a global solution.
 
2013-02-04 01:40:13 PM  
And remember, unlike the last 57 times, this time, nuclear energy really will be clean, cheap and safe.
 
2013-02-04 01:40:20 PM  

liam76: What is the benefit of puttingt hem underground?


The benefit of installing transmissions lines underground?  Umm, they don't ruin your view...

retasite.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-02-04 01:40:39 PM  

liam76: Dinjiin: Nobody wants to see high-voltage transmission lines go up yet they don't want to pay to have them installed underground,

What is the benefit of puttingt hem underground?


Downed lines from wind, drunks and ice? Logistics of poles, easement for clearance, and maintenance? Just plain not having to see them?
 
2013-02-04 01:40:43 PM  
Came for the Fallout references...

yadda yadda yadda
 
2013-02-04 01:41:01 PM  
Article doesn't specify fuel type.  I will reserve judgement until I find this out.
 
2013-02-04 01:41:51 PM  
GOOD

Also make the nuclear industry accept for modern technology. These knuckleheads still rely on orifice plates for flow metering.
 
2013-02-04 01:42:04 PM  
Mr. Fusion?
 
2013-02-04 01:43:09 PM  
Whole bunch of swabbos/squiddos who've been paddling water for a long time within spitting distance of small reactors (not this particular design) who've only had their tags take a hit when wearing them out when spending a sunny day  on the beach.

We spent twenty billion perfecting a passive safety/recycling system Integral Fast Reactor and then said fark it (actually cut the cooling/elec and then went to lunch):

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/reaction/interviews/ti ll .html
 
2013-02-04 01:46:00 PM  

SkunkWerks: A Shambling Mound: Point proven.

Really?  I'm actually one of the folks here who would normally weight in against alarmist notions about nuclear power.  In fact, I firmly believe it's the way forward, and still do.

That said, when you alter one of the fundamental properties of nuclear power plants, and dramatically so- in this case, their size- there are certain logistics considerations that should probably be carefully examined at that point.

And it's entirely possible they're being examined, I admit.

It's just that, well, my faith in humanity is a rather dim sort of faith, and with folks all up and gushing about how "neat" this is, it's not exactly uncommon for such glaring issues to be glossed over, or else, entirely ignored.


Those are all fair statements. The comment of yours that I quoted did not indicate any of that so I hope you can understand how it looked from my end.

For my part I figure it's a pretty safe assumption that before anything like this starts getting dropped all over the place someone will have figured out how to make them impossible to run off with. That assumption doesn't even consider that trying to heist materials from existing power stations is a potentially fatal business on a good day. In the craziest world I couldn't imagine a miniature reactor just sitting exposed on a pad with a bunch of easy-to-access and safe to handle disconnects, waiting for someone to come along and load it up on a truck.
 
2013-02-04 01:46:05 PM  

give me doughnuts: Not having to listen to nutcases who claim to be sensitive to magnetic fields, and claim that they cause cancer, rickets, and gingivitis.


Agreed.  If non-ionizing magnetic fields caused cancer, we would have a century's worth of data showing cancer clusters around clear-channel AM radio transmitters.  Yet we don't.

Besides the out-of-sight, out-of-paranoid-mind benefit and not having to look at them, it might be beneficial to bury them in northern latitudes if it helped avoid complications from solar flares / magnetic storms.
 
2013-02-04 01:47:23 PM  
Yeah, I hear those Naquadah reactors are man-portable.
 
2013-02-04 01:48:12 PM  

Voiceofreason01: Seems like a big safety and security risk.


From what I've read, the failsafes on these small nuclear reactors are quite thorough.

From Pop Sci 2009:

" As in modern reactors, the containment shell acts as a heat exchanger, Reyes explains. The water closest to the core is vented into the outer shell as steam, where it condenses and drips into the cooling pool, which is recirculated to cool the core. The whole unit sits below grade, without telltale cooling towers. The reactor doesn't use pumps to circulate the water if the unit overheats, which means it needs no external power to cool down. That's a "passive safety" feature that protects the unit from electrical sabotage.

The new unit can be manufactured cheaply, with standard turbines from General Electric, for example, rather than custom-made parts. Because the steel reactor vessel is only 9 ft. in diameter, it can be made entirely in the U.S., rather than relying on Japan Steel Works, the only manufacturer who can cast today's one-piece, 25-ft.-plus reactor vessels.

Each 45-megawatt electrical unit would generate enough power for about 45,000 homes. By comparison, plants operated today generate 1000 to 1700 megawatts, according to NRC spokesman Scott Burnell. "You can't take an AP1000, a large base-load reactor, and put it down where there's no grid to support it. A smaller design could be useful in a remote setting."


