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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2017 8:41 am 
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The PBS News Hour aired a segment last night on Gen 4 reactor efforts.

There is more time devoted to liquid sodium, but it was great to see them show the Oak Ridge Molten Salt Reactor Experiment. Leslie Dewan had some camera time, but unfortunately, no mention of FLIBE Energy. Also no real discussion of the key safety and waste aspects of thorium cycle fluid fuels which we all know and love.

However, I think the portrayal was largely positive, especially considering it was on what many would argue is a left-leaning program.

http://www.pbs.org/video/2365926250/


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PostPosted: Jan 05, 2017 9:24 am 
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Wow, that was really a bunch of garbage. I'm embarrassed for everyone involved.


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PostPosted: Jan 06, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Oh boy...doesn't bode well for their Jan 11th full documentary.


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PostPosted: Jan 07, 2017 7:42 pm 
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Kirk Sorensen wrote:
Wow, that was really a bunch of garbage. I'm embarrassed for everyone involved.

I did find one little shining nugget in there. It was Dr. Dewan pointing out that if we can't find energy cheaper than coal then we should not bother.

I keep hearing from the global warming alarmists on how we should tax this and subsidize that because coal is "bad". Well, it would be real easy to convince people to stop burning coal if offered something cheaper. Telling people that they must choose higher energy costs or higher taxes (which just go to subsidize those expensive energy producers) is doomed to fail. What will get people off of coal is something cheaper, not just something "better". Especially when "better" is defined as something that will not contribute to global warming in a time when people fear being able to pay the bills more than global warming, terrorism, or another nuclear accident.

Even though it is a bunch of garbage at least we can call this a "win" since people are talking about nuclear power, no?

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PostPosted: Jan 13, 2017 8:42 pm 
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From last Wednesday:

The Nuclear Option—How will we power the planet without wrecking the climate? Aired January 11, 2017 on PBS

ORNL's MSR is discussed with Leslie Dewan of Transatomic Power. I have a new appreciation of liquid metal (Na/K) design featured with the EBR-II. I have wondered when NOVA would feature aspects of this forum's goals. It's sad the general discussion cannot get more detailed. But much of those are buried in these pages (not indexed; some search capability).

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PostPosted: Jan 14, 2017 11:36 am 
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I thought this documentary would disappoint me, and it surely did.

They begin with an absurdity: former Japanese Prime Minister Nyoto Kan saying that he believed before the Fukushima accident that nuclear energy was immune to accident and perfectly safe. If he believed that, he is a total idiot who never paid attention to anything. He's just trying to psychologically blame others for his own failure.

The ominous music, the endless dwelling on the minutiae of the Fukushima plant. What the hell does this have to do with whether we should use nuclear power? A thousand year earthquake caused a tsunami that hit a plant with an emergency cooling system design flaw, and in such a way as to cause radiological release. Not a single mention of the other Japanese nuclear power plants, many of them much closer to the epicenter of the quake and many of them facing heavier shaking and a higher tsunami, and yet no failure and no radiological release.

The animations of "lava" and "magma" are just so rich. This documentary is telling me all about muon detectors instead of telling me about whether the "nuclear option" is a valid one for the future. This is nothing but sensationalism. I would have expected better from Miles O'Brien, but I have since learned that these shows are more about expounding fear rather than trying to make you smarter as a consumer and a citizen about an energy option.

Tritium and hydrogen bombs. Cut to an explosion in the Marshall Islands. Boy, that helps as the wonky scientist talks about dumping "tainted" water in the ocean. Now there's a guy spouting "linear, no-threshold" theory. 18,000 people died in the earthquake, yet all they're talking about is radiation and meltdowns.

Upbeat music. Nathan Myhrvold implying that primitive computers mean that the plant was poorly designed. Nope, the problem was that the emergency pumps were in the basement. Oh good, at last they're talking about that, nearly 30 minutes into the video.

AP-1000s with their skylight pool on the top of the containment vessel. Jose Reyes talking about NuScale and their 50 MW output, apiece. They talk about natural circulation as if no one has ever considered it before. They don't mention how natural circulation restricts the power output of the plant.

