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(Some Guy)   "It's only nuclear waste if you don't use it"   (bravenewclimate.com) divider line 72
    More: Cool, nuclear waste, solar energies, liver cancer, disasters, radius, technical term, isotopes, Three Mile Island  
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3403 clicks; posted to Geek » on 08 Aug 2013 at 10:07 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



72 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-08-08 09:24:01 AM
I have ALWAYS wondered why nuclear waste even existed.  Got to be a lot of energy to be harnessed in that stuff, guess it's a bit more complicated than that.
 
2013-08-08 09:32:26 AM
Jimmy "Afraid of a rabbit" Carter signed an executive order banning nuclear fuel reprocessing which is necessary for fast breeder reactor operation.  Basically most of Uranium is U-238 which absorbs a fast neutron to U-239 then decays to Plutonium 239.  Reprocessing the fuel separates out the Plutonium which can then be used as slow-neutron fuel.  But because that turns fuel-reprocessing into a turrist target, Carter hoped to lead by example.  He failed.

Fusion is still struggling to produce as much net energy as lighting a stick of wood.  Thorium reactors sound promising, but a promise isn't reality.  Fast breeder reactors are a proven technology that can produce all the energy we'll need for the forseeable future.
 
2013-08-08 10:00:40 AM
I didn't read the article but its inherent logic has convinced me to take up Pooh Sculpting.
 
2013-08-08 10:02:36 AM

brap: I didn't read the article but its inherent logic has convinced me to take up Pooh Sculpting.


You should try Tigger sculpting instead.
 
2013-08-08 10:19:25 AM

nekom: I have ALWAYS wondered why nuclear waste even existed.  Got to be a lot of energy to be harnessed in that stuff, guess it's a bit more complicated than that.


This is a political problem, not a technical one. Nuclear fuel is capable of being 99% efficient.  You can't produce weapons as a byproduct though.
 
2013-08-08 10:24:35 AM
AngryDragon:
This is a political problem, not a technical one. Nuclear fuel is capable of being 99% efficient.  You can't produce weapons as a byproduct though.

Are you talking about thorium reactors?  I read an interesting piece about them not too long ago, can't be used for weapons but supposedly a lot safer.  Couldn't like ONE reactor produce enough to maintain our current nuclear arsenal anyway?
 
2013-08-08 10:28:24 AM
The author lost me when he claimed that solar panels are worse than nuclear.  He seems to be arguing that the space requirements would turn vast areas of the planet into solar deserts, where nothing could exist but solar panels, which is nonsense.  He also conveniently forgets we have these huge sprawling cities that we can put solar panels on top of.
 
2013-08-08 10:28:34 AM

UberDave: brap: I didn't read the article but its inherent logic has convinced me to take up Pooh Sculpting.

You should try Tigger sculpting instead.


But the wonderful thing about Tiggers is that he's the only one.  When you really think about it, multiple Tiggers would ruin that magic.
 
2013-08-08 10:33:17 AM

nekom: AngryDragon:
This is a political problem, not a technical one. Nuclear fuel is capable of being 99% efficient.  You can't produce weapons as a byproduct though.

Are you talking about thorium reactors?  I read an interesting piece about them not too long ago, can't be used for weapons but supposedly a lot safer.  Couldn't like ONE reactor produce enough to maintain our current nuclear arsenal anyway?


syrnyxx covered it better than I did.

But yes.  Thorium, fast-breeders, and "pebble-bed" technologies can improve safety, efficiency, or all but eliminate waste.  These aren't technical problems, almost all of this technology is available right now to some degree.  Because of FUD it is prohibitive to research, design, and implement an effective hybrid solution that takes the best of all worlds and delivers.

Essentially we don't have a nuclear waste problem because we have to, we have one because we choose to.  We choose to because a segment of the population is afraid of nuclear technology and is actively seeking to put the genie back in the bottle.
 
2013-08-08 10:39:43 AM
nekom:

Are you talking about thorium reactors?  I read an interesting piece about them not too long ago, can't be used for weapons but supposedly a lot safer.  Couldn't like ONE reactor produce enough to maintain our current nuclear arsenal anyway?

That depends on what you mean by "maintain".  They weapons already have what they need with respect to heavy metals.  And if you are going to replace them, it's easier to just use existing weapons grade materials than sift them out of spent fuel.
 
2013-08-08 10:40:28 AM
You can see that experts judged nuclear power as safer than commercial air travel ... with much the same risk as food colouring.

Ah, yes. The "what's in it for me" basis for judging the impact of a technology. As long as the odds are low that I'll be burned alive in a nuclear holocaust, then who cares about long-term exposure and other lovely things that generations will suffer through.

After all, "In the long run, all of us are dead."

/you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.
 
2013-08-08 10:44:31 AM

chopit: The author lost me when he claimed that solar panels are worse than nuclear.


It's really a shame his points about Fast Neutron Reactors are buried under such pro-nuclear derp.

I particularly liked how he said Fast Neutron Reactors are great because they get rid of nuclear waste, then turns around and says there are already lots of excellent ways to get rid of nuclear waste and nuclear waste isn't even a problem. So, i guess they aren't that great? Or what?
 