I've been checking this stuff out for a long time. The community I live in could use one of these. We have a big nuclear power plant within ten miles, but we get no power from it. We get mucho tax and other benefits- but a small reactor right in the middle of our neighborhood would be just as safe and secure as the big guy down the street.
 
2013-02-04 01:49:04 PM  

McPoonDanlcrat: Article doesn't specify fuel type.  I will reserve judgement until I find this out.


Think it's safe to assume it's uranium oxide pellets in fuel rods, as is normal for PWRs.
 
2013-02-04 01:49:30 PM  
Heard this story on the radio this morning, and was disturbed by the total absence of information about the technology.  Was it Thorium-based?  Was it a pellet reactor?  Is it a new technology with safety advantages over traditional methods?

Sadly, my first thought was:  this is NPR, so they're not going to mention any of that stuff---they're out to scare their hippie demographic, so they'll just describe this as a customary nuclear reactor only smaller.   And double-sadly, I was right.
 
2013-02-04 01:49:39 PM  
This is how we go extinct.

No insurance company will pick up the risk.

No company can afford the risk.

This means enjoy large parts of America uninhabitable when these fail.

Enjoy your cancer.
 
2013-02-04 01:49:50 PM  
Where does the spent fuel go?

www.personal.psu.edu
 
2013-02-04 01:51:04 PM  
Anyone's that has been around a two year-old knows that the biggest meltdowns can come in very small packages.
 
2013-02-04 01:52:31 PM  
Didn't the original Batman car on the television series run on a small reactor?
 
2013-02-04 01:52:55 PM  
I hear that in the future you can buy plutonium at every corner drug store.


/1.21...
 
2013-02-04 01:53:52 PM  
members.chello.cz

Mr Fusion?
 
2013-02-04 01:55:55 PM  

give me doughnuts: liam76: Dinjiin: Nobody wants to see high-voltage transmission lines go up yet they don't want to pay to have them installed underground,

What is the benefit of puttingt hem underground?


Not having to listen to nutcases who claim to be sensitive to magnetic fields, and claim that they cause cancer, rickets, and gingivitis.


I don't think burying them would help with those complaints.


ElLoco: liam76: Dinjiin: Nobody wants to see high-voltage transmission lines go up yet they don't want to pay to have them installed underground,

What is the benefit of puttingt hem underground?

Downed lines from wind, drunks and ice? Logistics of poles, easement for clearance, and maintenance? Just plain not having to see them?


I think those would actually be worse.

As far as downing them, I was under the impression that they were not bothered that much by wind, drunks and ice.

Dinjiin: Umm, they don't ruin your view


My bad, didn't take your "see" literally.

I never thought they were much of an eyesore.
 
2013-02-04 01:57:02 PM  

Mouser: <i>"It's a developing country that doesn't have a substantial electrical grid that is precisely the kind of country I would not want to see have any kind of nuclear power plant," he says.</i>

Because burning the local forests for fuel or relying on the warlord's oil fields is so much better for people in developing countries.

I suppose the one saving grace about Western environmentalists hating humanity is that they want the impoverished foreigners to die off first.


Yes, that's right, we hate humanity.
Specifically, you.
 
2013-02-04 01:57:06 PM  

Stranded On The Planet Dumbass: Where does the spent fuel go?

[www.personal.psu.edu image 630x494]


Personally I'd rather have it in drums than in my lungs.
 
2013-02-04 01:57:20 PM  

Xcott: Heard this story on the radio this morning, and was disturbed by the total absence of information about the technology.  Was it Thorium-based?  Was it a pellet reactor?  Is it a new technology with safety advantages over traditional methods?

Sadly, my first thought was:  this is NPR, so they're not going to mention any of that stuff---they're out to scare their hippie demographic, so they'll just describe this as a customary nuclear reactor only smaller.   And double-sadly, I was right.


Or maybe they know most peopel listening won't get the difference...
 
2013-02-04 01:58:39 PM  

Stranded On The Planet Dumbass: Where does the spent fuel go?


The fuel for some of the models come from used rods from larger plants.
 
2013-02-04 01:59:21 PM  
Adorable!  But whose going to pick up the waste?
 
2013-02-04 02:01:48 PM  
3.bp.blogspot.com
Yippie Ky Ya, Mini Sirloin burgers......
 
2013-02-04 02:05:57 PM  

Tax Boy: [members.chello.cz image 500x317]

Mr Fusion?


Honestly, that's about all Miller High Life is good for.
 
2013-02-04 02:06:52 PM  
The future of nuclear power should be limited to a footnote in the history books.

Teachers:
"Look kids, here's an industry that told the public that it would be clean, so cheap that meters wouldn't be necessary & completely safe."

Kids: "What a bunch of idiots."
 
