Please turn on javascript in your browser to play chess.
Science Forum

Science Forum

  1. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    21 Jun '14 12:38
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-molten-salt-reactor-concept-transatomic.html

    This development could put nuclear power back on the map permanently!
  2. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    21 Jun '14 16:46
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    http://phys.org/news/2014-06-molten-salt-reactor-concept-transatomic.html

    This development could put nuclear power back on the map permanently!
    I agree it looks good, but I've still got my basic objection to these things which is that we won't see them come on line for another 10 to 20 years (new technology) and we have an energy crisis, or at least the U.K. does since every government since Thatcher's has refused to invest in infra-structure since they seem to think that they can just buy technology from the rest of the world and make money through banking.

    Hmm., bit of a rant there, but it is why we don't have a power strategy in the U.K..
  3. 21 Jun '14 17:08
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    I agree it looks good, but I've still got my basic objection to these things which is that we won't see them come on line for another 10 to 20 years (new technology) and we have an energy crisis, or at least the U.K. does since every government since Thatcher's has refused to invest in infra-structure since they seem to think that they can just buy techn ...[text shortened]... banking.

    Hmm., bit of a rant there, but it is why we don't have a power strategy in the U.K..
    I completely agree that MSR's [or frankly any nuclear] is going to solve our
    immediate problems because they take too long to build.

    But that doesn't mean that they are not viable for the medium to long term.

    However our government/s are really really bad at long term planning.
    Partly because they can never see past the next election cycle.
  4. 21 Jun '14 17:48
    I am not completely anti-nuclear in that given a choice between global warming and nuclear, I would pick nuclear. But 10-20 years from now, solar , wind and other renewables will be far cheaper than nuclear, so we should just stick with renewables.
    The biggest problem with solar and wind right now, is that to really make an impact we need to ramp up production significantly, and that too takes time.
  5. 21 Jun '14 18:42 / 6 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am not completely anti-nuclear in that given a choice between global warming and nuclear, I would pick nuclear. But 10-20 years from now, solar , wind and other renewables will be far cheaper than nuclear, so we should just stick with renewables.
    The biggest problem with solar and wind right now, is that to really make an impact we need to ramp up production significantly, and that too takes time.
    wind and other renewables will be far cheaper than nuclear,

    Yes, and this will stay true forever thus most of our energy will never come from nuclear especially in the very long run. I am also not against nuclear in principle. I just don't see how it will ever come close to competing with renewables once renewables, unlike nuclear (because I don't see how my envision of artificial enzymes will help there as much ) , become ultra-cheap as they inevitably will do eventually. As for the issue of renewables being fickle, off-the-grid energy storage will also inevitably eventually become ultra-cheap -and you can also have a supergrid; problem solved.
  6. 21 Jun '14 19:26
    Originally posted by humy
    As for the issue of renewables being fickle, ....
    If you look through that pdf I linked you will see biomass and hydro. I didn't see geothermal - probably because they only use that for direct heating instead of electricity generation.
    However these are examples of renewables that are less fickle and can be used for baseload supply and filling in the gaps when the other renewables are being fickle.

    I did notice that wind and solar seem to complement each other fairly well, however they did have off days when almost nothing was produced.
    But even if we have to use natural gas for say 10% of our power, we should still be able to slow down or stop global warming.

    In Zambia we are 100% hydroelectric, so we could potentially add solar and keep the hydroelectric for baseload.

    Another big tactic, is instead of storing power, you adjust usage to match the production patterns. So you hook up things like geysers to the smart grid so that they only turn on when there is sufficient production.
  7. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    21 Jun '14 19:43
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am not completely anti-nuclear in that given a choice between global warming and nuclear, I would pick nuclear. But 10-20 years from now, solar , wind and other renewables will be far cheaper than nuclear, so we should just stick with renewables.
    The biggest problem with solar and wind right now, is that to really make an impact we need to ramp up production significantly, and that too takes time.
    There is the other take on it. If we don't switch to some kind of safe salt reactor, there is that much more highly enriched uranium that could end in terrorist hands.

    The more salt reactors there are, the less likely a terrorist will get weapons grade uranium.

    Sad to say but true. When the bombs were dismantled in the Soviet Union era, a LOT of bomb material disappeared. When the Soviets were in power there was no question of weapons grade disappearing but with the collapse of the Soviet Union a LOT of that stuff went into bad hands.

    The big surprise to me is no terrorist has yet nuked a city somewhere but the whole thing goes away if nuclear reactors are using 1 % uranium instead of 33%.

    Of course getting rid of nuclear completely would be best and just concentrate on renewables but that is just not in the cards.

    Germany has shown they can get renewables to work so it is a matter of politics in other countries like the UK.
  8. 21 Jun '14 21:23
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Of course getting rid of nuclear completely would be best and just concentrate on renewables but that is just not in the cards.
    Well then we should put it in the cards rather than encouraging nuclear technology. I see molten salt reactors as similar to the whole 'hydrogen economy' fiasco in the US. It is a technology that if it pans out, will be in the far future, and it just takes the focus away from what we really should be doing which is electric cars and renewables.

    And on that note, electric cars have the potential to provide grid storage using thier batteries.
  9. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    22 Jun '14 01:07 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Well then we should put it in the cards rather than encouraging nuclear technology. I see molten salt reactors as similar to the whole 'hydrogen economy' fiasco in the US. It is a technology that if it pans out, will be in the far future, and it just takes the focus away from what we really should be doing which is electric cars and renewables.

