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Old 06-05-2009, 01:27 PM   #1
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Nuclear Power on Today's NPR's Science Friday

http://www.sciencefriday.com/program/archives/200906052

They have it as a podcast.
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:14 PM   #2
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I can say, that after a long time of being ambivalent, I am way in favour of nuke power. It has a lot of advantages, and as long as you're not using a Soviet RBMK reactor...
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:26 PM   #3
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I'm in favor of it done correctly. Waste disposal just isn't as a big deal as a lot of people make out. Chernobyl was a great example of how not to design and run a nuclear power plant. Compare that to the Union Carbide disaster: the right reaction is to demand proper safety measures for chemical plants, not to demand they be banned altogether. I think ignorance of all the health problems caused by fossil fuel power generation is also a big reason for resistance. That is similar to the perceived safety difference between air versus automotive travel.

Some of the new generation 3+ designs are really neat. Natural convection only reactors - no pumps! Generation 4 should be even better, but who knows when they will arrive. I'd like to see an ablative coating added to the fuel rods so that if cooling water is lost the heat in the fuel can be dissipated without damaging them. The water is the moderator so the reaction stops, but the heat is still there and can hurt them. I don't have enough chemistry to think of materials suitable for this (or even to know if there are any). I guess there are other ways to achieve the same end, like a reserve tank of coolant that doesn't act as a moderator, whose outlet is filled with a material that melts at the desired safety temperature. No pumps, sensors, or valves to fail. That sort of thing is done a lot now.

One last thing: dirty bombs are almost all bark and no bite. The addition of radioactive material isn't expected to add any additional casualties to the blast. This means that security on stored waste doesn't need to be too costly. I've always thought nuclear waste would be a great way to heat a building. Turns out you'd need an awful lot of it.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
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: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:32 PM   #4
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I have a tongue in cheek way to use fusion power: drop a tiny nuke down into a shale oil deposit. The heat converts it to a usable form. Then there's just that pesky radioactive oil issue...
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
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Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
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: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maximilian View Post
One last thing: dirty bombs are almost all bark and no bite. The addition of radioactive material isn't expected to add any additional casualties to the blast. This means that security on stored waste doesn't need to be too costly. I've always thought nuclear waste would be a great way to heat a building. Turns out you'd need an awful lot of it.
Terrorists don't need bite as long as they've got a big enough bark. That's what terrorism is about...terror. The radiation from a dirty bomb is the gift that keeps on giving.
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Old 06-05-2009, 03:36 PM   #6
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But it goes away as soon as it's done and the reality is revealed. Thus, the threat of a dirty bomb is actually more effective than actually detonating one. Talk about ironic. I've always thought that if a dirty bomb went off in Manhattan that it'd be a good time to buy real estate there.
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Main Entry: co de pen dence - see codependency
co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
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: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:05 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by maximilian View Post
Chernobyl was a great example of how not to design and run a nuclear power plant.
No, it's a great example of why you should follow safety precautions and not poke your head into dangerous stuff you know nothing about.

They put control rod stops on them for a reason, not so you can bypass them and pull the rods all the way out in attempts to get a xenon poisoned reactor with old, volatile fuel to light up again. Not only that but you shouldn't be performing coolant safety tests on a reactor with spent fuel anyways, especially when previous attempts to test the system royally failed. Out of 17 RBMK reactors completed and gone operational 12 of them remain running to this day. 4 of them at Chernobyl and 1 at another location, that they are planning on closing the second half of by the end of this year, leave 11 running and one still under construction.

The design itself is flawed I'll give you that, but most of those reactors have a flawless service records. After that incident they made major changes to the control rod system so it is no longer a manual control system.

I could only imagine being there when it happened. You realize there is a problem, hit the button to insert the control rods, and 25 seconds later everything is destroyed. Just incredible. I think if I had a time machine, I would go there, maybe not first, but I'd go.
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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It sounds like we agree: don't let retards run your reactors. They haven't added containment shells to any of those RBMK reactors, have they?
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co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 06-05-2009, 04:29 PM   #9
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Nope.
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co de pen den cy
Pronunciation: \kō-di-ˈpen-dən(t)-sē\
Function: noun
Date: 1979

: a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (as an addiction to alcohol or heroin) ; broadly : dependence on the needs of or control by another
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Old 06-08-2009, 01:35 PM   #10
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Speaking as a nuclear reactor operator for the United States Submarine Force... I'll take a PWR any day.
The inherent stability of the PWRs makes them damned near impossible to break (though Three Mile Island proved it CAN be done).
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