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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2016 12:08 pm 
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I was debating a solar power advocate and he claimed the following.

"The only MSR prototype almost exploded cause liquid cores concentrate isotopes in unexpected and dangerous ways."

Is there any truth to this claim?

Certainly, the solar advocates are lying by claiming that solar power is now cheaper than coal. I counter that argument by asking them if they are now eager to end all solar mandates and subsidies because there is no need to force the best product at the lowest price on people. If solar really is cheaper, nobody would want anything else,...right? Of course this just makes them angry.

If we had 24 hour a day sunlight always burning at maximum intensity, then solar power would be cheap. Of course we would all be dead from the heat, however.


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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2016 2:37 pm 
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If this were true, it would have made it into the report WASH 1097, the official hatchet-job on the MSRE.


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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2016 2:48 pm 
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The main point against solar is that solar electricity generation follows the weather, day time and season. It does not produce according to demand. That means the value of solar electricity is very limited.

There are up to today about 100 different published MSR concepts with different safety features. The main risk of any commercial reactor is the decay heat that generates plenty of energy after a shut-down and threatens to overheat. That was the main cause for the accidents at TMI and Fukushima. Beside of the panic in Japan there were no casualties. If you compare nuclear with the plenty of accidents from cleaning and repair of solar power nuclear is by far the safer energy.


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PostPosted: Apr 21, 2016 3:19 pm 
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I've gone thru one hundred or more of the ORNL MSRE reports
and there is nothing that remotely hints at this sort of casualty.
But as MSR's are starting to get traction, the push back also starts.

One thing we've run into --- and this may be the genesis of this claim ---
is based on the failure to remove the U-233 from the MSRE fuel salt when the program was shut down.
Eventually, this resulted in some production of UF6 in the frozen salt.
Radiolysis frees up some fluorine.
Some of this gas migrated to the MSR building and set off alarms.
This resulted in a multi-hundred million dollar clean up program.

The ORNL oldtimers we talked to are adamant that they were aware of the potential problem
at the time the program was shutdown and requested $50,000 to remove the uranium
as they had done when they switched from U-235 to U-233. The request was deniied.

When this "casualty" was thrown in our face,
it was in such a twisted, unrecognizable form
that it took us a while to figure out where it was coming from.
We can expect this to show up again and again in various guises as we go forward.


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PostPosted: Apr 23, 2016 3:51 pm 
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I have read on this forum that noble metal fission products can deposit onto surfaces in the reactor or pump or perhaps the heat exchanger. It seems easy to distort this information to one's advantage.


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PostPosted: Apr 23, 2016 4:49 pm 
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MikeP wrote:
I have read on this forum that noble metal fission products can deposit onto surfaces in the reactor or pump or perhaps the heat exchanger. It seems easy to distort this information to one's advantage.


That's a (minor) revenue source to assist with the reprocessing. Noble metals will deposit on the heat exchangers, but that isn't really a problem.


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PostPosted: Apr 23, 2016 5:34 pm 
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Christopher Calder wrote:
Is there any truth to this claim?


I just love how when anti-nukes lie and distort, pro-nuclear people actually stop and ask themselves, "could this possibly be right?" and go through all manner of exotic mental contortions to try to discern how the anti-nuclear person generated this statement from factual events.

Anti-nuclear people on the other hand spend not a single neural firing trying to figure out if they might be wrong in their beliefs. They just mindlessly assume that everything is evil, corporate, fascist, dictatorial, and probably male, heteronormative, cisgender, and Republican while they're at it.


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PostPosted: Apr 24, 2016 7:27 am 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Christopher Calder wrote:
Is there any truth to this claim?


I just love how when anti-nukes lie and distort, pro-nuclear people actually stop and ask themselves, "could this possibly be right?" and go through all manner of exotic mental contortions to try to discern how the anti-nuclear person generated this statement from factual events.

Anti-nuclear people on the other hand spend not a single neural firing trying to figure out if they might be wrong in their beliefs. They just mindlessly assume that everything is evil, corporate, fascist, dictatorial, and probably male, heteronormative, cisgender, and Republican while they're at it.