    And on that note, electric cars have the potential to provide grid storage using thier batteries.
    Yes, and so do house mounted PV cells. The fact remains though that we are already in the middle of a nuclear nightmare and it will take the next 100 years to extricate ourselves fully from that nightmare.

    I think the molten salt reactor can go a long way to make sure no highly enriched uranium ends up in the hands of terrorists.

    One A bomb in Pretoria, you want that? Or London, Moscow, Kiev, Rio, LA, NYC.

    That WILL happen if we can't control enriched uranium.

    The problem with terrorists getting the bomb is they won't stop at just making a Nagasaki style bomb, they will make sure it will be as dirty as possible to kill an entire city with radioactives so strong the area would be like Chernobyl, where people can't go back for hundreds of years.

    This is a real risk and we have to do something to eliminate it as a possibility.

    Terrorists are worse than animals, they don't give a dam WHO they kill, for instance in the 911 events, 300 odd MUSLIMS were killed along with the rest. You think the terrorists gave a rat's ass about that?

    Take a look at ISIS in Iraq, where they just herded Iraqi soldiers into a ditch and aimed rifles at them and shot them dead, totally defenseless.

    Or the ones in Kenya kidnapping hundreds of girls whose crime was to dare to want an education.

    And the boys, not kidnapped to make wives for their buddies, the boys they just summarily executed.

    Real nice bunch, these terrorists. Those people are a literal cancer on society and need to be rooted out the best way we can and depriving them of active atomics is one way to save lives down the line, even if it takes a trillion dollars and 30 years.
  10. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    22 Jun '14 01:17
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    Yes, and so do house mounted PV cells. The fact remains though that we are already in the middle of a nuclear nightmare and it will take the next 100 years to extricate ourselves fully from that nightmare.

    I think the molten salt reactor can go a long way to make sure no highly enriched uranium ends up in the hands of terrorists.

    One A bomb in Pretor ...[text shortened]... s of years.

    This is a real risk and we have to do something to eliminate it as a possibility.
    Interesting, that's the second time I've heard someone mention a terrorist dirty atom bomb in a couple of days. Where has this new paranoia come from?

    The way to make a dirty bomb is to use a conventional bomb to spread radioactive material around. The clean up afterwards isn't as difficult as you might think. It's hard to make a bomb with that much material in it. Not that much of the Hiroshima bombs Uranium was burnt in the blast and Hiroshima is perfectly inhabitable. The scary option with atom bombs is a clean bomb, for the neutron flux.

    I think some propaganda's been flying around.
  11. 22 Jun '14 07:47
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    I think the molten salt reactor can go a long way to make sure no highly enriched uranium ends up in the hands of terrorists.
    I really don't see how you think that will work. Having more nuclear reactors does not reduce the risks of enriched uranium getting into the hands of terrorists. Maybe you are claiming that they will replace current reactors, but that would take hundreds of years. First they have to build some test reactors, then they will build new ones, and only later will they start shutting down the old type ones.
    And as already mentioned, long before this, solar and wind will have taken over.
  12. 22 Jun '14 09:17 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by DeepThought
    Interesting, that's the second time I've heard someone mention a terrorist dirty atom bomb in a couple of days. Where has this new paranoia come from?

    The way to make a dirty bomb is to use a conventional bomb to spread radioactive material around. The clean up afterwards isn't as difficult as you might think. It's hard to make a bomb with that muc ...[text shortened]... om bombs is a clean bomb, for the neutron flux.

    I think some propaganda's been flying around.
    I remember seeing a documentary about various governments researching the threat of a dirt bomb from terrorists and they all concluded that a dirty bomb would be ineffective as a terrorist bomb because the 'dirt' (radioactive contamination ) would actually cause very few deaths even to any people that survived within just meters of the bomb exploding!

    see:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1063213/Why-petrol-dangerous-dirty-bomb.html

    -so at least the possibility of such a dirty bomb is one thing we need not loose sleep over. In fact, any terrorist that wastes his time making one, apart from being evil, would have to be either very ignorant or extremely stupid or both. He would probably be doing us a favour from wasting his time making one rather than spend that time and resources on a far more effective terrorist weapon or strategy (such as flying aircraft into tall building ) .
  13. 22 Jun '14 13:18
    Originally posted by humy
    I remember seeing a documentary about various governments researching the threat of a dirt bomb from terrorists and they all concluded that a dirty bomb would be ineffective as a terrorist bomb because the 'dirt' (radioactive contamination ) would actually cause very few deaths even to any people that survived within just meters of the bomb exploding!
    It sounds to me like a perfect weapon for a terrorist. You get all the 'terror' without the deaths.
  14. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    22 Jun '14 15:01
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I really don't see how you think that will work. Having more nuclear reactors does not reduce the risks of enriched uranium getting into the hands of terrorists. Maybe you are claiming that they will replace current reactors, but that would take hundreds of years. First they have to build some test reactors, then they will build new ones, and only later w ...[text shortened]... old type ones.
    And as already mentioned, long before this, solar and wind will have taken over.
    Lets hope you are right. One argument in your favor, it hasn't happened in in the 25 years since the end of the Soviet Empire and a LOT of material was lost and for sure is in the hands of terrorists but perhaps they concluded it wasn't effective enough.
  15. 22 Jun '14 16:26
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It sounds to me like a perfect weapon for a terrorist. You get all the 'terror' without the deaths.
    I thought they generally want the deaths as well?