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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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3450 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»



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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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