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PostPosted: Mar 09, 2015 11:37 am 
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Make Nuclear History, funded by Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, and the Sierra Club.

I am loathe to give this anti-nuclear garbage any more attention than it deserves, but I must point out that once again the "environmentalist" movement has put forward wind and solar as THE replacement for nuclear energy. But the reality will be more fossil fuels because of the unreliability of wind and solar.

Their entire approach is so juvenile. It looks like an expensive version of a video a 7th-grader would make. Rather than talk about the reality of the safe storage of nuclear waste, they show a giant glowing pit. Rather than talk about the advantages (if any) of solar and wind over nuclear and fossil fuel, they show a strong man putting caricatures of a scientist and an oilman in a headlock. And they apparently know nothing of thermodynamics and believe that the 50% energy loss in generation can somehow be eliminated through "efficiency". If they knew the principles of the Carnot cycle then they would realize that such a goal is fundamentally impossible. But if your average environmentalist leader was scientific, they would support nuclear energy and would never have wasted donations on silly, infantile garbage like this video.

Even worse, the video begins with a bizarre scene that apparently is meant to be interpreted as an attack by nuclear waste on the peoples of the future.

Then there is the subtle sexism in the video. The nuclear scientist is an older, socially-awkward male who is continually embarrassed and surprised while the wind/solar promoter is a young, cool, attractive female who breezes effortlessly through any social situation with confidence and poise.

The opening sequence where a man was struck in the groin by an ancient Neanderthal weapon (supposed symbolic of the danger nuclear waste poses to future generations) was just about the low point of the entire infantile exercise. Not such a subtle message there, eh?

So the takeaway appears to be, if you're concerned about the virility of your great, great, great, great, great (x100) descendants, don't use nuclear energy.

As you can see from this video, the wind and solar promoters have no hesitation whatsoever to put forth blatant falsehoods such as stating that their product can completely replace the need for nuclear energy.

FOE Press Release

Quote:
The Make Nuclear History Web site explains: “There is a better way. There is a way to power our lives without fossil fuels. There is a solution to climate change without nuclear energy. There is a future where we can solve the climate crisis and power our lives from 100 percent renewable sources and energy efficiency. Now is the time to create our fossil and nuclear-free future … A fossil and nuclear-free future powered by renewable sources is possible and the transition is happening now. The benefits of clean, affordable and renewable energy compared with the dirty, expensive legacy of fossil fuels and nuclear reactors are obvious.”


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PostPosted: Mar 09, 2015 1:12 pm 
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Looks pretty basic propaganda. The sort of stuff Pravda would have produced in WW2. The trouble is though that with no understanding of nulcear physics and engineering, a pretty lady promising a clean solar future sounds good to a lot of people.

That said, part of the problem is that the solid fuel reactors that we use are not a great design. Yes, they're cheaper than solar and wind, but they create issues.

There is a better way - which is what this forum is about.

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And they apparently know nothing of thermodynamics and believe that the 50% energy loss in generation can somehow be eliminated through "efficiency". If they knew the principles of the Carnot cycle then they would realize that such a goal is fundamentally impossible.


Well, it could be possible with direct conversion of charged particle motion into electricity.

Helion Energy is promising that, though I know you doubt their science.

A fission fragment generator would be quite nice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fission_fragment_reactor. It also gets rid of the fission fragments at source. But we're trying to move from solid fuels to liquid fuels. We'll leave plasma fuels for the future.


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PostPosted: Mar 10, 2015 1:06 pm 
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alexterrell wrote:
part of the problem is that the solid fuel reactors that we use are not a great design. Yes, they're cheaper than solar and wind, but they create issues.


Now you see, that's one of the most amazing things I've learned about nuclear power the last 10 years.

Reactors with fabricated fuel don't have any real problems themselves. The supposed problems are fabricated by people who know little about reactors with fabricated fuel, and the real problems are to do with the business and regulatory environment (the people who DO know how fabricated fuel reactors work) that find their roots in the unacceptance of nuclear energy by society.

