Fission news(I know blasphemy )

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

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paperburn1
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Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby paperburn1 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:57 pm

a replaceable modular concept
http://thorconpower.com/
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

RERT
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby RERT » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:33 am

Really interesting. If you believe this, nuclear is cheaper than coal, but for regulation. They claim that was the actual experience in the US before TMI. They also describe the passive safety features and claim the plant is 'walk away safe'. Also eye catching is the claim that a decent production facility could make 100 big power plants a year.

Thanks for posting this link.

paperburn1
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby paperburn1 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:12 pm

I find the scalability interesting. start out with a basic plant, need more power add another power unit unit. not a whole new plant.
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.

D Tibbets
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby D Tibbets » Fri Feb 03, 2017 7:12 pm

Liquid salt reactors are certainly a step up, but not immune to problems. Replacing the primary loop every 4 years sounds very expensive- working underground, ripping out radioactive tubes that carried the decay product contaminated pipes that formed the primary cooling loop, would be time consuming and expensive and require up to many thousand of years of safe storage. Also, the secondary cooling- steam lines that drives an electricity generating turbine needs to be at considerable pressure and temperature (perhaps 550 degrees C). Again, buried underground and less accessible for repairs. If there is a leak of molton salt bearing thorium and decay products- no explosion with atmospheric dispersal. But what about the ground water? A salt is probably water soluble so there is ground contamination of flourine, thoriunm and all of the decay products. This is just as radioactive and perhaps more toxic and water dispersable than classical core materials. And this is buried deep underground- cleanup would again be more challenging.

Thorium based and liquid salt reactors may be more safe than uranium solid core reactors- mostly from mitigation of core overheating due to decay products if cooling fails, but there are still critical concerns about the fission product radioactivity.
As such it is a viable choice and better than classical design, but I would not expect it to be cheap or problem free.

The overwhelming advantage of fusion is the radioactivity concern, Again, this is not free of problems- especially with D-D fusion or especially D-T fusion due to neutron activation, but the problems of management are orders of magnitude less. And, of course the heat problem of fission decay products is the biggest concern of fission, but liquid salt reactors seem to address this challenge. Scalability of thorium salt reactors may be better than fusion plants- at least if you are considering low Beta Tokamak reactors as exemplified by ITER.

More compact reactors are cheaper, more manageable both from a maintenance aspect and perhaps from a safety aspect. Any accidents or shutdowns would be smaller scale and have less impact on overall production. This applies to fusion and fission.

Does thorium salt reactors warrant more development money than the ITER path? I suspect it does. Does compact fusion schemes warrant more? I think so. FRC, Polywell and others that has the theoretical potential to avoid tritium as a primary fuel have huge benefits. Aneutronic fuels even more so. The possibility of having direct conversion- Polywell, DPF, FRC (?) have additional tremendous potential benefits of avoiding a complex, and expensive steam generating plant and would save a lot of money.

I think that ITER is a tremendous waste of money and time. Tokamak, spheromaks, stellarators, etc. research is still relevant, but should still be concentrated on improving of edge stability issues and on density increases, not huge behemoths that have no future as a useful electricity production industry. And, of course, funding of the relatively small fusion (and yes fission) concepts are warranted. Because P-11B fusion is so tremendously advantageous, it should be vigorously pursued, even with it's greater challenges. Schemes that process the fission decay products to greatly decrease the long term storage issues and perhaps even generate much more useful electricity are also attractive. LENR research even deserves some modest effort. I don't think anyone has convincingly demonstrated nuclear reactions at low temperatures, but the physics and chemistry is intriguing and may have other benefits. The biggest problem with LENR research is the appalling failures of quality control, reproducability and of course the scam artists.

Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

Carl White
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby Carl White » Sat Feb 04, 2017 12:22 am


D Tibbets
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby D Tibbets » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:16 am

Modular assembly and disassembly may considerably decrease the cost of maintenance, provided the number of plants is large and standardized. But it doesn't modify the radiation concerns of the pipes. The radiation concernsof the actual fuel rods/ fuel solution may be mitigated by schemes for nearly full burnup of the decay products through use of excess neutrons to transmute the products to much shorter half life (or stable) isotopes. There may still be quantities of long half life (few weeks to thousands of years) but the amount might be greatly reduced- both by this burning process and the consequence that you might achieve electricity generation from over 90 % of the uranium or thorium instead of the typical <5%. Need less starting material for a given quantity of electricity.