2013-08-08 10:47:01 AM

AngryDragon: We choose to because a segment of the population is afraid of nuclear technology and is actively seeking to put the genie back in the bottle


They all aren't afraid for the same reason.

Big oil/coal is afraind of what it will do to profits.
 
2013-08-08 10:48:57 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: Ah, yes. The "what's in it for me" basis for judging the impact of a technology. As long as the odds are low that I'll be burned alive in a nuclear holocaust, then who cares about long-term exposure and other lovely things that generations will suffer through.


Ah, yes: fear-driven decision making. Never mind that even the worst nuclear power plant disasters in history have not produced -and, in fact, are incapable of producing- a "nuclear holocaust" of the sort you describe. Never mind that coal power plants produce considerably more radiation in the surrounding area than nuclear power plants do. You're just scared of the rads.
 
2013-08-08 10:49:57 AM

liam76: They all aren't afraid for the same reason.


Actually, they pretty much are all afraid for the same reason: rads are scary.
 
2013-08-08 10:50:54 AM

Millennium: Actually, they pretty much are all afraid for the same reason: rads are scary.


Not quite ready for an FEV bath, are you?
 
2013-08-08 10:51:49 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: You can see that experts judged nuclear power as safer than commercial air travel ... with much the same risk as food colouring.

Ah, yes. The "what's in it for me" basis for judging the impact of a technology. As long as the odds are low that I'll be burned alive in a nuclear holocaust, then who cares about long-term exposure and other lovely things that generations will suffer through.

After all, "In the long run, all of us are dead."

/you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.


So we shouldn't use nuclear power for generating electricity because depleted uranium when fired from the main gun of a tank is harmful?  Should we also should stop building things out of steel since steel core bullets sometimes kill children?  I love the logic of anti-nuke people.

"we shouldn't build nuclear reactors because we aren't 100% sure of how to dispose of the byproducts."

That seems like good logic on the face of it except when you figure in that the only other major generation options available deal with their harmful (and yes radioactive) waste in the following method:

www.coal-is-dirty.com
 
2013-08-08 10:54:01 AM

Millennium: liam76: They all aren't afraid for the same reason.

Actually, they pretty much are all afraid for the same reason: rads are scary.


Fallout joke, or don't think coal/oil have a vested interest in keeping nuclear power out of the market?
 
2013-08-08 10:59:06 AM
Fascinating that people think I support Big Coal, Big Oil or Big Nuke...

i.chzbgr.com
 
2013-08-08 10:59:55 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: You can see that experts judged nuclear power as safer than commercial air travel ... with much the same risk as food colouring.

Ah, yes. The "what's in it for me" basis for judging the impact of a technology. As long as the odds are low that I'll be burned alive in a nuclear holocaust, then who cares about long-term exposure and other lovely things that generations will suffer through.

After all, "In the long run, all of us are dead."

/you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.



Yes, and there is more a danger from the chemical properties of the heavy metal than there is the radiation.  The DoD does U238 bioassays on anyone who personally thinks it is necessary.

No matter, the comparison is not really valid as spent fuel isn't taken and smashed into anything that would disperse it into the environment.  Waste handling from power plants and fabrication facilities is so safe it would blow your mind...overkill comes to mind.  And the exposure suffered by radiation workers is ridiculously low (higher than the normal person but not at all harmful).
 
2013-08-08 11:13:11 AM

UberDave: TheShavingofOccam123: You can see that experts judged nuclear power as safer than commercial air travel ... with much the same risk as food colouring.

Ah, yes. The "what's in it for me" basis for judging the impact of a technology. As long as the odds are low that I'll be burned alive in a nuclear holocaust, then who cares about long-term exposure and other lovely things that generations will suffer through.

After all, "In the long run, all of us are dead."

/you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.


Yes, and there is more a danger from the chemical properties of the heavy metal than there is the radiation.  The DoD does U238 bioassays on anyone who personally thinks it is necessary.

No matter, the comparison is not really valid as spent fuel isn't taken and smashed into anything that would disperse it into the environment.  Waste handling from power plants and fabrication facilities is so safe it would blow your mind...overkill comes to mind.  And the exposure suffered by radiation workers is ridiculously low (higher than the normal person but not at all harmful).


Check out a US military manual on how to hand depleted uranium munitions. Those rounds tend to ignite and burn off their nuclear materials. It's what they are designed to do.
 
2013-08-08 11:15:24 AM

syrynxx: Jimmy "Afraid of a rabbit" Carter signed an executive order banning nuclear fuel reprocessing which is necessary for fast breeder reactor operation.  Basically most of Uranium is U-238 which absorbs a fast neutron to U-239 then decays to Plutonium 239.  Reprocessing the fuel separates out the Plutonium which can then be used as slow-neutron fuel.  But because that turns fuel-reprocessing into a turrist target, Carter hoped to lead by example.  He failed.

Fusion is still struggling to produce as much net energy as lighting a stick of wood.  Thorium reactors sound promising, but a promise isn't reality.  Fast breeder reactors are a proven technology that can produce all the energy we'll need for the forseeable future.


It has been over 35 years since then. Any pro-nuclear president since then could have signed a new executive order legalizing nuclear reprocessing, and in fact Reagen rescinded the order in 1981.
 
2013-08-08 11:23:10 AM

nekom: I have ALWAYS wondered why nuclear waste even existed.  Got to be a lot of energy to be harnessed in that stuff, guess it's a bit more complicated than that.


