Thoughts on Thorium Molten Salt Reactors?

Point out news stories, on the net or in mainstream media, related to polywell fusion.

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ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 2:25 pm

One of the biggest problems in Rad Work and Cleanup is the rules governing what is waste and what is not. Essentially, it is all waste. The bulk of waste tends to be tape, plastic bags, rags, plastic sheeting, etc, etc. The system does not allow for a point of origin survey to determine if it is really radioactive waste or not. This in turn creates a cascading nonlinear increase in downstream handling costs, as well as cross contamination issues for things that were initially treated as waste, but not actually contaminated with anything.
Again, the irrational freakish fear approach was and has been allowed to rule the process creating extreme actually unwarranted costs. This was a conscious part of the campaign by anti-"nookiller" folks to make the use of nuclear anything not worth it.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)
What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

Betruger
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Postby Betruger » Fri Jan 11, 2013 3:47 pm

ladajo wrote:The bulk of waste tends to be tape, plastic bags, rags, plastic sheeting, etc, etc. The system does not allow for a point of origin survey to determine if it is really radioactive waste or not. This in turn creates a cascading nonlinear increase in downstream handling costs, as well as cross contamination issues for things that were initially treated as waste, but not actually contaminated with anything.
Yikes.
You can do anything you want with laws except make Americans obey them. | What I want to do is to look up S. . . . I call him the Schadenfreudean Man.

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:04 pm

Most of the "stuff" going to permanent storage is not actually spent fuel. It is the ancillary stuff to do with plant management and fuel handling.
Granted, some of it is nasty stuff.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

paperburn1
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Postby paperburn1 » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:27 pm

ladajo wrote:Most of the "stuff" going to permanent storage is not actually spent fuel. It is the ancillary stuff to do with plant management and fuel handling.
Granted, some of it is nasty stuff.

interesting read on how politics is mucking it up http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/08/busin ... d=all&_r=0

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:38 pm

thanks.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

GIThruster
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Postby GIThruster » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:51 pm

ladajo wrote:One of the biggest problems in Rad Work and Cleanup is the rules governing what is waste and what is not. Essentially, it is all waste. The bulk of waste tends to be tape, plastic bags, rags, plastic sheeting, etc, etc. The system does not allow for a point of origin survey to determine if it is really radioactive waste or not. This in turn creates a cascading nonlinear increase in downstream handling costs, as well as cross contamination issues for things that were initially treated as waste, but not actually contaminated with anything.
Again, the irrational freakish fear approach was and has been allowed to rule the process creating extreme actually unwarranted costs. This was a conscious part of the campaign by anti-"nookiller" folks to make the use of nuclear anything not worth it.

There is however, the other side of the coin. There has never been a time where we paid the hidden costs of fission power. Those costs are piling up over time because we are still storing waste on site at most plants, and this is not a long term solution. Furthermore, as these plants retire, as we've seen with Hanford; what we have is an escalating mess that still requires the same security measures it did and almost identical operational costs as when it was in active service. These are all real costs of fission and many of them are not being paid but will indeed catch up with us.

I had friends at Hanford right after it was retired, some of which were working the waste storage and disposal issue. The high tech answer from DOE was kitty litter. They had tried cement and it never cured. They tried extremely expensive stainless steel drums but no matter how well they're made, they decompose in a small fraction of the lifetime that these wastes endure. This is why fission waste requires active monitoring and why the "out of sight is out of mind" approach behind underground storage doesn't work, and why Yucca Mountain has never seen service.

Too, the nightmare left over at Hanford defies description. There are these storage pools filled with highly toxic filth that no one can find records of what is in them. What we know is, they are still active. They are hot, and boiling constantly, and we have no ideas what to do with them. It's important to note we cannot do what we have in the past, which is to leave the stuff in open pools. Hanford has already contaminated the ground water under the facility and if millions of gallons of this extremely toxic waste makes it into the table as well, there is simply no telling how far the contamination would spread.

Its important to note Hanford is not your average facility. The problems there don't illustrate the kinds of problems one ought to find at every decommissioned nuclear facility. They're unique. However, they do illustrate the fact that we have NEVER paid the hidden costs of fission power. We have NEVER dealt with waste in a way that takes responsibility for it commensurate with the fact this is a problem we will have now for centuries to come. The problem of nuclear waste storage will only grow worse with time until we find a workable solution and begin to pay those hidden costs. So far, we're just adding regularly to the standing army of security personnel required to keep this stuff from terrorists.

So just saying, the bullshitting goes both ways. Neither side has been honest about the dangers, problems and costs.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:05 pm

Personally, I am fine with dropping waste down the sun's gravity well.