This of course assumes these multiple game changing technologies can be accomplished. It would make fission nuclear power more attractive. As for burying the plant underground, I'm unsure what the benefit would be, except for the social implications of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

And, as I have harped on before- As the technology for harvesting and storing fusion energy from the Sun progresses, the possible terrestrial fission or fusion plants face increasing competition. At some point solar and wind and hydrothermal may be the cheapest in terms of dollars and land usage/ mining/ radiation management, etc. Smaller reactors that might have mobile applications are somewhat immune to this, but not large grid reactors.

Dan Tibbets
To error is human... and I'm very human.

wizz33
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby wizz33 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 2:04 am

see moltex for the simplest form of a molten salt reactor

pbelter
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby pbelter » Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:06 pm

There is a talk about resurrecting Yucca Mountain now that Harry Reid and Obama are retired. YC was graded for a million years of safe storage. This would address most of the issues we have with fission waste.

Maui
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby Maui » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:43 pm


pbelter
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby pbelter » Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:54 pm


Maui
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby Maui » Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:57 am

Not sure that analogy works, but I get your drift. Still, Trump certainly has stated he is anti-regulation, but blue-collar jobs and, really, coal jobs in particular are something Trump has spent a lot of energy on. If there's one thing I give Trump credit for, its trying to follow thru on campaign promises. I'd certainly like him to help nuclear at least as much as coal. But if he's not going to "pick winners" (subsidies), there's not much more he can do except to help open Yucca.

Is Yucca really the primary hurdle for nuclear?

RERT
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby RERT » Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:29 am

The root post link says a great deal about cost. They go through an inventory of required materials and construction costs and argue that power from their plant should cost 3.x cents a kWh, versus 5.y for coal. They discuss the difference between 'should cost' and 'did cost' and argue that the difference is regulation. There is a great chart showing capital cost per watt rising from below coal in the early 70s to much higher after TMI. And after Chernobyl, there is very little data.

Strange that these events have robbed us of nuclear power. I'm a little ashamed to have just swallowed the line that nuclear was expensive without considering regulatory cost. Also interesting post at WUWT recently listing the vanishingly small real health impact to the public of these events - Nice move to regulate something to economic oblivion.....

The root post gives an interesting analogy between nuclear regulation and military procurement. Subject to military procurement rules, navy ships are expensive, often late, have long lead times, and don't work to spec when they are completed. Commercial shipping is generally churned out on time, and works to doc because otherwise the yards get sued. Now, not a perfect analogy because a navy ship is much more complex, but nonetheless interesting.

If a single shipyard scale facility could produce 100 1 gW units a year, that really would be significant. That would replace the UKs total power demand in less than a year. The US has about 100 reactors producing maybe a fifth of its power. The world would only need one or two such facilities to be certified. Begins to sound like an 'Energiegewende' (sp?) that might actually do some darn good.

Finally, someone said that it would be hard to strip and repair 'hot' components underground. As far as I can tell the design calls for the entire core to be hoisted out and replaced every four years. The work on the used cores is envisaged done at a specialised facility.

pbelter
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby pbelter » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:23 pm


hanelyp
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby hanelyp » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:13 pm

With reprocessing to separate fission fragments (to be disposed of) from Uranium and heavier elements (to go back in the reactor), the long term nuclear waste problem pretty much goes away. But "reprocessing" has, per a political issue, become nearly synonymous with Plutonium extraction, which is considered an unacceptable terrorist risk. Never mind that Plutonium extracted from a common power reactor fuel rod in the normal recycling process would be useless for a bomb because of isotopic mix.

Bottom line, the nuclear waste problem is largely fallout from mindless political decisions.
The daylight is uncomfortably bright for eyes so long in the dark.

paperburn1
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Re: Fission news(I know blasphemy )

Postby paperburn1 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:49 am

Then there is don't upset the apple cart. small scale cheap fusion would do just that and in a way that big money oil could not profit from. CALL the LOBBYEST and Defund that problem.
I am not a nuclear physicist, but play one on the internet.


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