We see a lot of spurious rules based on junk data, designed to cripple the technology. But for once, it's wind power getting a taste of the nuclear medicine:

New law threatens survival of Polish wind power industry

It's like "I heard that a wind turbine blade that disintegrates can send debris 2km away. Is there any truth in that?", and then, "OK, make sure they are 2km away from anything else".


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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2016 3:41 am 
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Christopher Calder wrote:
"The only MSR prototype almost exploded cause liquid cores concentrate isotopes in unexpected and dangerous ways."

Is there any truth to this claim?

Did this person define what "almost" meant? Is this "almost" like how I "almost" won the Powerball jackpot because one of the numbers on my ticket matched the winning numbers? I'm starting to think that statistics and probability should be taught in high school as a required course. I believe a lot of fear of things like nuclear power is based on a poor understanding of statistics.

Christopher Calder wrote:
Certainly, the solar advocates are lying by claiming that solar power is now cheaper than coal. I counter that argument by asking them if they are now eager to end all solar mandates and subsidies because there is no need to force the best product at the lowest price on people. If solar really is cheaper, nobody would want anything else,...right? Of course this just makes them angry.

I've had similar conversations over the years. I asked a "green" energy advocate when the subsidies for wind and solar should stop, because the commonly given reason for the subsidies is to "bootstrap" the industry. His reply was that the subsidies should never stop. That caught me off guard. I wish I could remember the reasoning on why he thought that.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
The main point against solar is that solar electricity generation follows the weather, day time and season. It does not produce according to demand. That means the value of solar electricity is very limited.

I was just on another forum and I saw someone claim that in that in 100 years everyone will be using wind, solar, and pumped hydro storage, excepting a few unfortunate nations without enough sun. Those nations will have to resort to that terrible nuclear power.

I have to wonder if these people understand that pumped hydro costs money. I also have to wonder if they understand that pumped hydro works on electricity produced by nuclear power, I say this because they claim that nuclear power is worthless because it cannot load follow. It appears they have not put two and two together and realized that pumped hydro can match the varied supply of wind and solar just as well as matching varied demand for nuclear power. This is ignoring that MSRs can load follow just as well as hydro.

These solar advocates will demand up and down that solar panel output closely follows demand, and will claim a source is biased if a citation to the contrary is made. The capacity factor of solar is terrible, I've seen claims that capacity factor is 30% but I just saw some real world numbers that show it's more like less than half of that. A common response to this is how solar power can be stored in a molten salt so that people can get their solar power even at night. They claim we can do this if only the government would fund the research. The shortcomings of solar is solvable if only we throw enough money at it, but nuclear power could never be proven safe/cheap/reliable enough if it's funded properly.

HolgerNarrog wrote:
If you compare nuclear with the plenty of accidents from cleaning and repair of solar power nuclear is by far the safer energy.

That's an inconvenient truth they tend to ignore. Again a poor understanding of statistics.

djw1 wrote:
I've gone thru one hundred or more of the ORNL MSRE reports
and there is nothing that remotely hints at this sort of casualty.
But as MSR's are starting to get traction, the push back also starts.

This reminds me of that "first they ignore you" trope. Even though we have people spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt about nuclear power at least we have people talking about it. Which is another trope, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Anti-nuclear people on the other hand spend not a single neural firing trying to figure out if they might be wrong in their beliefs. They just mindlessly assume that everything is evil, corporate, fascist, dictatorial, and probably male, heteronormative, cisgender, and Republican while they're at it.

Of course they do this from their Dell computer, while drinking a Coca-Cola or Starbucks coffee, and using electricity that 1/5th of which came from nuclear power. Oh, and you forgot "capitalist", can't let the evil capitalists off the hook. I do like your list, covers about all of the stereotypes.

alexterrell wrote:
We see a lot of spurious rules based on junk data, designed to cripple the technology. But for once, it's wind power getting a taste of the nuclear medicine:

New law threatens survival of Polish wind power industry

It's like "I heard that a wind turbine blade that disintegrates can send debris 2km away. Is there any truth in that?", and then, "OK, make sure they are 2km away from anything else".