I do see the technical advantage of MSRs though and would not hesitate to bet my career on it.


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PostPosted: Mar 10, 2015 2:03 pm 
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In terms of replying to the likes of GreenWar, Foes of the Earth, and the Silly Club, an effective combatant is to present the late prof. Cohen's book, especially the chapters on radioactive waste:

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter11.html

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter12.html

Prof. Cohen showed for example that solar panel waste is a lot more dangerous than nuclear wastes.


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PostPosted: Mar 10, 2015 5:44 pm 
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Cyril R wrote:
an effective combatant is to present the late prof. Cohen's book
Prof. Cohen showed for example that solar panel waste is a lot more dangerous than nuclear wastes...
While this may work for some people, I fear that in this age of internet social media what's required is "in your face" images that convey a message even more instantly than that silly video.

I have created a FB page specifically for that purpose, and posted a few of the images as comments on Sierra's copy of the video.
Please feel free to post them (links) where appropriate.....

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 788790428/

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 078802199/

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 752497365/

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 205859853/

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 930001713/

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 411650231/

https://www.facebook.com/49384377736219 ... 332079271/

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Mar 11, 2015 12:07 am 
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Cyril R wrote:
In terms of replying to the likes of GreenWar, Foes of the Earth, and the Silly Club, an effective combatant is to present the late prof. Cohen's book, especially the chapters on radioactive waste:

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter11.html

http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/chapter12.html

Prof. Cohen showed for example that solar panel waste is a lot more dangerous than nuclear wastes.


Cohen is great, but I agree with jaro that the people who fall for this kind of amateur-hour propaganda are extremely unlikely to ever read any part of Cohen's book.

I have often wondered about the massive amount of waste that will be generated by solar power if we use it on a massive scale for centuries. Hell, it seems that half the countryside will be discarded solar panels.

By the way, I had some email correspondence with Prof. Cohen a few years ago. I offered to put some of his old articles for the general public on the web. He sent me old hardcopies of a few of them, and my wife and I actually retyped them. You can find them here:

http://russp.us/nucpower.htm

I recall a great article on nuclear waste that he wrote about 30 years ago for Oui magazine (a porn magazine of all things). I wish I could have reproduced that article, but I could not find it anywhere.

I also offered to put his book, The Nuclear Option, on the web, but dealing with the graphics turned out to be too big of a problem. I'm glad to see that someone else has now put it on the web for anyone to read.

As for dealing with anti-nuclear ignorance in general, that seems to be a perpetual problem. As some of you may recall, I put together a slide deck a while back to educate the general public on the matter. Some of you even graciously offered suggestions and corrections to improve it. I've had more helpful suggestions recently, and one of these days I will actually revise it yet again, but for now you can still find it at

http://RussP.us/energy


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PostPosted: Mar 11, 2015 2:48 am 
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Quote:
Cohen is great, but I agree with jaro that the people who fall for this kind of amateur-hour propaganda are extremely unlikely to ever read any part of Cohen's book.


Well I find myself disagreeing here. 10 years ago I would have swallowed this amateur-hour propaganda whole, without indigestion. It was books like Cohen's that made me think again in a typical confrontation-scoff-disbelief-doubt-research-recognition cycle. So using my own narrative I'd like to trigger that something that starts the thinking cycle.

I don't really see the point of fighting fire with fire here. It just keeps the debate dumb.

