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(Some Guy)   "It's only nuclear waste if you don't use it"   (bravenewclimate.com) divider line 9
    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»



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2013-08-08 09:32:26 AM
3 votes:
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 11:55:30 AM
2 votes:
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 09:41:47 PM
1 votes:
2013-08-08 12:03:38 PM
1 votes:

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 12:00:55 PM
1 votes:

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 11:38:41 AM
1 votes:
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 11:13:11 AM
1 votes:

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 10:59:55 AM
1 votes:

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 10:33:17 AM
1 votes:

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.
 
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