#1 reason - cost. It was cheaper to dig up new uranium than to reprocess the used stuff, and there was lots of room in the storage yard out back. Thankfully there are some exceptions, such as a recent project in China demonstrating re-use of "spent" light-water reactor fuel in a CANDU heavy-water-moderated reactor. They are actually mixing in some depleted uranium so that the enrichment level of the "spent" fuel is closer to that of natural uranium.

Incidentally the CANDU design can also burn thorium fuel without using a "molten salt" cycle. You need to start with some fissile uranium fuel rods, but then the thorium absorbs neutrons and breeds in place to U-233 (just as a fraction of the U-238 in its normal fuel is converted to plutonium).
 
2013-08-08 11:30:31 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: Check out a US military manual on how to hand depleted uranium munitions. Those rounds tend to ignite and burn off their nuclear materials. It's what they are designed to do.


You're talking to an ex-munitions/nuclear weapon maintenance technician who writes and designs radiation exposure management software.  And I don't know what the operation of a DU round has to do with anything.  If you are near it, you probably have a u238 intake.  And I still don't get the relevancy to spent fuel and other rad waste from commercial plants.  Are you saying there is the potential for U238 from spent fuel to powderize and ignite?
 
2013-08-08 11:37:03 AM

liam76: Millennium: liam76: They all aren't afraid for the same reason.

Actually, they pretty much are all afraid for the same reason: rads are scary.

Fallout joke, or don't think coal/oil have a vested interest in keeping nuclear power out of the market?


Oh, I do think that coal/oil have some degree of interest in keeping nuclear power out of the market. But that covers only a very small number of people -in the low three digits, if even that- and they stay in the background. Their marketing is based, not on profit concerns, but on scary rads. That's how they convince people to fight for them, and it works well enough, but it pushes the people actually fighting for coal/oil profits into an insignificant minority. Then again, that suits them just fine.
 
2013-08-08 11:38:41 AM
Yeah... The Magical Reprocessing Fairy never poops.

Everyone knows you can just shovel waste from one existing reactor design into a reactor design that looks great on paper but has never actually been built as if it was coal clinkers.

It will automagically be the right geometry and composition for the new fuel rods, and you won't have to dissolve it in fluoric acid, refine it, re-create new pellets and deal with the millions of gallons of hot processing waste.

High level fuel waste is expensive to store,(for US taxpayers but not utilities) but it's the least of our problems. France has made it a matter of national pride that they've been reprocessing for 40 years.

How far have they gotten in 40 years? They sell the useful stuff to Japan and pay Russia to store millions of Kg of waste in a Siberian ghost town. They're also looking to build their own "Yucca Mountain" style high-level dump.
 
2013-08-08 11:43:01 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: /you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.


That is arguably, I would think, less "ZOMG RADIATION" and more the fact that uranium, still radioactive or not, IS A HEAVY METAL AND INCREDIBLY TOXIC. And I believe is more prone to powederizing?

So, that's... not.. really an argument against nuclear power. That's an argument again "hey! Let's take this INSANELY toxic heavy metal and make bullets out of it. Yeah, sure, some of the bullet turns to a fine dust when it's fired or impacts, but WHAT COULD GO WRONG?"

/Bullets made out of cadmium would probably ALSO be bad.
 
2013-08-08 11:44:10 AM
I thought Thorium reactors were the wave of the future. Whatever happened to those?
 
2013-08-08 11:46:26 AM

mainstreet62: I thought Thorium reactors were the wave of the future. Whatever happened to those?


That's what people are talking about in the thread, I think?

I think folks are still trying to get them built. We never built them in the states because they weren't capapble of making weapons-grade plutonium, and damnit, we need nukes.
 
2013-08-08 11:49:12 AM

TheShavingofOccam123: Check out a US military manual on how to hand depleted uranium munitions. Those rounds tend to ignite and burn off their nuclear materials. It's what they are designed to do.


Depleted uranium's radioactivity is so low that it can actually be used as radiation shielding, and it performs this task even better than lead.

This is not to say that it doesn't have its share of problems. It should, indeed, probably not be used in ammunition. One reason for this is that, as a heavy metal, it is poisonous in ways that have nothing to do with radiation: handling it is a lot like handling lead, and carries many of the same dangers. The other problem is that it's pyrophoric -it can catch fire in air- and this is what your DU-handling guides are referring to. The smoke and fumes from such fires are not especially radioactive: they are not "nuclear materials." But you still wouldn't want to inhale them, because it would be like inhaling smoke made of lead.

In other words, there are already enough sensible and rational reasons to avoid depleted uranium. We don't need to inflate the dangers because of scary rads.
 
2013-08-08 11:55:30 AM
Felgraf:

TheShavingofOccam123: /you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.

That is arguably, I would think, less "ZOMG RADIATION" and more the fact that uranium, still radioactive or not, IS A HEAVY METAL AND INCREDIBLY TOXIC. And I believe is more prone to powederizing?

So, that's... not.. really an argument against nuclear power. That's an argument again "hey! Let's take this INSANELY toxic heavy metal and make bullets out of it. Yeah, sure, some of the bullet turns to a fine dust when it's fired or impacts, but WHAT COULD GO WRONG?"