Graphics are the way to go but they should be intelligent and reasonable not shouty. For example like this:

Image


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PostPosted: Mar 11, 2015 3:42 am 
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Here's another good image twittered in response to Greenpeace and the Sierra Club:

https://twitter.com/MichaelBTI/status/5 ... 56/photo/1


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PostPosted: Mar 11, 2015 3:56 am 
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In fact, this appears to be quite a problem:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/mar ... /14756397/

Quote:
With a history that dates back more than 5,000 years, silver has been an incredibly valuable metal through the ages. It was once used as a trading currency along the Asian spice routes and was even the standard for U.S. currency for a while. However, the precious metal holds far more value than just as a currency. In fact, more than half of the world's silver is actually used for industrial purposes as it is used in X-rays, low-e windows, and even solar panels. As it turns out, even solar energy wouldn't work the same way if it wasn't for silver.

Making solar shine

Silver is a unique metal. It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals, and it's the most reflective. These physical properties make it a highly valued industrial metal, especially when used in solar cells.

Silver is actually a primary ingredient in photovoltaic cells, and 90% of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, which are the most common solar cell, use a silver paste. What happens is that when sunlight hits the silicon cell it generates electrons. The silver used in the cell works as a conductor to collect these electrons in order to form a useful electric current. The silver then transports the electricity out of the cell so it can be used. Further, the conductive nature of silver enhances the reflection of the sunlight to improve the energy that's collected. Therefore, if it wasn't for silver solar wouldn't be as efficient in turning sunlight into energy.

Shining a light on silver in solar

The average solar panel actually uses about two-thirds of an ounce of silver, which is about 20 grams. That might not sound like a lot, but at around $20 an ounce it contributes more to the cost of solar than it does to the other industrial products that use silver. For example, a laptop only contains 750 milligrams to 1.25 grams of silver while a cell phone contains just 200-300 milligrams of silver, so silver is a tiny fraction of the cost of those devices.

Overall, the solar industry uses about 5% of the world's annual silver supply, or an estimated 52.4 million ounces. However, as demand for solar increases, especially in China, the demand for silver used in solar could double. Because of this it is estimated that by next year the solar industry will use 100 million ounces of silver.

Because of the volatility in the price of solar, panel makers are working on using less of it on each panel. Still, the overall increase in demand for new solar panels is what's driving the demand silver used by the solar industry. This increased demand for silver could have a real impact on the solar marketplace in the years to come as solar could push up the price of silver. So, should silver prices surge it could have an impact on the production costs of solar panels, which would then impact the economics of the solar industry.

Final thoughts

Silver is a precious metal to the solar industry. Because of this any future spike in the price of silver could hold back the growth of the industry. It's a trend to keep an eye on as surging silver prices could dim the prospects of the solar industry in the future because it's becoming such a large consumer of the precious metal.


I had no idea it was this bad. Solar is currently a trivial player in the global energy market and already it guzzles 5% of the world's silver production?

For solar to be a savior that the greens herald it to be, we'd eventually have to make at least 100 billion solar panels. Greenpeace forgot to mention that!

At 20 grams of silver a panel, that makes for a silver requirement of 2 billion kg. This is about 4 times the globally identified reserves of silver.

http://www.statista.com/statistics/2736 ... countries/


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PostPosted: Mar 11, 2015 4:03 am 
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This sounds like a problem for the PV industry.

Image

Assuming 100 grams/kWp and $1/gram silver price, $100/kWp. That's $1000/kWe average in my country (we get 10% capacity factor).

Since silver prices must go up to get to poorer quality ores that are needed for the billion kg of silver the solar silver guzzlers need, this gets ugly fast. At $10/gram silver for example, there is probably enough silver to be had, but the cost of the silver alone would be worse than the disastrously cost-overrun Olkiluoto EPR total electricity cost.


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PostPosted: Mar 12, 2015 5:44 am 
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Cyril R wrote:

Reactors with fabricated fuel don't have any real problems themselves. The supposed problems are fabricated by people who know little about reactors with fabricated fuel, and the real problems are to do with the business and regulatory environment (the people who DO know how fabricated fuel reactors work) that find their roots in the unacceptance of nuclear energy by society.

I do see the technical advantage of MSRs though and would not hesitate to bet my career on it.


