Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Domestic Nucular Power Plant

Funded by the Republican party once its back in power
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(+1, -3)
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Instead of the giant power plants that output giant amounts of energy, why not make a large super-safe self enclosed tiny radioactive powered cell giving at most 3 kw per home. Made of lead encased in concrete, holding some highly radioactive element, and a radio- electric receptor, similar to a PV (photo-voltaic) cell, or maybe even a PV cell, installed in the basement or even in the garden, it would produce enough energy for the home for quite a time.

By the time its finished, somebody on the halfbakery will have invented a way to get rid of radioactive toxic waste in a way that wouldn't cost that much (sending it in a rocket to the sun, only to discover that it hit the sun's crust and caused an eruption that wipes us out.

Or, by the time its finished, there will be no people left anyways because of a combined tsunami, earthquake nucular explosion, terror attack, an epidemic and bad humor by the Sarah Silverman show.

pashute, Nov 01 2012

4S Micro Reactor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toshiba_4S
Baked [PainOCommonSense, Nov 01 2012]

Taylor Wilson. http://www.ted.com/...fusion_reactor.html
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Nov 02 2012]

The story about the bottomless pit http://shinichihosh...ionpictures/nhk.php
Can't find the text, but I'm quite sure it was this guys short shorts. [pashute, Nov 02 2012]

Snap 10-A http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNAP-10A
went into orbit in the 60s. Broke apart in the 70s. [fishboner, Nov 02 2012]

Is this guy legit? http://www.newscien...to-electricity.html
[pashute, Nov 03 2012]

[link]






       Nuclear? sp?
xandram, Nov 01 2012
  

       David Hahn tried to do this. Didn't work out so well.
Alterother, Nov 01 2012
  

       I've thought about this before. The biggest problem is that you will have radioactive elements in large quantities all over the place. That's a huge risk for terrorism, dirty bombs, ecological disasters, etc. To generate enough power for one house takes a shocking amount of highly radioactive material. Also your idea is leaving out some critical details like how we're going to capture this nuclear energy. There are no PV cells for gamma radiation. RTGs that use heat are widely known to exist as well as actual nuclear powered photovoltaics. This doesn't really add anything new besides "in your house".
DIYMatt, Nov 01 2012
  

       /nucular/ xandram, while in office G Bush revised several english words and this is one. My favorite is "strategery" which might have actually been Will Farrell channeling GB.
bungston, Nov 01 2012
  

       // sending it in a rocket to the sun //   

       Possibly the most proposed and most expensive option. Better, methinks, to tunnel down and sink it into the Earth's mantle, where it will melt away and not cause any appreciable difficulties for several generations at the earliest.
Alterother, Nov 01 2012
  

       Only to discover that we disturbed one of the most important sources of life in the natural habitat and eco-cycles sustaining life on earth.   

       I once read a great story starting with a kid finding a hole somewhere in the ground and yelling: Hey! Is there anybody down there! Then dropping some pebbles and hearing nothing. As time progresses people try to measure the bottom or reach it but never can, including scientists. It is finally used as a toxic waste dump, until one day, someone walking on the street hears "Hey! Is there anybody down there! followed by pebbles falling nearby.
pashute, Nov 01 2012
  

       The tech for small radioisotope-powered electric generators, in the form of ultra-reliable, no- moving-parts radio thermal generators (RTGs) has been pretty well-baked for more than half a century, used for applications as varied as powering remote military bases and spacecraft.   

       The main technical problem with this idea as presented is in its assumption that an “enclosed tiny radioactive powered cell giving at most 3 kw” – which I’ll assume also means at giving at least 2 kW – is possible. The usual RTG produces about 500 W/kg plutonium, so a 2 kW on would need a non-tiny 4 kg of Pu-238. If your requirement is that it keep generating 2+ kW for 30 years, given Pu-238’s 87.7 year half-life, you’d need a bit over 2.5 kg of it.   

       Allowing that you’ve got to have enough fissile material, there’s nothing very difficult about powering a single home with an RTG, technically. Socially, you’ve got to trust its owner not to misuse or let get stolen and misused their big chunk of deady poison, which is why in the 50+ years they been around, RTGs have only been used by well-guarded (at least in principle – it’s said Russia can’t account for several hundred of the roughtly 1,000 they built) government facilities and innately burglar-proof spaceships. [-]
CraigD, Nov 01 2012
  

       Why do people want to launch radioactives into the sun? It's not a particularly great way to get rid of them.   