/Bullets made out of cadmium would probably ALSO be bad.


DU isn't radioactive. That's the "depleted" part of Depleted Uranium. It's uniquely suited for armor piercing rounds because:

A) It's got the kinetic kick of lead

B) it's "self-sharpening," a properly cast round will spall off it's outer layers and remain sharp like a pencil in a sharpener when it hits armor. Lead just pancakes.

C) it is "pyrophoric" meaning that the monatomically fine cloud of uranium powder created by the self-sharpening will flash into flame in the presence of oxygen and the heat of passing through armor. Even if the bullet misses the guy driving the tank, the fireball will get him anyway.

There's nothing else like it, and it's cheap... There's very little commercial use for it other than AP rounds and ballast on airplanes and ships.

The downsides:

DU is a heavy metal with the same flipper-baby and retardation potential as lead. Unlike lead, DU creates a big cloud of fine powder that blows around and gets into food, water, and the lungs of everyone including the people who fired the round. It doesn't go away with time, it just disperses further and further.
 
2013-08-08 11:57:35 AM

maxheck: Felgraf:

TheShavingofOccam123: /you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.

That is arguably, I would think, less "ZOMG RADIATION" and more the fact that uranium, still radioactive or not, IS A HEAVY METAL AND INCREDIBLY TOXIC. And I believe is more prone to powederizing?

So, that's... not.. really an argument against nuclear power. That's an argument again "hey! Let's take this INSANELY toxic heavy metal and make bullets out of it. Yeah, sure, some of the bullet turns to a fine dust when it's fired or impacts, but WHAT COULD GO WRONG?"

/Bullets made out of cadmium would probably ALSO be bad.

DU isn't radioactive. That's the "depleted" part of Depleted Uranium. It's uniquely suited for armor piercing rounds because:

A) It's got the kinetic kick of lead

B) it's "self-sharpening," a properly cast round will spall off it's outer layers and remain sharp like a pencil in a sharpener when it hits armor. Lead just pancakes.

C) it is "pyrophoric" meaning that the monatomically fine cloud of uranium powder created by the self-sharpening will flash into flame in the presence of oxygen and the heat of passing through armor. Even if the bullet misses the guy driving the tank, the fireball will get him anyway.

There's nothing else like it, and it's cheap... There's very little commercial use for it other than AP rounds and ballast on airplanes and ships.

The downsides:

DU is a heavy metal with the same flipper-baby and retardation potential as lead. Unlike lead, DU creates a big cloud of fine powder that blows around and gets into food, water, and the lungs of everyone including the people who fired the round. It doesn't go away with time, it just disperses further and further.


Ah, I should not I have a really bad habit of, when I am not 100% sure of something (instead, say.. only 98% sure) I tend to couch in "I think" and 'I'm pretty sure'. Thank you for confirming what I was trying to get across, though-The issues coming from the use of DU do not arise, in any fashion, from radioactivity.
 
2013-08-08 12:00:55 PM

UberDave: TheShavingofOccam123: Check out a US military manual on how to hand depleted uranium munitions. Those rounds tend to ignite and burn off their nuclear materials. It's what they are designed to do.

You're talking to an ex-munitions/nuclear weapon maintenance technician who writes and designs radiation exposure management software.  And I don't know what the operation of a DU round has to do with anything.  If you are near it, you probably have a u238 intake.  And I still don't get the relevancy to spent fuel and other rad waste from commercial plants.  Are you saying there is the potential for U238 from spent fuel to powderize and ignite?


Then you are aware your industry takes enormous amounts of ore, strips out small amounts of useful materials. The damage of uranium mining to the environment is external to you. Like the uranium tailings that flooded into one of the most beautiful areas of the Grand Canyon. Nope, that damage is external to you.

Then your industry refines and enriches the materials. Injuries to workers and damage to the watershed and other parts of the environment are external to you.

Then you put the stuff into reactors. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima and all other countless releases of radiation--large and small-- and the damages (long term and short term) are external to your industry.

Then you store the spent materials or you find other uses for the spent materials. The exposure of and damage to US troops, innocents and the battlefield environments and the home environments (read soldiers who return home) to spent nuclear fuel that is still radioactive is external.

So I guess nuclear power is real safe. As long as I get to externalize all of the costs it inflicts on people and the planet.
 
2013-08-08 12:03:38 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: Then you store the spent materials or you find other uses for the spent materials. The exposure of and damage to US troops, innocents and the battlefield environments and the home environments (read soldiers who return home) to spent nuclear fuel that is still radioactive is external.


No. Again. This is not how DU works. DU has dangerous health effects. They do not arise from radiation. They arise from the fact that it is a heavy metal, and heavy metals are very, very toxic. It is not magical radiation. It is because it literally turns into poison dust.

Please actually try to understand what the fark you are talking about.
 
2013-08-08 12:05:41 PM

mainstreet62: I thought Thorium reactors were the wave of the future. Whatever happened to those?


The future hasn't happened yet.  It's still the present.
 
2013-08-08 12:07:19 PM

Millennium: Their marketing is based, not on profit concerns, but on scary rads. That's how they convince people to fight for them


There is no shadowy group convincing people to fight for them. Radiation does genetic damage, and people tend to like their genetics. It's really as simple as that. Not an economic or political issue. Radiation is truly pretty terrifying to millions of years of evolution, and our genetic lines. There is nothing we should protect more.

