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The (other) Nuclear Option
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Egregius



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2010 11:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will shine some enlightenment on the subject from up above:

-There is a total of 55 000 metric tons of nuclear waste as a result of 50 years of nuclear power in the US. (source)
-According to this source, the US put 220 MILLION tons of general waste&refuse into landfills
-Mining in the US produces between 1 and 2 BILLION tons of waste.

Hence, I find nuclear waste a bit of a non-issue. Transport and handling poses risks, but storage, if done well in some deep mine-shaft where the groundwater doesn't reach it, not. In fact, the average copper or gold mine has wastes that pose more risks than nuclear waste.

But nuclear isn't a panacea: lots of concrete used in construction means it's responsible for a lot of greenhouse gasses nonetheless, and affordable uranium will run out during our lifetimes, untill they manage to make the uranium from seawater proces more energy and cost efficient (then it's limitless). And Thorium reactors...there are none operational AFAIK. But it would be nice nonetheless, as India for example has thorium washing ashore on their beaches, literally.

Either way, we'll have to go nuclear because it's better than coal by far (and produces far less radioactivity in the atmosphere, ironically), and more scalable than renewables. (I'm assuming you guys are peak-oil aware regarding oil and natural gas)
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The Highlord



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
Posts: 551

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

America has a good millennium of Thorium for fuel, so Uranium running out is a complete non-issue: getting thorium reactors online in a timely manner is exactly the kind of bureaucratic mess that means we should start sooner rather than later. Like, tomorrow sooner.
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andrew



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
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Location: the raging sea

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FYI, Thy, I haven't forgotten to respond to you, I'm just trying to find a free moment when I can head to the U library to hunt down the publication you mentioned.
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Thy Brilliance



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:57 am    Post subject: Play dumb as long as you want. Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
Did Thy ever address Andrew's criticism of dumpster gas as not-scalable?


Yea, I clearly labeled the 2003 conference.
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Thy Brilliance



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

tinkeringIdiot wrote:
Nope. He's busy setting up strawmen for me.


Establishing that the construction of more nuclear plants is not at all necessary, a waste of US tax dollars, and short lived is somehow a strawman?

Hey, if you really believe what you say, a couple sources to support your claims wouldn't hurt.
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Thy Brilliance



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Highlord wrote:
America has a good millennium of Thorium for fuel, so Uranium running out is a complete non-issue: getting thorium reactors online in a timely manner is exactly the kind of bureaucratic mess that means we should start sooner rather than later. Like, tomorrow sooner.


Why of course!!

That sounds like a great idea!!

Oh wait.. that process creates Protactinium, which on top of being just as toxic and radioactive as plutonium, it's nearly useless.

Bravo!!
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andrew



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:34 am    Post subject: Re: Play dumb as long as you want. Reply with quote

Thy Brilliance wrote:
Yea, I clearly labeled the 2003 conference.

Hey, turns out the U library has a print copy. Which specific paper presented at the conference do you believe addresses the scalability of biogas (which, again, is not a biofuel)?
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Monkey Mcdermott



Joined: 10 Jul 2006
Posts: 3269

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thy Brilliance wrote:
The Highlord wrote:
America has a good millennium of Thorium for fuel, so Uranium running out is a complete non-issue: getting thorium reactors online in a timely manner is exactly the kind of bureaucratic mess that means we should start sooner rather than later. Like, tomorrow sooner.


Why of course!!

That sounds like a great idea!!

Oh wait.. that process creates Protactinium, which on top of being just as toxic and radioactive as plutonium, it's nearly useless.

Bravo!!


Doesnt that substance decay at a rate a factor of 10 or so quicker than plutonium though?
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Thy Brilliance



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:07 am    Post subject: Re: Play dumb as long as you want. Reply with quote

andrew wrote:
Thy Brilliance wrote:
Yea, I clearly labeled the 2003 conference.

Hey, turns out the U library has a print copy. Which specific paper presented at the conference do you believe addresses the scalability of biogas (which, again, is not a biofuel)?


It was around page 151 I think, I'd have to look it up again.

I also found this, might save you some time and is much more recent.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/0383(2009).pdf
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
Thy Brilliance wrote:
The Highlord wrote:
America has a good millennium of Thorium for fuel, so Uranium running out is a complete non-issue: getting thorium reactors online in a timely manner is exactly the kind of bureaucratic mess that means we should start sooner rather than later. Like, tomorrow sooner.


Why of course!!

That sounds like a great idea!!

Oh wait.. that process creates Protactinium, which on top of being just as toxic and radioactive as plutonium, it's nearly useless.

Bravo!!


Doesnt that substance decay at a rate a factor of 10 or so quicker than plutonium though?


Half-life around 30000 years.

Will the US even last that long?

We don't know, but that won't stop us, will it?
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 8:49 am    Post subject: Man I love my memory Reply with quote

Thy Brilliance wrote:
andrew wrote:
Thy Brilliance wrote:
Yea, I clearly labeled the 2003 conference.

Hey, turns out the U library has a print copy. Which specific paper presented at the conference do you believe addresses the scalability of biogas (which, again, is not a biofuel)?


It was around page 151 I think, I'd have to look it up again.

