2 results for month: 09/2010


The Pea and the Beach-Ball

Nuclear physicists describe the propensity of a nuclide to absorb a neutron in terms of a very small area, called a "barn". A barn is a trillionth of a trillionth of a square centimeter (10-24 cm2). Now imagine if we could inflate the size of a couple of nuclides, brothers actually, by a factor of two-and-a-half trillion. These two nuclides, despite being from exactly the same element, would look very very different in their "size" to a thermal neutron. Image Removed One would be really big, about the size of a 36" beachball. We would accurately conclude that a neutron would have a very good chance of being absorbed by this big guy. I...

Blue Ribbon Commission learns about thorium

On August 30 Robert Hargraves presented a ten-minute version of Aim High to the Reactor and Fuel Cycle Subcommittee of the President's Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future. All the presentations are posted here by the commission. The commission will not recommend any specific technology such as LFTR, but this presentation might nudge them closer to recommending policy changes for NRC that would facilitate SMR (small and medium reactor) licensing, and also support technology neutral licensing, so that technologies differing from today's standard light water reactors might be approved. Here is the text of the presentation, one paragr...