Well, Fukushima was an issue. Granted - it's been overplayed, and nuclear with solid fuel is still the safest form of electricity generation (even including Chernobyl - which I don't use as an example for obvious reasons).

The issues at Fukushima were caused by:
1 A very unusual and unaccounted for natural event (huge oversight)
2 The of non provision of water-proof emergency power (huge oversight)
3 The inability of the design to get rid of passive decay heat (design limitation)
4 The presence of materials that become explosive at very high temperatures that a solid core operates at (design limitation)

I do see these as problems. Solid fuel reactors are inherently unsafe - it is only the brilliance of the engineering that makes it the safest form of electricity. It's not right to deny that there is an issue. Getting rid of design limitations 3 and 4 above means human error won't cause a disaster.

(Planes are inherently unsafe - it is only the brilliance of the engineering and the operating procedures that makes them far safer than cars. But aircraft safety is an issue. Imagine if the consequences of a plane crash were the same as the consequences of a car crashing at 20mph! That is what MSRs can do for nuclear.)

Which leaves me a quandary at times about defending over-priced PWRs. They do have issues - but they're safer and more cost effective and less polluting than the alternatives. But MSRs will be far safer and cheaper. If you say there's no safety issue, then MSRs have no safety advantage, and merely the technical advantages that you rightly refer to.

We don't need to convince the fanatics at "Make nuclear history". But we need to convince "Jo Public" - at first in North America and Britain, eventually even in Germany. Saying there's NO issue with current nuclear means you lose the debate at the start.


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PostPosted: Mar 12, 2015 9:03 am 
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Quote:
The issues at Fukushima were caused by:
1 A very unusual and unaccounted for natural event (huge oversight)
2 The of non provision of water-proof emergency power (huge oversight)
3 The inability of the design to get rid of passive decay heat (design limitation)
4 The presence of materials that become explosive at very high temperatures that a solid core operates at (design limitation)


Alex, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying nuclear reactors are children's toys. I'm saying the problems are not intrinsic to solid fuels.

Your examples bring this out. It wasn't to do with solid vs liquid fuel it was to do with the design of the plant. Had the reactor been a molten salt reactor but with those active electric pumps as emergency cooling, very similar problems would have emerged. There would have been less radioactive release, but with zero cooling it is not possible to guarantee even containment safety. The most elegant and superior solutions are found in passive, fail-safe emergency cooling systems.

In case of 1. a MSR with no resistance to an earthquake could shear primary piping simultaneously with the containment. That's a direct path from fission product to environment. Make no mistake, you will have significant activity release and a massive public scandal.

In case of 2. this has nothing to do with solid fuel.

In case of 3. This is easier to do with MSRs than with LWRs for a number of reasons, but it is NOT a given. It is easy to screw this up and I can honestly say I do not like most of the emergency cooling systems of proposed MSRs.

As for 4. It is conceivable to dream up a steam rupture accident with MSRs where multiple systems and HXs fail consecutively and let steam into the reactor primary. Then you will generate hydrogen. To prevent this requires engineering, it is not inherent safety it is inherently a risk that engineers will have to deal with.

Quote:
Solid fuel reactors are inherently unsafe


All power reactors have a degree of danger. There's so much activity in the fission products, and solid and fluid fueled reactors all have fission products in large quantity. Most are immobile with MSRs which is inherent safety, but keep in mind the engineered and physical weaknesses such as the offgas system... holding large amounts of nasty fresh FPs.

More abstractly, stairs and baths are not inherently safe either. So many people get killed by falling off stairs, drowning in baths, even pillows are real risk especially to children. Pillows have killed more people than LWRs. Evil evil pillows! Ban them all! Goes Greenwar and Foes of the earth, if they had any degree of internal consistency in reasoning.

We live in a dangerous world. Nuclear plants are the least of your worries.