       If you're going to launch them, simply stack them out of the way on the moon. It's tectonically stable, with, at most, relatively minor quakes. There is no ground water or atmosphere to contaminate. There is no local population at risk, and even if we colonize the moon, it's not that hard to avoid a known dangerous area.   

       And we'd still have access to them once we realize it makes far more sense to run spent fuel through breeder reactors than to dispose of it.
MechE, Nov 01 2012
  

       ^You obviously never watched "Space:1999".   

       Personally I think neighbourhood-sized nukular (<-- correct spelling) power plants are a great idea: you could get the benefit of CHP as well. The only question is will it scale well, efficiency-wise.
FlyingToaster, Nov 01 2012
  

       //Why do people want to launch radioactives into the sun? It's not a particularly great way to get rid of them. If you're going to launch them, simply stack them out of the way on the moon.// An objection to this idea as silly as the idea itself inspired the mostly-now-forgotten but 1970s SF TV series “Space: 1999”.   

       Seriously, IMHO the nuclear waste disposal problem is mostly due to irrational political factors. There’s pretty compelling evidence that sealing and dumping the stuff in undersea subduction trenches will get practically any stuff you really don’t want coming back to haunt you out of the way in the short term, and in a few million years, completely beneath the Earth’s crust, but that this approach is an international legal no-starter. Nuclear waste is dangerous primarily because governments are willing to make it, but unwilling to accept the best proposals for getting rid of it.   

       Until launching stuff into space gets many times cheaper and dramatically more environmentally friendly than present, I can’t imagine lunching the tens of thousands of tons of the stuff produced every year – which would take tens of launches of the largest boosters now existing each day – into space being feasible.
CraigD, Nov 01 2012
  

       2.5Kg of Pu238 costs about $13,000,000.00 It's great stuff, but even if I could get the proper permits I couldn't afford enough to power a wristwatch. Solar power is more viable for houses.
DIYMatt, Nov 01 2012
  

       I thought it was spelt “Nucyular”
pocmloc, Nov 01 2012
  

       Isn't 'output' as a verb even worse? Why not 'power plants that put out giant amounts of energy'? Didn't someone take-home nuclear materials from work to build a small reactor at home? Is that just an urban legend?
spidermother, Nov 01 2012
  

       //Didn't someone take-home nuclear materials// You mean "hometake", shirley?
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 01 2012
  

       //2.5Kg of Pu238 costs about $13,000,000.00...I couldn't afford enough to power a wristwatch.//   

       5mg of Pu238 would be more than sufficiently adequate to power a quartz analogue watch, at a cost of $65.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 01 2012
  

       [MB] You would think so, but RTGs are so inefficient that 5mg would never produce enough voltage. You would probably need a few grams.
DIYMatt, Nov 02 2012
  

       Yeah, nuclear energy doesn't scale down that well. The smallest RTGs seem to use a few hundred grams of fuel, and are very inefficient (Wikipedia). As for the Toshiba 4S, "This power plant is designed to provide 10 megawatts of electrical power with a 50 MW version available in the future."
spidermother, Nov 02 2012
  

       // Didn't someone take-home nuclear materials from work to build a small reactor at home? Is that just an urban legend? //   

       Yes and no. Wiki 'David Hahn'. There's also another kid whose name I can't remember who built all of the non- restricted parts of a functional mini-reactor when he was in his early teens and then applied to the Department of Energy for permits to own the fuel elements. Now he's raking in seven figures as a nuclear physics consultant.
Alterother, Nov 02 2012
  

       It is worth noting that David Hahn's reactor probably would have worked, and any of us could go build one right now. The only "hard to find" element was lots of Thorium from lantern mantles (which no longer use Th) but I'm sure there are other sources around. It's pretty amazing that you can start a nuclear chain reaction in your shed with some lantern mantles, smoke detectors, a bit of lead, and tin foil.
DIYMatt, Nov 02 2012
  

