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Author Topic: calling all physics geeks!
Grummash

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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 12:59      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm concerned about an article I found in the newspaper under the title Blair says 'facts have changed' on nuclear power.

The facts have changed? Surely not? I thought we understood the fission process... [shake head]

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 14:20      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well, he's only saying what a lot of people have said for a while now: that is, nuclear power, although potentially quite unpleasant, is, if it's handled properly, quite a green thing. Far less in the way of greenhouse gases. Of course this argument goes out the window if there's Three Mile Island, but in general it's probably a reasonable way of tackling fossil fuel over-usage.

Also, Blair's mumbling about it as he'd like the UK to not be so reliant on OPEC output and price-setting. Sorry, obvious, really.

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Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
Grummash

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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 14:31      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
...in general it's probably a reasonable way of tackling fossil fuel over-usage.
In the short term, I can see the practical benefits but, and this is a big but, do the short term benefits justify sentencing furture generations to an unmanageable, toxic legacy of discarded nuclear waste?

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 15:18      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Good point, but then there might not be future generations if we don't do something to prevent global warming.

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Posts: 6529 | From: Noba Scoba | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 15:51      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Oooh...does that mean England will have to start its own version of of the big NIMBY called "Yucca Mountain?"

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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alfrin
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 15:56      Profile for alfrin     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Ick, Yucca Mountain, I'm against the storage of nuclear materials in my state, but the money involved, it could really benefit our area. I'm not sure where to balance money and future enivornmental problems.

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Art is Resistance / Resistance is Art

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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted November 22, 2005 16:39      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm actually very much pro-nuclear power. The thing is, 97% of nuclear waste can be recycled and made into re-fissionable fuel. There are experiments going on right now to build reactors out of graphite, and somehow that prevents melt down when something goes wrong.

Also, a US company has been experimenting with building fission processes that release a large amount of hydrogen as a byproduct, thus providing hydrogen to fuel engines. Don't delude yourselves about this one, though, as pure hydrogen has turned out to be a pretty poor fuel when used as a combustant.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 23, 2005 16:30      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nerdwithnofriends ________________The graphite experiment was called Chernoble and alot of people still can't go home.

You may want to search on kiddofspeed and see some very interesting photos.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


Benjamin Franklin,

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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted November 23, 2005 17:36      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
pure hydrogen has turned out to be a pretty poor fuel when used as a combustant.

No kidding! All the cool fuels combust with visible flames, ideally shooting out of the exhaust of a top-fuel dragster in an environmentalist's bad dream. However, you can see the shock diamonds forming in the blast coming out of the SSMEs, so hydrogen does have some redeeming qualities. [Big Grin]
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nerdwithnofriends
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Icon 1 posted November 24, 2005 00:14      Profile for nerdwithnofriends     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:

Instead of the typical rod-shaped fuel, the fuel is formed into "pebbles" about the size of a pool ball. Each pebble is made of grains of uranium sheathed in heat-resistant graphite and silicon carbide. The 100 million-watt reactor is supposed to use 310,000 fuel pebbles.

From http://whyfiles.org/130nukes/3.html.

Supposedly, even in the event of a reactor failure, the graphite balls can go for weeks without needing extra cooling. This allows for a 'less-is-more' attitude, meaning that since they don't have to worry about complicated plumbing and cooling systems, there are less things that could fail.

The only problem they see with the graphite ball approach is that the emergy coolant for a reactor using the balls is air itself, which raises the question of catching the graphite on fire due to the heat produced by the fuel.

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"The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower." - Robert M. Pirsig

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The real Stealth
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Icon 2 posted November 25, 2005 13:24      Profile for The real Stealth   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Chernoble was a different experiment. The new graphite test is based on the fact that Uranium-238 has a half-life of 250,000 years as opposed to Graphite's 1,000,000. The "pebble" fuel in a Pebble bed reactor is actually safe to hold and not bigger than a billiard ball and is safe to hold. it is actually a wonderful idea.