That said for perspective, I do believe we should not kid ourselves about what we are talking about here. Any power reactor is serious business and we should not kid ourselves that we can sit back and relax because we have a liquid fuel that can't melt down. If we build them weak so they break at every earthquake and split open their containment buildings, or if we build them with active electric powered pumps for emergency cooling, or forget to consider the possibility of steam ruptures sending steam into the primary... we're in trouble, if not with a radiological risk, then with a public acceptance or regulatory risk.

Looking at the FHR (solid fuel) vs MSR (liquid fuel) shows my point about solid fuel in itself not being any problem. I'm firmly in the MSR camp and believe that there are ultimate cost and fuel cycle advantages to the MSR that can be capitalized on by the right design, but in safety terms I do not see how the FHR solid TRISO fuel makes it less safe than the liquid fuel of the MSR, considering the specific designs put forward.

The devil is in the safety systems and containment design not in solid vs liquid fuel.


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PostPosted: Mar 12, 2015 10:16 am 
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Cyril, I agree with the above....

- The point about Fukushima was that it required 1 AND 2 AND 3 AND 4 to go wrong. A MSR would normally stop it at points 3 and 4. Even if an earthquake sheared the reactor in half, you won't get a massive burning plume of radiation. (though if the sea then comes in, you will - I think - get

Except ....

- We live in a society which is safer than it's ever been. Arguably too safe - we can't do a moon landing within a decade anymore. If you can make a safer plane, people will welcome it, even if flying is incredibly safe already.

How do we sell MSRs on safety if we say that current reactors are safe enough?


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PostPosted: Mar 12, 2015 10:58 am 
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alexterrell wrote:
The point about Fukushima was that it required 1 AND 2 AND 3 AND 4 to go wrong.


Well, not really. If they had a passive core cooling system at Daiichi they could have saved all the units easily, despite the vulnerable electric system and excessive dependence of the plant on electricity and support systems. They could have walked away with just #3 implemented. Alternatively a bunkerized, flood-sealed electric system could have been used. Either would have saved the plant. # 4 is really just a consequence of the degrading event, it isn't a cause in itself. If you have cooling, you have nil hydrogen.

Quote:
- We live in a society which is safer than it's ever been. Arguably too safe - we can't do a moon landing within a decade anymore. If you can make a safer plane, people will welcome it, even if flying is incredibly safe already.

How do we sell MSRs on safety if we say that current reactors are safe enough?


This is certainly an honest question. The most honest answer I can give you is that MSRs can be safe with low cost and mass production settings that we need to scale up to meet coal face to face. It is more difficult to do with LWRs. But only if the regulatory and business environment recognize and allow this, is the honest caveat. The US approach clearly doesn't work, it is slow and expensive and the focus is on the wrong things.


Plus, there are fuel cycle (easy recycle, lower uranium usage) and market advantages (high temp market, Industrial heat) that are also attractive when looking at the future. Modular LWRs are going exactly in the wrong direction in these areas, they are going for lower temperature, increased fuel usage etc.


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PostPosted: Mar 19, 2015 3:05 pm 
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Quote:
- We live in a society which is safer than it's ever been. Arguably too safe - we can't do a moon landing within a decade anymore. If you can make a safer plane, people will welcome it, even if flying is incredibly safe already.

How do we sell MSRs on safety if we say that current reactors are safe enough?


The danger from LWRs is primarily (almost exclusively) a danger due to stupid actions based on fear. Specifically, I think it is a fear that something could go desperately wrong and wipe out a whole city. While LWRs have not put the public in danger due to radiation there is a lot of fear that is deadly. With MSR's we have a new chance at the PR campaign to remove that fear. It is much easier to get people to accept something new as being safe than to convince them that they were wrong about the dangers of LWRs. It will still be a PR battle and if we don't engage we will lose it but we do have a new chance. The arguments we can make are:
1) passive cooling
2) no motive force to push fission products into the environment
3) the fission products chemically combined with fluorine which makes them rather immobile in the environment.


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