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Nuclear power systems have, despite all the fears, made
significant contribution to our energy mix. On a
per kilowatt-hour produced basis, it is safer than coal,
gas, and even wind power.
Large-scale nuclear costs billions of pounds per plant,
the delays on major projects
highlight the difficulty of
delivering mega projects; complexity, cost and
There are small reactor designs that operate safely and
reliably (acknowledging minor issues) such as the PWR
currently in service on Trident submarines.
From a comparative safety point of view, the crew of
a vessel spend their working life a few tens-of-metres
away from an active reactor.
Something like these compact, reliable reactors could be
located in Residential communities, to both generate
electricity and provide heating (which is conventionally
rejected as a waste product)
We still need to solve nuclear reprocessing and waste,
consider fuel and the potential for misuse/terrorism. But
with municipal fast breeder reactors to generate fresh
fuel, and burn up potentially divertable products, there
are technical solutions.
Toasty homes, happy people.
Small Modular Reactors
[Frankx, Oct 28 2019]
||Until they leak out/meltdown/get attacked by
whomever etc etc.
||The U.S. thoroughly investigated small reactors in the 1950's. The Ivans did the same.
||For civil powerplants, the economies of scale from building fewer but larger plants (preferably well above Maximum Credible Tsunami level) are easily calculable. Mini reactors like the SNAP involve too many compromises for civil use.
||Waste is easily dealt with; security is easier for a few big plants.
||I was thinking of SMR (small modular reactor)
[link]- type reactors, rather than SNAP. These
claim advantages in security and standardisation of
||Given the difficulties (nationally, and probably
globally) to deliver very (multi-billion) large
projects, I would think that modularisation and
standardisation could deliver multiple small
installations better and cheaper than a few very
||Also, those economies of scale are based on ill-
founded and outdated assumptions (and cost
delivering very large engineering projects.
||Factor in the program and cost-overruns, and the
picture is different.
||California notwithstanding, electricity is decidedly
safer to transport than nuclear fissile material.
However, more nuke plants are decidedly needed.
||[Chairborne Hero]...Hi, welcome!
Yes, it takes a lot of infrastructure and technology
to make nuclear fuel. Thats a bit of a
disadvantage for nations who want to deploy more
nuclear power. But its a global nuclear security
benefit - if it was easy to separate isotopes (of, for
instance, Uranium), the world would be a very
much scarier place.
||Economics of extraction, processing and
purification do have a major part to play but: 1)
current proposals for next-generation nuclear in
the UK are entirely driven by capital cost, and
private companies (legally mandated) right to
recover those costs via electricity pricing, 2) a
small fleet of nationally (UKAEA) owned breeder
reactors could (most efficiently and securely) be
the provider of fuel for public generators and
recipient of spent fuel for reprocessing, and 3) we
have to work our long-term storage and final
disposal, whether we increase, decrease or stop
entirely. We have a significant backlog of waste to
||And then there's the issue if shipping that fuel. In the
US we have difficulty running trains without them
careening into cars, people, other trains...
||... trucks .... school buses ...
||Quite how much of the blame should be attributed to the trains, and how much to the Darwin-award self-nominators blithely picnicking on grade crossings while complaining about the noise and the flashing lights is not clear.
||I'm a fan of one solution that takes some community trust.
If you put nuclear plants *somewhat* near cities, it's possible
to dump a significant amount of heat to their water supply,
while still being far enough away that they'd probably be ok
if something bad happened. Water that arrives in the city is
then a few degrees warmer, reducing the amount of heat
needed in water heaters. The amount of energy saved could
be fairly large, without having to have nuclear power in
||Why not spend the price of a couple of large conventional fission plants on fusion research ?
||// Why not spend the price of a couple of large
conventional fission plants on fusion research ?//
||Because you will end up with ~2 fission reactors
worth of electricity shortfall and a new generation
of people who appreciate how hard fusion is.
||Oh come on, it's only banging deuterons together, how hard can it be ?
||Just start with a T-U fusion device and scale it down to commercialization. What could possibly go wrong ?