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dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 25, 2005 14:08      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Spelling Nazi dragon here: It's Chernobyl...mmkay?

Don't want to believe me - believe the champ fighter on the left: [Wink]
http://googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=chernobyl&word2=chernoble

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

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Kinguy
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Icon 1 posted November 27, 2005 18:43      Profile for Kinguy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Breeder reactors damn it, BREEDER REACTORS!
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supaboy
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Icon 1 posted November 28, 2005 08:19      Profile for supaboy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Breeder reactors are simple in theory but none have been able to work well in reality.

Plus, when you mention using plutonium for fuel, laypeople tend to get even NIMBY-er than normal about nuclear power. And there are a lot more of them than there are of you!

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AntonTakk
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Icon 1 posted November 28, 2005 20:52      Profile for AntonTakk   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I'm not to sure on the feasability, (economic or otherwise) but someone once proposed the idea of launching nuclear waste in to the sun. Or if that can cause problems for the sun that I don't have the education to realise, space is rather vast, and we'd only need one black hole.

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`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!' - Percy Bysshe Shelley

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spungo
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2005 02:04      Profile for spungo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by AntonTakk:
I'm not to sure on the feasability, (economic or otherwise) but someone once proposed the idea of launching nuclear waste in to the sun. Or if that can cause problems for the sun that I don't have the education to realise, space is rather vast, and we'd only need one black hole.

Correction: that wasn't nuclear waste they were talking about - it was Donny & Marie Osmond.

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The Famous Druid

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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2005 02:23      Profile for The Famous Druid     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by AntonTakk:
I'm not to sure on the feasability, (economic or otherwise) but someone once proposed the idea of launching nuclear waste in to the sun. Or if that can cause problems for the sun that I don't have the education to realise, space is rather vast, and we'd only need one black hole.

The Sun's kind of a long way off, and black holes are even further. The Moon would be easier (although that solution is not without certain risks )

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If you watch 'The History Of NASA' backwards, it's about a space agency that has no manned spaceflight capability, then does low-orbit flights, then lands on the Moon.

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AntonTakk
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Icon 1 posted November 29, 2005 15:47      Profile for AntonTakk   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
granted the sun is a long way off, but it is also quite big, and hard to miss. I wouldn't think the distance is really a big issue, since the flight only needs to be powered untill it is well out of earth's gravity well.

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`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings: Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!' - Percy Bysshe Shelley

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mark717
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Icon 1 posted May 28, 2007 21:48      Profile for mark717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
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Cyclone
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Icon 1 posted June 21, 2007 21:49      Profile for Cyclone   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by nerdwithnofriends:
I'm actually very much pro-nuclear power. The thing is, 97% of nuclear waste can be recycled and made into re-fissionable fuel. There are experiments going on right now to build reactors out of graphite, and somehow that prevents melt down when something goes wrong.

Also, a US company has been experimenting with building fission processes that release a large amount of hydrogen as a byproduct, thus providing hydrogen to fuel engines. Don't delude yourselves about this one, though, as pure hydrogen has turned out to be a pretty poor fuel when used as a combustant.

I'd like to point out a few errors in your para, if I may. Firstly, regd the 97% stat that you've given, I'm not sure about how accurate that is, but from what I remember in high school, (warning: readers with better things to do, lecture coming up, feel free to click the 'Back' button on your browser) nuclear fuel consists of small quantities of fissionable U-235, and the rest is U-238. After usage, the 'waste' consists of plutonium-238, U-238, and the real waste, which depending upon the type of fission conducted, could be molybdenum, lanthanum, and similar medium-mass toxic elements. What the process of recycling basically does is it separates the U238 and plutonium and since its fissionable, uses it to develop weapons or further power generation. ONCE! Whats left is small quantities of toxic waste, still almost equally potent as before the recycling, but smaller in volume. After treatment, its Yucca'd. Personally, I'm against dumping, as that brings up a whole lotta issues in the future. I'd like to see it all shot towards the Sun, but right now, thats economically unfeasable.