2013-02-04 02:10:19 PM  

Pick: These are really cool. You could have one at each power sub-station. That way, you could have a really neat  grid of independent power sources. Someone is finally making sense.


If'n they'd spend the time developing roof-tile solar panels that were affordable, The power situation would be solved. They are real close to the 'break-even' point in my budget right now as it is.

/just a touch more affordability...
//or, subsidies
///And I'm in Washington State
 
2013-02-04 02:12:22 PM  

Mikeyworld: Pick: These are really cool. You could have one at each power sub-station. That way, you could have a really neat  grid of independent power sources. Someone is finally making sense.

If'n they'd spend the time developing roof-tile solar panels that were affordable, The power situation would be solved. They are real close to the 'break-even' point in my budget right now as it is.

/just a touch more affordability...
//or, subsidies
///And I'm in Washington State


The subsidies for renewables in WA State are some of the highest in the world. Rooftop solar panels have about a 6 year ROI.
 
2013-02-04 02:13:12 PM  

Jument: Stranded On The Planet Dumbass: Where does the spent fuel go?

[www.personal.psu.edu image 630x494]

Personally I'd rather have it in drums than in my lungs.


I'm pretty sure we can dig deep, make the storage facility have really thick walls with multiple passive containment layers and large enough so that we can store several hundred years worth of waste.  There must be a talent pool of civil engineers large enough in this country to be able to figure it out.  I seem to recall there aren't as many civil engineering projects now as there was a few years ago.  It can't be that hard to find the engineers needed to figure out the details.

Not only that but I do believe that there are a few people out there with construction experience who aren't currently working.  I bet we could get a few of them together to put the whole thing together.  I know, it's crazy but it just might be possible.

I'd rather have it underground than in my lungs.
 
2013-02-04 02:13:14 PM  

Dinjiin: liam76: What is the benefit of puttingt hem underground?

The benefit of installing transmissions lines underground?  Umm, they don't ruin your view...

[retasite.files.wordpress.com image 850x637]


When this story about TCE ground water contamination:   http://citizensvoice.com/news/report-contaminated-groundwater-no-thre a t-to-mountain-top-residents-1.955951 was big news in my area, my Dad (who worked for PPL, now retired) said to me: "you know that TCE shiat? Back in the '70's, when we were running underground wiring, we'd dump that shiat into the conduits by the drum loads to act as a lubricant. Whole tractor trailer loads of it. I figured the stuff was bad news when the guys handling it had to wear respirators."

So while you're enjoying your view, you might want to avoid drinking the water.
 
2013-02-04 02:16:22 PM  

MrSteve007: The future of nuclear power should be limited to a footnote in the history books.

Teachers:
"Look kids, here's an industry that told the public that it would be clean, so cheap that meters wouldn't be necessary & completely safe."

Kids: "What a bunch of idiots."


Coal's worse. Because coal puts out *just* as much nuclear waste as nuke power (Yes, really. Coal's got radioactive crap trapped in it), but it puts it out *INTO THE AIR*.

And until we get some room temperature superconductors, *something's* gonna be needed for baseline loads. Solar currently isn't able to do that.

Some of the next gen reactor designs are pretty damn sweet, to the point of using spent fuel from traditional reactors *as fuel*, ending with waste that isn't much more radioactive than the stuff they hauled up from the ground in the first place.

(And some are thorium based, and there's enough thorium to use as fuel to, well... that would solve a lot of energy needs for a very, very long time.)

/Not anti-renewable. But also a physicist, and in favor of a hybrid system for our current needs.

Mikeyworld: If'n they'd spend the time developing roof-tile solar panels that were affordable, The power situation would be solved. They are real close to the 'break-even' point in my budget right now as it is.


Solar's awesome, especially for variable loads, but something is needed to provide a baseline load.

/Though there are some neat avenues at storing the energy from solar for use at night-I seem to recall reading something using liquid salt.
//And solar's growing pretty fast, which is awesome.
 
2013-02-04 02:16:29 PM  
 www.reallifecomics.com
 
2013-02-04 02:19:05 PM  

Stranded On The Planet Dumbass: Where does the spent fuel go?

[www.personal.psu.edu image 630x494]


Jesus Hot sauce./ Root Boy Slim.
 
2013-02-04 02:19:37 PM  

Mikeyworld: Pick: These are really cool. You could have one at each power sub-station. That way, you could have a really neat  grid of independent power sources. Someone is finally making sense.

If'n they'd spend the time developing roof-tile solar panels that were affordable, The power situation would be solved. They are real close to the 'break-even' point in my budget right now as it is.