Genetics aren't some abstract unproven concept, and the effect radiation has on them is well known. But we've got all these 'experts' being willfully ignorant of all that in the name of profits and politics. Should be ashamed of yourselves.
 
2013-08-08 12:08:00 PM

mainstreet62: I thought Thorium reactors were the wave of the future. Whatever happened to those?


NUCLEAR!

schneide.files.wordpress.com
 
2013-08-08 12:10:01 PM
maxheck:

DU isn't radioactive. That's the "depleted" part of Depleted Uranium. It's uniquely suited for armor piercing rounds because:


It's a weak alpha emitter.  Sites that handle a lot of it, DOE, fabrication, will either perform bioassays for it or lapel monitor.  And the dose is always really low....as in, "that's nothing, let's put zero down."
 
2013-08-08 12:11:22 PM
DU has 60% radiation output of naturally occurring uranium
 
2013-08-08 12:14:46 PM
Dump it into space

Use it as weapons

images4.wikia.nocookie.net
 
2013-08-08 12:15:48 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: DU has 60% radiation output of naturally occurring uranium


And what is the radiation output of naturally occurring uranium?
 
2013-08-08 12:16:52 PM

J. Frank Parnell: There is no shadowy group convincing people to fight for them. Radiation does genetic damage, and people tend to like their genetics. It's really as simple as that.


No, the minimum bar for "as simple as that" also has to include a discussion of natural radioactivity such as potassium and carbon isotopes in the body itself, solar and cosmic radiation, radon gas, uranium (and its decay products) in coal-plant exhaust, etc.
 
2013-08-08 12:18:11 PM

Felgraf: TheShavingofOccam123: Then you store the spent materials or you find other uses for the spent materials. The exposure of and damage to US troops, innocents and the battlefield environments and the home environments (read soldiers who return home) to spent nuclear fuel that is still radioactive is external.

No. Again. This is not how DU works. DU has dangerous health effects. They do not arise from radiation. They arise from the fact that it is a heavy metal, and heavy metals are very, very toxic. It is not magical radiation. It is because it literally turns into poison dust.

Please actually try to understand what the fark you are talking about.


Give it up, man.  You can lead a man to knowledge, but you can't make him think.  You and a few others have done the first part, and the second clearly ain't gonna happen.
 
2013-08-08 12:19:47 PM

Felgraf: TheShavingofOccam123: Then you store the spent materials or you find other uses for the spent materials. The exposure of and damage to US troops, innocents and the battlefield environments and the home environments (read soldiers who return home) to spent nuclear fuel that is still radioactive is external.

No. Again. This is not how DU works. DU has dangerous health effects. They do not arise from radiation. They arise from the fact that it is a heavy metal, and heavy metals are very, very toxic. It is not magical radiation. It is because it literally turns into poison dust.

Please actually try to understand what the fark you are talking about.


I do understand that one of the uses the nuclear energy industry has found for dumping its wastes out of its hands in order to make nuclear energy safer is to provide the US military with DU.

DU is both toxic and radioactive. When used in munitions, it is is designed to burn. The resulting remnants of the munitions are easily suspended in air, water and soil. That material--both chemically toxic and radioactive--can be ingested by humans and other life and can also make its way into groundwater and soil used for growing crops.
 
2013-08-08 12:21:39 PM

Felgraf: TheShavingofOccam123: DU has 60% radiation output of naturally occurring uranium

And what is the radiation output of naturally occurring uranium?


according to the IAEA: The specific activity of the uranium alone in DU is 14.8 Bq per mg compared with 25.4 Bq per mg for natural uranium
 
2013-08-08 12:21:58 PM

Felgraf: And what is the radiation output of naturally occurring uranium?


100%
 
2013-08-08 12:23:03 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: DU has 60% radiation output of naturally occurring uranium


Actually I suppose I'll have to answer my own question, if I want an honest answer.

99.27% of all naturally ocurring uranium is U-238.

Do you know what U-238's halflife is? U-238's half-life is on the order of FOUR BILLION YEARS.

It's not that radioactive.

And, by your own admission, DU bullets are less radioactive*then that*.

It's still farkING DANGEROUS, because *it's a goddamn heavy metal*. In the same way cadmium is not something you should eat.
 
2013-08-08 12:24:15 PM

Felgraf: Do you know what U-238's halflife is? U-238's half-life is on the order of FOUR BILLION YEARS.
It's not that radioactive.


...but Avagadro's number is very very large.
 
2013-08-08 12:24:38 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: DU is both toxic and radioactive. When used in munitions, it is is designed to burn. The resulting remnants of the munitions are easily suspended in air, water and soil. That material--both chemically toxic and radioactive--can be ingested by humans and other life and can also make its way into groundwater and soil used for growing crops


I'm really confused as to why you think I'm say "YAY DU LET'S USE DU EVERYWHERE"

I'm saying you're playing up it's danger due to ZOMG IT'S RADIOACTIVITY, which is *not the main, or even a real, reason it is dangerous*.

God it's like trying to get vaccine advice from Jenny McCarthy.
 