Regarding the Hydrogen products you're talking about, I haven't heard of this one, but I'm guessing it'll be the same old catalytic cracking they use, probably taking advantage of the readily available boron in nuclear plants, and the elevated temperatures. I'm totally pro a hydrogen economy, but have you guys read Popular Mechanic's November '06 issue? The problems related to hydrogen production, transportation, storage, and use are IMMENSE!!! Except for use in automobiles, hydrogen is unviable to run a country on. Its been explained really well in the magazine, and should be available on the website. If anyone likes, I can put up a few points here, but it should be easy to get anywhere on the net. It really brought me crashing down when I read it. [Frown] Seems like we're back to the wind/solar/water trinity again. Just hope those high efficiency photovoltaic cells are coming along quick, last I read the average efficiency of industrially used solar cells was pretty low, 8-18% I think. Bad, what?


Oh, and the US policy of not recycling nuclear waste should be changed. That policy was drafted 30 odd years ago to prevent arms proliferation. I'm not saying the risk is gone, but the benefits are far greater. And hey, why would anyone go to all the effort of stealing and smuggling all those hazardous materials all the way out of the US, across an ocean or two, and then the odd continent, when North Korea's offering it without any hassles? [Big Grin]

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The Force. It surrounds us. It enfolds us. It gets us dates on Saturday Nights.

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Cyclone
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Icon 1 posted June 21, 2007 21:58      Profile for Cyclone   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by supaboy:
Breeder reactors are simple in theory but none have been able to work well in reality.

Plus, when you mention using plutonium for fuel, laypeople tend to get even NIMBY-er than normal about nuclear power. And there are a lot more of them than there are of you!

Dunno about that, India's been using breeder reactors for a long time now. And Kinguy's right, since world thorium reserves are three times more than uranium, breeder reactors make more sense.

In a way, all nuclear reactors are breeder reactors, since they all produce fissionable products. They just have low breeding ratios (fuel produced vs fuel consumed), thats all. By definition, a breeder reactor has a BR of >1, and usually avg 1.1-1.2 The proposed-gas-cooled systems are said to reach 1.8, which is a HUGE improvement. I mean, thats producing almost TWICE as much fuel as you're using up! We should definitely be supporting breeder development, its obviously putting up great returns.

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The Force. It surrounds us. It enfolds us. It gets us dates on Saturday Nights.

Posts: 8 | From: 3rd Rock. | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
ASM65816
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Icon 1 posted June 24, 2007 12:27      Profile for ASM65816   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
My vote is for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems, because heat (not just electricity or movement) is required and used in very large quantities, and there's a lot of room for improving efficiency.
quote:
In 1998, the U.S. Department of Energy set a goal to double the use of cogeneration by 2010, which could potentially add 46 gigawatts of capacity - about the equivalent of 92 500-MW power plants. Analysis by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) found that the DOE goal is not only achievable, but could be readily surpassed.

Industrial CHP

Combined heat and power (CHP), also referred to as cogeneration, is the onsite generation of electricity and heating or cooling from a single fuel source.

To understand the advantages, it is helpful to first think about grid power. Electricity sent along the utility grid is about 27 percent efficient; as much as 73 percent of the input fuel is lost by the time power reaches end-users at the socket. About 65 percent of this fuel is lost as waste heat, a byproduct of generation. Another 8 percent or so is lost along transmission lines.

CHP limits these losses by recapturing waste heat and reusing it as a source of heating or cooling. Not only does this save energy otherwise lost up the smoke stack, it also reduces onsite energy demand.



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Once a proud programmer of Apple II's, he now spends his days and nights in cheap dives fraternizing with exotic dancers....

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Grummash

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Icon 1 posted June 24, 2007 14:41      Profile for Grummash     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by ASM65816:
My vote is for Combined Heat and Power (CHP) systems...

ASM said something sensible...VERY sensible...how did that happen...what have you done with ASM???? give him back.... give us our ASM back now!!!

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...and yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this earth with envious eyes...

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