/just a touch more affordability...
//or, subsidies
///And I'm in Washington State


In the Midwest, ice storms and hail storms make them too vulnerable, especially when insurance companies will replace part costs, but not the man hours required to repair, which can be the costliest portion of the bill. However, a few companies are working on solar paint and window glass coverings that may be easy enough for people to maintain on their own. I think that will be the point where solar will really take off.
 
2013-02-04 02:21:29 PM  
I was expecting something along the size that could be made to look like a Furby.
Furbys are cuddly!
These don't look like they would be cudly at all.

Leaving. Disapointed.
 
2013-02-04 02:21:44 PM  

Felgraf: Coal's worse. Because coal puts out *just* as much nuclear waste as nuke power (Yes, really. Coal's got radioactive crap trapped in it), but it puts it out *INTO THE AIR*.



What's the half-life on that coal, Doctor? Is it dangerous to have coal lying around, exposed to the air?

/shills, as far as the eye can see......
 
2013-02-04 02:22:10 PM  

A Shambling Mound: For my part I figure it's a pretty safe assumption that before anything like this starts getting dropped all over the place someone will have figured out how to make them impossible to run off with.


You'd think that the indicators of any safety system would report on the condition of the system's actual physical components rather than whether or not you pushed a button to place one of those components in a certain state.

You'd think.

Three Mile Island suggests strongly otherwise.


Again, I'm very careful about what I consider to be "pretty safe assumptions", even where they concern people which are demonstrably quite intelligent.

Mind you- once again- I don't feel this is reason enough to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but horrifyingly negligent approaches to stuff like this are commonplace enough to be a worthy cause for alarm.  Where it concerns things like this, honestly I don't see how it's possible to have enough due diligence.


I recall reading an article not long ago (within the past year, in fact) which stated that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was solving the problem of reactor facilities being in unacceptable states of disrepair...

...by relaxing regulation.


Believe me, I want to get behind nuclear power.  Fission might not be perfect, but at the moment it's our best stepping stone to something better.  On the other hand, I'd also love to see these matters taken as seriously as, well, you'd think matters like this would warrant.
 
2013-02-04 02:22:45 PM  

Stranded On The Planet Dumbass: Where does the spent fuel go?

[www.personal.psu.edu image 630x494]


Transuranics from weapons and research are being sent to WIPP.  But since these reactors don't produce the same sort of waste, you should probably find a more relevant picture.
 
2013-02-04 02:24:22 PM  
Why it will be too cheap to meter! The 'lectrical company will come to your home and pull that old 'lectrical meter right off the side of your house!

That was the promise Com Ed made to use kids back in the 60's. Of course, being a kid, you didn't really care about power meters but ringing Chicago with nuclear reactors sounded like a great idea.
 
2013-02-04 02:25:23 PM  
Paging Martin Prince!  Time for your demo!
 
2013-02-04 02:28:48 PM  
Family atomics?
www.badmovies.org
 
2013-02-04 02:28:54 PM  

Felgraf: Coal's worse. Because coal puts out *just* as much nuclear waste as nuke power (Yes, really. Coal's got radioactive crap trapped in it), but it puts it out *INTO THE AIR*.


True and false.

True: today's coal's emissions release more radiation *into the environment* than nuclear power.

However nuclear power generates far more intensely radioactive and long-lasting materials than coal - it's just that it's currently kept in a contained environment. Who knows how well that containment will last in the next 100 or 1,000+ years. The USA currently has about 70,000 tons of high level waste, and no way to really deal with it, other than buying it.

"The Department of Energy's 2012 Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future reported that "no currently available or reasonably foreseeable reactor and fuel cycle technology developments - including advances in reprocessing and recycling technologies - have the potential to fundamentally alter the waste management challenges the nation confronts over at least the next several decades, if not longer." link

AKA: all forms nuclear technology and waste will still be farking us for at least the foreseeable future. Reprocessing that much waste is a dream.
 
2013-02-04 02:30:21 PM  
"We are trying to jump-start a new U.S. industry," he says. "That's my goal: a U.S. industry, U.S. jobs, clean energy."


Can nukaler power really be referred to as clean energy?
 
2013-02-04 02:30:28 PM  

Rich Cream: What's the half-life on that coal, Doctor? Is it dangerous to have coal lying around, exposed to the air?

/shills, as far as the eye can see......


... I'm talking about the radioactive particles (and things like, well, mercury) *in* the coal. Not "Coal has a half life", because coal isn't a #@%ing element. The burning of which kind of releases them into the atmosphere.

Are you suggesting that burning coal does not, in fact, put radioactive particles into the atmosphere?

Because here's an article in Scientific American discussing it. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=coal-ash-is-more-rad i oactive-than-nuclear-waste

/I'll try to dig up some of the relevant papers, but it may take a bit.
//And no, not a shill.
///Physics grad student. In a field unrelated to nuclear power whatsoever.
 
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