A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Reflections on fusion history, current events, and predictions for the 'fusion powered future.
ab0032
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by ab0032 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 11:53 am

Frank S. wrote:
> There have been three accidents out of just over 400 reactors worldwide.

Isnt that a great record? Just three accidents and that is first generation nuclear power plants,
1) no deaths or cancer cases in Three Mile Ilse;
2) less than 50 deaths in Tschernobyl according to WHO and UN reports, although this was a huge mess;
3) and no deaths from radiation in Fukushima, non expected.

Fukushima was a GE design from the 1950s, would you consider the crashes of post war jets as a standard for your safety on a modern Boeing or Airbus?

Newer reactors will be magnitudes safer, as much has been learned from the past.


> While the number of deaths from radiation is low, the amount of hardship by those involved is huge. Loss of properties, family members, pets, belongings, and entire lives are just gone. I have seen up and close what it looks like in Japan and the uncertainly with the food contamination that they are still battling. It is not pretty at all. While this is just the human factor which seems to be dismissed in many of these banters, let's look at the technology.
>
It was a hysteric evacuation, caused by the scare tactics of green peace and others. More than 100 people where killed due to the evacuation. This evacuation should never have happened.
The cancer risk is minimal, Japanese eat a lot of fish, so the situation is not comparable to Russia and a population with iodine deficiency. The cancer risk is comparable to drinking a shot of alcohol once a year. Yes alcohol also causes cancer. So yes, its a mess, but it shouldnt be. Even the hotspots have only 150mSi in the first year, no reason to kill over 100 people in an evacuation. There are many places with higher natural background radiation in the world, should we evacuate them all? Most people should be allowed to return now, it should have been done earlier.

And second, hydro is one of the deadliest forms of energy, next to liquid gas, killing by far the most people. What do you say to those who loose their homes for hydro power? What about the millions, not hundred thousands, that lost everything for the am in China, what do you say to the people in South America? What about all the rain forest flooded there?

Here is a comparison of deaths for coal and hydro and nuclear, and just to put PV and wind into the picture, PV kills 440 per trillion kWh and wind 150.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf06.html

> 1. Nuclear is not foolproof. The odds are low but when things go wrong, they go very wrong and affect significant populations. There will be more accidents and it may be coming to a neighborhood near you.
>
No human activity is foolproof, if you are born, you have problems. But the rational thing is to compare numbers of deaths, environmental damage caused by the different form of energy production. Interestingly nuclear is not only the cleanest but also the safest.
Yes, in a car only one dies, while in a 747 many die, and still it is way safer in a 747 than in a car.
We have to look at the deaths per TWh.


> 2. More reactors means more highly radioactive waste. Even reprocessing, if implemented, does not eliminate ultra high level waste. It reduces the volume of the waste but all that is the most radioactive is still entirely present. It also by far increases the chance for nuclear proliferation.
>
Which causes more proliferation, sending every one fuel elements and taking them back for recycling, and building new proliferation proof power plants and selling them or letting countries like Iran do it themselves?
Coal releases far more uranium, radon and thorium into the environment than NPP, another reason to build more of them, not less.
See here for example: http://www.ornl.gov/info/ornlreview/rev ... lmain.html
I prefer small amounts of nuclear waste in containers to 2 mio tones of thorium and 800.000 tones of uranium released.

> 3. More reactors means more quantities and opportunities for proliferation of fissile material. It also increases the number of potential targets for terrorists.
>
There are designs that go underground and are even airplane crash proof, why would that be a better target than a stadium full of people at the superbowl?

> 4. If left unchecked, energy will be consumed at a faster and faster pace even if there were a nuclear reactor in every person's backyard. It is not a solution. It is a symptom of a energy gluttonous society.
>
I think that is a great idea, leave energy consumption unchecked and let it rise, we should let the markets work it out. Energy consumption is a direct measure for the degree of development of a civilization. We have abundant energy, we should make it cheap to enhance progress and development, we should send small fast microbreeders such as the proliferation proof, passively safe, core meltdown proof 4S by Toshiba, in the 100.000s to developing countries to help them get developed.

Alex

eugeniuszluzar
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by eugeniuszluzar » Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:51 am

ab0032 wrote:industrial dust collectors in deserts also pose a major challenge, with dust and storms.

But the main point is that solar is such a diluted form of energy, that all deserts of the world would not suffice to supply a demand growing at 3% by 2070 or 2080. So solar is just a short bridge to nowhere.

Anyone could do the math on the back of an envelop. It doesnt add up.
you're right, it's very interesting what you write here.

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Richard Hull
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Richard Hull » Fri Jul 10, 2015 7:19 pm

A resurrection reply!

Agreed! Solar is just not going to cut it. Hundreds of millions spent by the current administration on solar startups and a 100% epic fail....Just like fusion!

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

JoeBallantyne
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by JoeBallantyne » Fri Jul 10, 2015 11:28 pm

I for one would have to disagree that solar won't cut it.