Another useful more useful point is that the US leads in spent fuel re-cycling. We are VERY good at taking fuel, breaking it down and finding uses for the active components. We are also very good at not letting on how we do this. It is surprising how much you can recycle from a "spent" fuel assembly. Too bad we don't point this out more. Too bad we don't enhance our capacities to do this. Too bad the anti-"nookiller" crowd spends a bunch of effort blocking ways to re-use "spent" fuel and its components. After all, it goes against the established agenda to "demonstrate the futility of anything nookiller."
Last edited by ladajo on Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

Skipjack
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Postby Skipjack » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:08 pm

ladajo wrote:Personally, I am fine with dropping waste down the sun's gravity well.

Another useful more useful point is that the US leads in spent fuel re-cycling. We are VERY good at taking fuel, breaking it down and finding uses for the active components. We are also very good at not letting on how we do this. It is surprising how much you can recycle from a "spent" fuel assembly. Too bad we don't point this out more. Too bad we don't enhance our capacities to do this. Too bad the anti-"nookiller" crowd spends a bunch of effort blocking was to re-use "spent" fuel and its components. After all, it goes against the established agenda to "demonstrate the futility of anything nookiller."

Wow agreed with you twice in a day... marks day in calendar ;)

ladajo
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Postby ladajo » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:12 pm

I am on a roll...
The development of atomic power, though it could confer unimaginable blessings on mankind, is something that is dreaded by the owners of coal mines and oil wells. (Hazlitt)

What I want to do is to look up C. . . . I call him the Forgotten Man. (Sumner)

GIThruster
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Postby GIThruster » Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:17 pm

Well the trouble is, there isn't enough energy in the world to lift hundreds of millions of tons of extremely toxic waste to the sun, and even if there were, the method for doing so would need to be absolutely failsafe. Given 20 years successful M-E technology we might get there from here, but anything short of that, I doubt it. For now, that solution isn't a real solution.

Try to have an idea of the problem: Hanford alone has 53 million gallons of highly toxic liquid waste and 23 million cubic feet of solid waste. Imagine what it would take to launch that all into the sun, and that's just one facility!

Too, it's good to note that although recycling spent fuel is a great idea, the vast majority of waste is not spent fuel. It's water. It is the nature of water as a waste product that makes it so difficult to store. Contaminated water leaches through almost anything given enough time, including the extremely expensive stainless steel drums made for such storage.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

Enginerd
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Postby Enginerd » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:13 pm

GIThruster wrote:Well the trouble is, there isn't enough energy in the world to lift hundreds of millions of tons of extremely toxic waste to the sun...


nuclear rockets. :-)
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
--Philip K. Dick

hanelyp
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Postby hanelyp » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:24 pm

As I hear it, the really long lived part of nuclear waste is uranium and transuranics, which an be used as fuel or otherwise broken down in a reactor if separated from the fission fragments. But we have the Carter era ban on reprocessing on the grounds that it might make it easier for terrorists to get a hold on bomb material. Which is a bit silly when you consider that:
- plutonium from a utility power reactor includes isotopes that make building an effective bomb near impossible. The breeder fuel cycle has to be modified to make a plutonium bomb.
- reprocessing doesn't have to separate uranium from plutonium, unless you're using a reactor designed for that.

GIThruster
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Postby GIThruster » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:54 pm

Enginerd wrote:
GIThruster wrote:Well the trouble is, there isn't enough energy in the world to lift hundreds of millions of tons of extremely toxic waste to the sun...


nuclear rockets. :-)

If one could get past all the political nonsense to build them, and if they were completely reusable, this could form a real solution. I'm not aware however of any nuclear rocket design that would fit these criteria. There are certainly thumbnails around, but nothing that has studied things like long term reusability of even fission engines. TRITON wants $1B for design which means they probably need $3B, and TRITON does not have the thrust/mass necessary for a launch solution. IIRC, there are no proposed reusable designs with the necessary thrust/mass for launch solutions.

I think there is a nuclear lightbulb engine design that could fit these criteria, but that's more like a $5B investment with no certainty one would get what they're after. Fat chance we'll ever see anyone fund that.

Chemical is hard to beat for launch. I think Musk's position is pretty secure until we move past rockets entirely.
"Courage is not just a virtue, but the form of every virtue at the testing point." C. S. Lewis

quixote
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Postby quixote » Fri Jan 11, 2013 11:29 pm

Aside from the passive safety features possible in the MSR designs, isn't one of the most attractive features that they can be used to burn transuranics and actinides produced by conventional LWRs and BRWs consequently turning a liability into an asset?

KitemanSA
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Postby KitemanSA » Sat Jan 12, 2013 2:49 am

There goes the GIT again, condemning commercial plants because of what the military did at the height of the Cold War.

And then there is the BS about hundreds of millions of tons of "extremely toxic wastes". GIT here is as bad about radioactive materials as Joey is about tokamaks. Maybe event worse since Joey at least has SOME facts about tokamaks right. Not the commercially important ones, but some.


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