Charles Till talking about LMFBRs and Idaho National Lab, which they call "Argonne". I guess it was once called Argonne-West. Sodium-potassium coolant in the EBR-1, which they erroneously say "absorbs more heat than water". Totally untrue. Sodium has a higher thermal conductivity, but only has about a quarter the volumetric heat capacity of water or flibe. That's a real howler that Miles O'Brien should have caught. Then they go on to erroneously state that this high volumetric heat capacity is why the EBR-1 did not have to operate at high pressure. No Miles, that has nothing to do with it at all. "It was inherently safer." No it wasn't. The EBR-1 had a severe meltdown which they never mentioned, moving right along to EBR-2. I am glad they mentioned the 1986 loss-of-coolant tests at EBR-2. "Reactors can't be relied upon to shut themselves down," Chuck Till says. No Chuck, you know better. Reactors shut themselves down just fine. The reactors at Fukushima shut down just fine. The problem has always been the removal of decay heat from reactors. Chuck Till saying if you shut off the pumps at a normal reactor you'd have an explosion. Totally false. He really should know better than to say garbage like this. "Deprived of any cooling, this reactor did not melt down or explode." Totally false, the reactor was deprived of coolant circulation. There was a huge pool of liquid sodium that was drinking up thermal energy and getting hotter. Reactors like the EBR-1 and EBR-2 will melt down almost immediately if they are "deprived of any cooling". The test at EBR-2 deprived it of coolant circulation, not coolant. Again, what a bunch of junk in this "documentary".


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PostPosted: Jan 14, 2017 11:59 am 
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(continued)

"The robust cooling capacity of liquid metal..." Don't make me laugh. Chuck Till thought 1986 was the new dawn of LMFBR? Seriously, at that point the US had put tens of billions of dollars in LMFBR and had already cancelled most of the work in the field. Chuck Till knew this.

Now they're blaming the demise of sodium-cooled reactor technology on Rickover, because he selected water-cooled reactors. Rickover was correct to choose pressurized-water cooling for military submarine reactors. Atoms for Peace. PWRs on land: Shippingport. The tech "lock-in" for pressurized-water reactors. Anti-nuclear "environmentalists" chanting against nuclear. Edwin Lyman being a paid anti-nuclear spokesman like he always does. "The China Syndrome". Three-Mile Island. "Support for nuclear power evaporated."

Clinton in his state-of-the-union cancelling nuclear power funding and IFR/PRISM/EBR-2. Upbeat music. TREAT restart at INL. Mark Peters, director of INL, talking about gen-4 reactors. He says he is excited about gen-4. Really? Chuck Till is excited again. Bill Gates is talking at TED in 2010 about building new reactors through TerraPower. Nathan Myhrvold talking about the travelling-wave reactor with a cool assembly animation, saying he won't have to refuel it or reprocess the fuel for sixty years. No way. He says the reactors need no enrichment, just depleted uranium. Only partially correct, and mostly false. Enriched uranium or plutonium is needed to start the travelling-wave reactor. O'Brien implies that the storage of depleted uranium is a problem. No it's not. Depleted uranium is harmless, the only risk is the fact that it's in a volatile hexafluoride chemical configuration, not that it's uranium. He says Paducah becomes the energy capital of the United States. Huh Nathan? Are you saying that the depleted uranium can never be moved and has to be consumed in Paducah? No of course you're not, so don't say dumb stuff like that. Now they're saying that the NRC can't license sodium reactors. The NRC would disagree. Now they imply they're going to China because the regulatory environment is easier. Myhrvold is saying they've solved all the technical problems. Really Nathan? Care to show me the cladding material that holds up for sixty years? I didn't think so. You know it doesn't exist. Myhrvold saying he wants competition, no he doesn't.

Here comes Leslie. She says the changing demographics of nuclear engineering leads to innovation. Climate change is the motivator. Fukushima-Daiichi was orders-of-magnitude worse than she thought it would be. A picture of the Molten-Salt Reactor Experiment building. Liquid-fluoride salts, bright green. Description of the negative temperature coefficient. Pretty good description of the freeze plug and drain talk concept. They imply the corrosion problem is overwhelming. It isn't.

Coal and LNG burning in Japan have blown Japanese CO2 targets out of the water. Leslie says you have to use nuclear to meet CO2 reduction goals. She's right about that. But why did they wait til the last few seconds of the documentary to ask this question that should have been asked at the beginning of the documentary, when there was some time to explore it? No, they ask it literally at the last second and do not do the question justice. They spent too much time scaring us with icewalls and water tanks and muon detectors and crying elderly Japanese to actually go into the central question of the documentary, should we use nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions?

Final grade: C- if I'm being generous. It would have been a D without the MSR animations.


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PostPosted: Jan 16, 2017 11:07 am 
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Thank you, Kirk. I for one needed to know the grade on this one from a qualified judge of the subject. It speaks volumes for the game stakes—my money is on FE. (My budget doesn't allow for much, but I purchased my own copy of the October 2015 EPRI LFTR report.) Wow, Kirk. What ever happened to The Good Reactor? Maybe the filmmakers will need to consider this NOVA—a highly visible program—and wait for the Trump position on new nuclear?—and re-edit accordingly with new footage? The question morphs this one to "FE LFTR PR".

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—Joel A. Barker, USAF strategic planning consultant


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PostPosted: Jan 19, 2017 2:24 am 
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What bothered me most about the program was it took them until halfway through to mention that no one died at Fukushima. I believe that is an important thing to note. While the cleanup will take a long time, and be very expensive, no one has died.

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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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