2013-08-08 12:25:31 PM

Felgraf: TheShavingofOccam123: DU has 60% radiation output of naturally occurring uranium

And what is the radiation output of naturally occurring uranium?


Naturally occurring uranium is a weak alpha emitter. DU is an alpha, beta and gamma emitter.
 
2013-08-08 12:25:48 PM

wjllope: Felgraf: Do you know what U-238's halflife is? U-238's half-life is on the order of FOUR BILLION YEARS.
It's not that radioactive.

...but Avagadro's number is very very large.


Yes, but I am saying the main danger of DU is not it's radioactivity, and its radioactivity is not, really, the main reason it can cause birth defects etc. Those are, I suspect, more likel because it turns into an inhaleable powder that is a heavy metal. If you blew powdered Cadmium at people, you'd likely also get really, really scary results, *because it's goddamn poison*.
 
2013-08-08 12:28:28 PM

Felgraf: wjllope: Felgraf: Do you know what U-238's halflife is? U-238's half-life is on the order of FOUR BILLION YEARS.
It's not that radioactive.

...but Avagadro's number is very very large.

Yes, but I am saying the main danger of DU is not it's radioactivity, and its radioactivity is not, really, the main reason it can cause birth defects etc. Those are, I suspect, more likel because it turns into an inhaleable powder that is a heavy metal. If you blew powdered Cadmium at people, you'd likely also get really, really scary results, *because it's goddamn poison*.


And I'm agreeing with you that DU is toxic and dangerous. And I'm saying the nuclear power industry has a standard operating procedure of externalizing the costs of its wastes. One of which is the sale of DU to the military for use in munitions and armor.
 
2013-08-08 12:33:02 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: Naturally occurring uranium is a weak alpha emitter.


The transmutations down Unat's decay chain occur via alpha emission, but each alpha emission is to excited states in the progeny, which means there is actually a farkton of gamma's emitted. And as we're talking about few MeV alpha's here, which range out in ~cardboard, it's the gammas (and to some extent the betas) that are really the issue in terms of external dose. And DU has ~no progeny below U-234 and Th-231, so, fewer gamma sources effectively...
I've taken the gamma spectra from Unat and DU, and the former is quite a bit more interesting. Some strong high energy lines there. The Du spectrum was pretty boring, and much lower gamma energy on average... cheers
 
2013-08-08 12:47:37 PM

maxheck: Everyone knows you can just shovel waste from one existing reactor design into a reactor design that looks great on paper but has never actually been built as if it was coal clinkers.


Naturally, 3D printing and private space (Hail Musk) will save us. Anything is possible because computers got better and a scientist was wrong once.

Luddite.
 
2013-08-08 12:50:55 PM
UberDave:

maxheck:

DU isn't radioactive. That's the "depleted" part of Depleted Uranium. It's uniquely suited for armor piercing rounds because:


It's a weak alpha emitter. Sites that handle a lot of it, DOE, fabrication, will either perform bioassays for it or lapel monitor. And the dose is always really low....as in, "that's nothing, let's put zero down."


I stand corrected; it's radioactive, I should have said "effectively not radioactive." Cinder block and granite countertop levels of alpha radiation.
 
2013-08-08 12:53:50 PM
chopit:

The author lost me when he claimed that solar panels are worse than nuclear. He seems to be arguing that the space requirements would turn vast areas of the planet into solar deserts, where nothing could exist but solar panels, which is nonsense. He also conveniently forgets we have these huge sprawling cities that we can put solar panels on top of.

The guy must never have traveled by air... Every time I fly I marvel at the sheer acreage of warehouse roof visible from 1000' up around any airport.
 
2013-08-08 12:57:56 PM

J. Frank Parnell: Millennium: Their marketing is based, not on profit concerns, but on scary rads. That's how they convince people to fight for them

There is no shadowy group convincing people to fight for them.


Of course not. For the most part, they don't really have to. A few anonymous donations to rad-fearing quasi-environmentalist groups will do the job even more effectively, so why bother to get directly involved?

Radiation does genetic damage, and people tend to like their genetics. It's really as simple as that.

Looking at humans, our skin is an effective shield against alpha particles (then again, so, is paper). We don't do so well at shielding against beta or gamma radiation, but we have evolved effective resilience against radiation, effective against much greater doses than found in nature. That's not to say we're invincible, but so long as one's radiation dose is kept below certain thresholds, it is safe. We have made great and effective efforts to keep exposure below those thresholds: so low, in fact, that you pick up more from living next to a coal plant than you would living the same distance from a nuclear plant.

Not an economic or political issue. Radiation is truly pretty terrifying...

Which is, indeed, all there is. Just raw, primal, irrational fear: something that has no place in politics.

...to millions of years of evolution, and our genetic lines.

Lines which, over the course of those millions of years of evolution, developed resilience against this very thing.

There is nothing we should protect more.

Genetics aren't some abstract unproven concept, and the effect radiation has on them is well known.


The effect radiation has on genetics is, indeed, well understood. So well understood, in fact, that we understand its limits and boundaries.

Every two hours, people living on the Colorado plateau are exposed to more radiation, merely from living at that elevation, than people living near a nuclear power plant at sea level are exposed to in an entire year. Yet even the radiophobes do not fear for the people living there. Why not? Because we know that this level of exposure to radiation is safe.