I also found this, might save you some time and is much more recent.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/0383(2009).pdf




Collier County, Florida: Consideration of Gasification as a Long-Term Waste Management Solution
Paper no. NAWTEC11-1681 pp. 151-157 (7 pages)
doi:10.1115/NAWTEC11-1681
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Egregius



Joined: 05 Aug 2006
Posts: 171

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wiki has interesting stuff. Thorium as a fuel seems to be much closer to reality than I thought.

Quote:
Why of course!!

That sounds like a great idea!!

Oh wait.. that process creates Protactinium, which on top of being just as toxic and radioactive as plutonium, it's nearly useless.

Bravo!!


"thorium produces one to two orders of magnitude less long-lived transuranics than uranium fuel cycles, though the long-lived actinide protactinium-231 is produced, and the amount of fission products is similar.."

However, as I said earlier, nuclear waste is mostly a non-issue. It's not like unused uranium isn't dangerous or toxic. You take a dangerous element out of the earth, you use it, you put it back in. Some single mines could store all the waste the US has.
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tinkeringIdiot



Joined: 13 Oct 2008
Posts: 1057

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thy wrote:
Oh wait.. that process creates Protactinium, which on top of being just as toxic and radioactive as plutonium, it's nearly useless.


Wiki wrote:
Pa-233 results from the decay of thorium-233 as part of the chain of events used to produce uranium-233 by neutron irradiation of thorium-232.


Looks like it's more a product of uranium enrichment. And the fact that it's useless I see as a benefit: useless byproducts impede proliferation.

Thy wrote:
Hey, if you really believe what you say, a couple sources to support your claims wouldn't hurt.


I'll repost these for you then (from page 1):

The French reprocess the waste and send it back to the reactor.

Waste can be processed into a stable glass to prevent leakage into groundwater.

My comments on Thorium are drawn from this source that was posted by Yorick, aslo on page 1.

Thy wrote:
It amazes me, truly, how you'll believe in the safety and cleanliness of nuclear power, but "clean" coal, biofuels? Impossible.


This would be the strawmanning bit. I haven't brought up biofuels at all. That is a totally different discussion that has no direct bearing on the issues being discussed here.
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Thy Brilliance



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Egregius wrote:
Wiki has interesting stuff. Thorium as a fuel seems to be much closer to reality than I thought.

Quote:
Why of course!!

That sounds like a great idea!!

Oh wait.. that process creates Protactinium, which on top of being just as toxic and radioactive as plutonium, it's nearly useless.

Bravo!!


"thorium produces one to two orders of magnitude less long-lived transuranics than uranium fuel cycles, though the long-lived actinide protactinium-231 is produced, and the amount of fission products is similar.."

However, as I said earlier, nuclear waste is mostly a non-issue. It's not like unused uranium isn't dangerous or toxic. You take a dangerous element out of the earth, you use it, you put it back in. Some single mines could store all the waste the US has.


First of all, the waste is put back in a much more concentrated form, which can be much more deadlier than naturally spread out.

It needs to be guarded indefinitely.

This takes huge amounts of maintenance and security.

There have already been leaks that also need security and maintenance for quite a while.

This costs Tax Payers quite a bit of money.

As for tinker,

Your Seattle sources are from 1998, use 2nd hand knowledge, and plenty of hand waving.

I don't want to start on Wired, or really any non-peer reviewed article.

Also, it's a little too late to worry about proliferation, but that's not the issue I have.

My issue is that Protactinium 231, (don't get your isotopes mixed up) is literally useless for something like oh, I dunno, eventual human travel in space, compared to plutonium, which has other uses than for nuclear weapons. Protactinium 233 decays quite fast, and the thorium cycle is just generally more dangerous/complex in terms of eV radiated.

And for the "strawman", you sure do seem to be quite the advocate for nuclear power.
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Thy Brilliance



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Egregius wrote:
I will shine some enlightenment on the subject from up above:

-There is a total of 55 000 metric tons of nuclear waste as a result of 50 years of nuclear power in the US. (source)
-According to this source, the US put 220 MILLION tons of general waste&refuse into landfills
-Mining in the US produces between 1 and 2 BILLION tons of waste.

Hence, I find nuclear waste a bit of a non-issue. Transport and handling poses risks, but storage, if done well in some deep mine-shaft where the groundwater doesn't reach it, not. In fact, the average copper or gold mine has wastes that pose more risks than nuclear waste.

But nuclear isn't a panacea: lots of concrete used in construction means it's responsible for a lot of greenhouse gasses nonetheless, and affordable uranium will run out during our lifetimes, untill they manage to make the uranium from seawater proces more energy and cost efficient (then it's limitless). And Thorium reactors...there are none operational AFAIK. But it would be nice nonetheless, as India for example has thorium washing ashore on their beaches, literally.

Either way, we'll have to go nuclear because it's better than coal by far (and produces far less radioactivity in the atmosphere, ironically), and more scalable than renewables. (I'm assuming you guys are peak-oil aware regarding oil and natural gas)



So you're saying investing more money in getting power from landfills a resource that gets "220 MILLION tons of general waste&refuse" is less preferable than investing in nuclear.

OK.

SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!
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