       Nonetheless, I'm thinking of getting a bunch of tritium lights, just so I can annoy my hippie friends by saying "Guess what? I've got nuclear power!".
spidermother, Nov 02 2012
  

       A nuclear powered keychain is by far my best keychain-related purchase. Go for it.
DIYMatt, Nov 02 2012
  

       I gots nukuler-powered sights on my deer rifle!
Alterother, Nov 02 2012
  

       //here's also another kid whose name I can't remember who built all of the non- restricted parts of a functional mini-reactor when he was in his early teens //   

       This guy? [link]   

       I'm sure Taylor Wilson a genius, but building a safe-and-WKTE "Farnsworth Fusor" isn't exactly the same as making fissile Uranium with a neutron gun that you made yourself.
DIYMatt, Nov 02 2012
  

       Yeah, that guy.
Alterother, Nov 02 2012
  

       So if so many people enjoyed this line of thought, why do I get a bone and no pastry? Not fair!!   

       [CraigD] says its doable and others showed it has been baked, only that the price is very high. That's because of regulations and security. But if a gps reporting system could be enclosed inside as well, then it would make it very hard to steal, and prices would go down rapidly. And once its legal, with a UN enforcing unit, countries like Uzbekistan can prosper, Fukushima type danger would go away, and the Arab countries would be free to make a better life for the poor 98% of their population, rather than thinking about how to cover their cars and personal planes with pure silver.
pashute, Nov 02 2012
  

       //The main technical problem with this idea as presented is in its assumption that an “enclosed tiny radioactive powered cell giving at most 3 kw” – which I’ll assume also means at giving at least 2 kW – is possible.// - [CraigD]   

       If you read that carefully, he's not saying that it's doable.   

       The problems go beyond mere expense. Existing designs are either much too powerful, or much too inefficient, for domestic use. It's an idea that has been thoroughly worked on, and shown to be problematic. Hence the negativity.
spidermother, Nov 02 2012
  

       Carefully read:
//... 2.5 kg ...
  

       Also carefully read:
//Allowing that you’ve got to have enough fissile material, there’s nothing very difficult about powering a single home with an RTG, technically. Socially, you’ve got to trust its owner not to misuse ...
  

       Despite the bone given by CraigD, I don't see the real problem. What's the size needed for a device like this? Two square meters or even four?
pashute, Nov 02 2012
  

       Which episode? (Or what was the theme during that episode, so I can find it?) And your correct, I have not seen it before. Its a lot of fun looking at these old, super slow developing, TV shows with stupid music making it "futuristic".   

       Just a question: Why has fassion not adopted clothes that look like the ones on these shows?
pashute, Nov 02 2012
  

       One link shows a kid saying he made a nuclear reaction that does not produce power. Nothing to do with my idea. The other link shows the smallest possible fission reactor power plant. Again, NOT what i'm proposing.
pashute, Nov 02 2012
  

       I wasn't asking about the Toshiba 10 megawatt thing. I'm asking about the area needed for a radioactive-to- power contraption with no thermal recovery and of course no nuclear reaction, only a stacked pack of proper PV cells with radioactive material stuffed in between, covered by a protective led cover and enclosed in concrete, emitting 10 Kw.
pashute, Nov 02 2012
  

       But, "proper PV cells" that absorb Gamma or x-ray do not exits. The things that do exist are baked, WKTE, and not used in peoples' houses for a reason.
DIYMatt, Nov 02 2012
  

       [+] although partially baked.   

       and strongly recommend that Craig D does not lunch on radioactive material (apart from Brazil nuts and bananas)   

       The key benefit for these micro Reactors was the reduction in lost energy from heating long distance pylon wires.
PainOCommonSense, Nov 02 2012
  

       Thanks fishboner. So even a tiny (and the Spat is tiny) reactor can be made!
pashute, Nov 03 2012
  

       should make them into boxcars.   

       Rail is pervasive; using it they can be shipped back and forth for maintenance, when necessary.
FlyingToaster, Nov 04 2012
  

       or extended from the roof with a vacuum balloon.
pashute, Nov 06 2012
  

       so, its a good thing that Romney did not get into power.
pashute, Nov 11 2012
  
      
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