But the thing is, that level utterly dwarfs the radiation one receives around a nuclear plant, or even a coal plant. Both are, in turn, dwarfed by the amount of radiation that people living at sea level, far from nuclear or coal plants, receive in a day. Why, then, fear nuclear? If you're going to fear it, fear it for a reason that makes sense. The radiation does not.

But we've got all these 'experts' being willfully ignorant of all that in the name of profits and politics.

The experts ignore nothing. It's the quasi-environmentalists who ignore the facts, and they have no better reason than raw, naked terror. Even the folks who act in the name of profits and politics have better reasons than that.

Should be ashamed of yourselves.

You should indeed.
 
2013-08-08 01:02:10 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: UberDave: TheShavingofOccam123: Check out a US military manual on how to hand depleted uranium munitions. Those rounds tend to ignite and burn off their nuclear materials. It's what they are designed to do.

You're talking to an ex-munitions/nuclear weapon maintenance technician who writes and designs radiation exposure management software.  And I don't know what the operation of a DU round has to do with anything.  If you are near it, you probably have a u238 intake.  And I still don't get the relevancy to spent fuel and other rad waste from commercial plants.  Are you saying there is the potential for U238 from spent fuel to powderize and ignite?

Then you are aware your industry takes enormous amounts of ore, strips out small amounts of useful materials. The damage of uranium mining to the environment is external to you. Like the uranium tailings that flooded into one of the most beautiful areas of the Grand Canyon. Nope, that damage is external to you. (snip)



Don't tell me what is external to me.  I would be willing to wager that I get out and enjoy the natural environment in this country to orders of magnitude more than you.  I probably see more pristine nature in a year than you have in the last 10.  So don't try to subtly give me that shiat that I don't care about the environment.  On the contrary.  I consider myself reasonably intelligent and based the massive amount of data that I literally have at my finger tips this very moment (decades of recorded radiation exposure for hundreds of thousands of individuals, effluent reports, air monitoring, environmental monitoring, etc.), if I thought that negligence was impacting the environment, I wouldn't trust nuclear power over coal or oil or gas.

The environmental impact of nuclear is much smaller than you make it out to be.  And when it is considered by anyone of authority, they certainly take into account ore mining and processing and so on.
 
2013-08-08 01:14:36 PM
Felgraf: It's still farkING DANGEROUS, because *it's a goddamn heavy metal*. In the same way cadmium is not something you should eat.

MMM Cadmium creme eggs

images.teamsugar.com

With a 609.93f molten core, yum.
 
2013-08-08 01:56:22 PM

lordargent: Dump it into space


Well, yes...

cosmic.lifeform.org

/hot like a failed Proton launch
 
2013-08-08 01:57:43 PM

UberDave: TheShavingofOccam123: UberDave: TheShavingofOccam123: Check out a US military manual on how to hand depleted uranium munitions. Those rounds tend to ignite and burn off their nuclear materials. It's what they are designed to do.

You're talking to an ex-munitions/nuclear weapon maintenance technician who writes and designs radiation exposure management software.  And I don't know what the operation of a DU round has to do with anything.  If you are near it, you probably have a u238 intake.  And I still don't get the relevancy to spent fuel and other rad waste from commercial plants.  Are you saying there is the potential for U238 from spent fuel to powderize and ignite?

Then you are aware your industry takes enormous amounts of ore, strips out small amounts of useful materials. The damage of uranium mining to the environment is external to you. Like the uranium tailings that flooded into one of the most beautiful areas of the Grand Canyon. Nope, that damage is external to you. (snip)


Don't tell me what is external to me.  I would be willing to wager that I get out and enjoy the natural environment in this country to orders of magnitude more than you.  I probably see more pristine nature in a year than you have in the last 10.  So don't try to subtly give me that shiat that I don't care about the environment.  On the contrary.  I consider myself reasonably intelligent and based the massive amount of data that I literally have at my finger tips this very moment (decades of recorded radiation exposure for hundreds of thousands of individuals, effluent reports, air monitoring, environmental monitoring, etc.), if I thought that negligence was impacting the environment, I wouldn't trust nuclear power over coal or oil or gas.

The environmental impact of nuclear is much smaller than you make it out to be.  And when it is considered by anyone of authority, they certainly take into account ore mining and processing and so on.


I'll go ahead and review:

I said:

you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.

You said:

No matter, the comparison is not really valid as spent fuel isn't taken and smashed into anything that would disperse it into the environment.

Which is a complete distortion about DU munitions. DU munitions do in fact disperse heavy metals and radioactivity into the environment.  That's what they are designed to due once they penetrate their hard target and start to burn.

So apparently all that data you have is skewed and you have no problem making statements that ignore the facts about how the nuclear energy industry is disposing of its waste materials through the Department of Defense.
 
2013-08-08 02:31:47 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: I'll go ahead and review:

I said:

you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.

You said:

No matter, the comparison is not really valid as spent fuel isn't taken and smashed into anything that would disperse it into the environment.

Which is a complete distortion about DU munitions. DU munitions do in fact disperse heavy metals and radioactivity into the environment. That's what they are designed to due once they penetrate their hard target and start to burn.

So apparently all that data you have is skewed and you have no problem making statements that ignore the facts about how the nuclear energy industry is disposing of its waste materials through the Department of Defense.