I did a back of the envelope calculation a few months back, for a mere $1 trillion or so, you could put 4KW of solar panels on 100 million rooftops in America, if you assume it costs $10,000 per installation. If you actually went for it and started spending the money to really put solar on every roof in America, it would likely cost significantly less. Since solar panel costs are going down pretty fast, efficiencies are going up, and if you were doing every roof, the technology for installs would get standardized real quick, making it likely much cheaper than it is today.

If I recall correctly, I estimated that with the above, you could turn off a very significant chunk of the existing petroleum and coal based generation capacity. (I looked it up at the time on the US DOE's site, they have documentation on all of the different sources of power generation capacity.)

I suspect that if you tripled the capacity to 12KW installations, it would likely not double the cost, and at that point, you could start also using solar for powering transportation as well.

It's sad that we ALREADY HAVE the perfect nuclear power plant. It is safely 93 million miles away, the atmosphere and magnetosphere shield us from its most harmful radiation, and yet we can't find the political will to spend a mere trillion or 2, to get it done.

Pathetic IMO.

Especially if you think we've blown at least a couple of trillion on useless wars post 9/11.

Joe.

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Richard Hull
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Richard Hull » Sat Jul 11, 2015 5:03 am

When the gov't spends hundreds of millions to get solar panels made and start an industry and it all goes bust it is tough to put 4kw on the rooftops of millions of individual dwellings. That great old solar funace only works at optimum output for a maximum of perhaps 8 or 9 hours each day in the summer and this assumes 100% sun on all panels during that period (solar tracking). That same solar furnace causes earth's weather like overcast, fog, mostly coudy days, rain, hurricanes etc.

Solar just can't cut it for the folks who need central air/heat , microwave ovens, 24-7 refridgerators and deep freezers in their 4000 ++ square foot homes and all the electrical stuff that you dare not take away from them, ruining their cushy calm lives. Dreams are for dreamers and ideals for idealistists. Real folks who make the world spin are glutinous and always want more.

As I noted earlier the ready solution is 2 billion folks eliminated from this planet. Not an ideal or desirable solution, but a real solution nonetheless. One has to wonder which will occur first or be most likely in today's world..... 100 million homes with 4+KW of solar panels with grossly reduced comfort and pleasures compared to today's homes or the massive reduction in human beings due to any number of runaway, non-stop causes set in motion by the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Dennis P Brown » Mon Jul 13, 2015 12:31 pm

Sorry but just need to clarify something - solar still works very well in winter: first, the sun is closer and more energy is delivered; the panels are cooler and hence, more efficient, and finally, the air tends to be clearer delivering more energy. As such, despite the shorter days, this is migrated by these improvements. Still, solar is only an aid and can't replace liquid fuels for many applications nor can it provide high energy density for many energy hungry applications. But solar has advanced tremendously in efficiency and lower cost for panels. As such, it is a viable aid in helping to generate clean power for both homes and some business.

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Richard Hull
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jul 13, 2015 7:04 pm

Absolute, direct, multi-kilowatt drive of electrical loads by solar panels is extremely rare. It is the norm to involve another step down technology.... Electrochemistry, (Batteries). The art in any form of successful solar power effort is not letting the load on the low impedance batteries outstrip the sun's ability to keep up in charging them over the long term. With clouds and less than 100% sun conditions, the norm is to vastly over supply solar panel capacity so that required charge rates are up to less than 100% sun conditions.

Wind is equally vulnerable to weather conditions. The net contribution of both systems is not worth a significant honorable mention in the international power game. Over 90% of the world's energy is and will remain on large power plants with 24-7-365 full continuous and emergency capabilities. Solar based lead-acid systems are probably the #1 critical emergency personal power provider for <1000 watt day to day needs in an out of control world. (survivorist's energy)

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Tom McCarthy
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Tom McCarthy » Sun Jul 19, 2015 2:45 pm

As a side note,this book may be off interest to those who haven't already come across it: http://www.amazon.com/Plentiful-Energy- ... 1466384603

I'm currently reading (and thoroughly enjoying) the book, it's by two guys who were fairly high up at the Argonne National Laboratory and pioneered a lot of the initial fission plants. The book details one of their projects that was canned by Clinton, the Integral Fast Reactor, (IFR) that they view as a much better fission plant than some of the Light Water and Pressurised Water Reactors used today. The IFR idea is a sodium cooled reactor with onsite fuel reprocessing, disposal and so on...They also put in a few key safety measures and tested these, showing the reactor to shut down automatically (no operator interference!) on both loss of flow and loss of heat sink, which are two of the most critical reactor accidents and caused the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island incidents, respectively.

Richard, I know you're a fission advocate, so it might be of interest to you in particular.

Tom

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Dennis P Brown
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Re: A discussion on fusion future. - A 'gentle' primer.

Post by Dennis P Brown » Tue Jul 21, 2015 1:45 pm

There is no other operating fission power plant in the world, or any designed to date, that can match the low cost, ease of operation, unbelievable level of failure proof and hence overall safety level of the Candu heavy water fission reactor. That such a reactor is worthless as a power plant for a nuke sub prevented this outstanding design from ever being considered in the US (besides the fact that it was not invented here). Further, not needing any enriched fuel, it can't be used for weaponization or as an excuse to create an enrichment system.

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