[FoRK] why the nuclear energy industry is dying

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Tue Jun 18 23:27:29 PDT 2013

On Tue, Jun 18, 2013 at 12:40:18PM -0700, Stephen D. Williams wrote:

> Yes, I vaguely know all of this.  The traditional designs and
> methods are annoyingly short-sighted.  But imagine that the plant
> components are more modular, are on sleds that can be picked up and
> transported.  Imagine a processing plant / factory that, within yet
> another containment mechanism, grinds up and reprocesses the steel,
> a radioactive foundry, etc.?  The fact that it's brittle makes it
> easier.  All difficult problems, but throw a few billion my way and
> I could make it happen.  And then you have a scalable solution that
> doesn't take a few billion every time.  But, no one seems to be
> thinking that far outside the box.

Decomission costs are only a fraction of reasons why nuclear
energy doesn't work.

You will need a breeder, preferably with onboard fuel processing --
a thorium fuel cycle MSR, especially if it can be primed with 
reactor-grade Pu from waste as initial in-core inventory (there's
not enough U-233 in the world to kick-start even one Th MSR).

Can it be made to work? Nobody knows! And won't find out for
another couple decades, assuming you can get it funded. 
But nobody funds it, so it's dead, Jim.
> As observed in Japan (and the Gulf for that matter), contamination
> of the ocean itself is less of an issue:  it is too big to stay

Oh, yes? You think it's not an issue? 

> concentrated for long.  Shores are another issue, but the ocean
> itself dissipates most things nicely apparently.

I would like a few peer-reviewed reference for that claim.
> A power or processing plant in deep water is still dangerous, but less permanently.

Let's dump a few tons of high-activity waste per year into the
ocean for a few decades, and then let's see how you will like 
your seafood. Youthful thyroids just *love* that seaweed iodine.
You noticed they have banned seaweed harvesting in that area?

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