At the beginning of this thread people were talking about reprocessing fuel and nuclear power generation (the whole topic of the headline).  You jumped in with the DU comment which was quite irrelevant to that discussion.  It was quite a stretch to relate power generation with DU.  Why?  DU is a byproduct of enrichment...and it is used for several things as well as, yes, making DU munitions.  Picking one of the post enrichment applications of DU and saying that because of said application nuclear power is bad, is kind of ridiculous.

You want to say using it for weapons is bad - I may be right there with you.  I don't have the data on it and did not try to skew this fact no matter what you say - I listed what data I do have - which tells me that people who work in U238 breathing zones don't get shiat for dose (hint, those people are around it much more than battlefield soldiers <- that's an extremely important thing to note if you know anything about radiation effects).

Also, the DU munitions are not designed to "disperse heavy metals and radioactivity into the environment".  They are designed to penetrate heavy armor and inflict damage on what is past the armor.  Dispersing heavy metals and radioactivity is a result of their intended action.  I didn't deny this fact in the slightest, nor did I distort it.  "Distorting" is continuing to talk about the radio effects of DU as if it is a horrible problem even though multiple individuals in this thread, who have access to counting equipment and relevant data, have told you that DU poses no serious radioactivity risk.
 
2013-08-08 02:44:04 PM

Felgraf: mainstreet62: I thought Thorium reactors were the wave of the future. Whatever happened to those?

That's what people are talking about in the thread, I think?

I think folks are still trying to get them built. We never built them in the states because they weren't capapble of making weapons-grade plutonium, and damnit, we need nukes.


Somebody recently figured out how to make plutonium starting with thorium, so, now some of the motivation is gone.  But thorium is still a good idea, in part because it's abundant.
 
2013-08-08 03:05:29 PM
Those who use the words "big coal" are silly.  The people who use the most coal are power utilities.  They would  love to build nuclear plants.  Their problem is that no one wants to let them.  The really annoying thing is, they can't build new coal plants, either.  That means that utilities are building gas plants, which still produce CO2  (if you consider that a problem), and natural gas is much more expensive than coal.
 
2013-08-08 03:10:15 PM
Glow-in-the-dark tea for undesirables.
 
2013-08-08 04:54:30 PM

SomeTexan: Those who use the words "big coal" are silly.  The people who use the most coal are power utilities.  They would  love to build nuclear plants.  Their problem is that no one wants to let them.  The really annoying thing is, they can't build new coal plants, either.  That means that utilities are building gas plants, which still produce CO2  (if you consider that a problem), and natural gas is much more expensive than coal.


The dirty little secret is that most gas wells are really ethane wells with a little natural gas byproduct," Albert Passy, Principal Analyst at Norwegian oil company Statoil

I read a lot of news, that doesn't mean I know anything.
 
2013-08-08 05:44:28 PM

SomeTexan: The people who use the most coal are power utilities.  They would  love to build nuclear plants.


In general, no, they wouldn't.  The full-lifecycle economics of nuclear (i.e., not just generation) are not good relative to coal.

That means that utilities are building gas plants, which still produce CO2  (if you consider that a problem), and natural gas is much more expensive than coal.

Fracking is going to lead to a lot of cheap natural gas that will displace coal.  And natural gas is better than coal on the CO2 front too.  Utilities are right to build gas plants.
 
2013-08-08 06:34:38 PM

TheShavingofOccam123: /you can google and see what the use of depleted uranium in munitions is doing to Iraq and other battlefields and to the combatants (including Americans) and innocents.


You can build nuclear reactors without making ammunition out of depleted uranium.

If you put the depleted uranium back into the mines it came out of, it would be less radioactive than what was removed.
 
2013-08-08 06:42:23 PM
SomeTexan: Somebody recently figured out how to make plutonium starting with thorium, so, now some of the motivation is gone.  But thorium is still a good idea, in part because it's abundant.

There's an isotope of Plutonium it can generate somewhat easily generate other than 238, the one NASA needs for generating energy on things like the Mars rovers and other deep-space probes? If so, link to the article please?
 
2013-08-08 06:49:12 PM

neversubmit: The dirty little secret is that most gas wells are really ethane wells with a little natural gas byproduct," Albert Passy, Principal Analyst at Norwegian oil company Statoil


Um, what is preventing the ethane from being burned as fuel?  It is also a gas at any temperature you will find in the inhabited places on Earth, and flammable.  Still a fossil fuel and still produces CO2, of course.

"Natural gas" is a naturally occurring gaseous hydrocarbon mixture.  Some fraction of "natural gas" is always higher alkanes than methane.  If a particular natural gas well is producing mostly ethane, then that ethane is natural gas.
 
2013-08-08 07:35:05 PM

Argonreality: SomeTexan: Somebody recently figured out how to make plutonium starting with thorium, so, now some of the motivation is gone.  But thorium is still a good idea, in part because it's abundant.

There's an isotope of Plutonium it can generate somewhat easily generate other than 238, the one NASA needs for generating energy on things like the Mars rovers and other deep-space probes? If so, link to the article please?


Sorry, I forgot to bookmark it.  I seem to recall that Americium is involved, but don't quote me.
 
2013-08-08 09:41:47 PM
 
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