I got to talk to someone in the windmill industry and we have rules like that too. Makes me wonder how a rather large windmill got built next to a school around here, won't anyone think of the children? Another inconvenient truth the windmill advocates will ignore is how many birds these windmills will kill. We have people that want to ban lead bullets because supposedly birds will eat the bullets that lie on the ground from people out hunting, which supposedly poisons the birds, even though evidence of this is very thin. These same people will then demand windmills even though it is known that windmills will kill birds.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Apr 25, 2016 2:36 pm 
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Kurt Sellner wrote:
I got to talk to someone in the windmill industry and we have rules like that too. Makes me wonder how a rather large windmill got built next to a school around here, won't anyone think of the children? Another inconvenient truth the windmill advocates will ignore is how many birds these windmills will kill.


I suspect that wind power is, statistically, more dangerous than nuclear power because of people working at heights - sometimes offshore. I've never heard of "bystanders" being killed by a wind turbine. But then, outside the Soviet Union, the same is probably true of nuclear.

Solar is more dangerous than both the above, largely because assembly is done by semi trained people (using dangerous ladders) and maintenance is put in the hands of untrained people (owners) who fall off them clearing snow etc.

Bird strike on modern wind turbines is not a major problem. It was on the old Californian shredders. However, for some reason, bats seems susceptible to wind turbines.


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PostPosted: Apr 26, 2016 2:02 am 
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alexterrell wrote:
I suspect that wind power is, statistically, more dangerous than nuclear power because of people working at heights - sometimes offshore. I've never heard of "bystanders" being killed by a wind turbine. But then, outside the Soviet Union, the same is probably true of nuclear.
The was a partial bus load in... Brazil(?) ... that got killed when a blade came adrift from its transport truck as took out the bus.

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PostPosted: Apr 29, 2016 8:14 pm 
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Interestingly, the opposite is true. Molten salt fuel dilutes the most dangerous fission products and also binds them to a non volatile and stable form. Cesium and iodine in particular, the two highest risk materials from a public safety viewpoint, are bound up as stable non volatile forms. The non volatile salt further dilutes them which results in very low vapor pressures. Look up Raoult's Law. (the molten salt fuel is not exactly an ideal mixture of course, but it is a reasonable approximation).


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PostPosted: Apr 30, 2016 1:37 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
Interestingly, the opposite is true. Molten salt fuel dilutes the most dangerous fission products and also binds them to a non volatile and stable form. Cesium and iodine in particular,...
What about the cesium that decays out of the xenon137 parged from the salt? When th Xe137 decays it will leave behind metalic Cs137, no?

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PostPosted: Apr 30, 2016 7:46 am 
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KitemanSA wrote:
Cyril R wrote:
Interestingly, the opposite is true. Molten salt fuel dilutes the most dangerous fission products and also binds them to a non volatile and stable form. Cesium and iodine in particular,...
What about the cesium that decays out of the xenon137 parged from the salt? When th Xe137 decays it will leave behind metalic Cs137, no?


That's correct. Provisions need to be made in MSR design to either return that Cs to the salt or otherwise bind it to a fluoride in the off-gas system. It depends on the approach to off-gas management (helium bubbling or not, etc.)


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PostPosted: May 01, 2016 10:44 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
KitemanSA wrote:
Cyril R wrote:
Interestingly, the opposite is true. Molten salt fuel dilutes the most dangerous fission products and also binds them to a non volatile and stable form. Cesium and iodine in particular,...
What about the cesium that decays out of the xenon137 parged from the salt? When th Xe137 decays it will leave behind metalic Cs137, no?


That's correct. Provisions need to be made in MSR design to either return that Cs to the salt or otherwise bind it to a fluoride in the off-gas system. It depends on the approach to off-gas management (helium bubbling or not, etc.)
Just wnted the Good Reader to understand that all paths had been considered.

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