2011 03 25
To suit itself, the media has fanned the fires of irrational nuclear hysteria unforgivably bypassing the simple fact.
The splitting of atoms generates heat. Too much heat at the source of generation leads to uncontrolled, unmanageble, explosive "meltDown". Thus nuclear-generated electricity requires management of heat by dissipation. Commonly, water is driven to flow past the source of heat generation at the fuel rod where heat is absorbed to a temperature less than the boiling point and this heated water continues its flow to a mechanism enabling the reverse flow of heat usually into a practically infinite body of cooler water such as a flowing river or ocean. The same cycle is most familiar to us as we drive. Heat generation from the explosion within the piston is absorbed by the water/coolant flowing past it to the provision for heat dissipation (radiator).
In the Japanese power plant, the flow of water was assured reportedly by the primary method and two backup methods, all depending on electricity. The primary backup method depends on burning a more robustly reliable supply of natural gas, a gas-powered electric generator. This depends on access to ambient air for both supply of oxygen, as well as for exhaust gas, primarily carbon dioxide. The height of the tsunami water level apparently exceeded the elevation of either or both intake or exhaust -- suffocating the generator.
The lesson is simply to consider, perhaps a series of increasing elevations provisioning input and exhaust. Diligence required. Hysteria not helpful.
Chinese advance pebble-bed nuc
the nuclear pebble
not fuel rod; fuel sphere
tao and the art of thermodynamic nuclear
2011 01 30
“deregulation — which essentially transferred nearly $100 billion in liabilities to electricity users”…
From 1943 to 1999 the U.S. government paid nearly $151 billion, in 1999 dollars, in subsidies for wind, solar and nuclear power, Marshall Goldberg of the Renewable Energy Policy Project, a research organization in Washington, wrote in a July 2000 report. Of this total, 96.3 percent went to nuclear power, the report said.
Still, these costs pale in comparison with the financial risks and subsidies that are likely to accompany the next wave of nuclear plant construction, Mr. Cooper said.
“While the cost estimates of nuclear power continue to rise, the potential for energy efficiency measures to reduce the need for energy are far cheaper.”
In a June 2009 report drawing on several earlier studies, Mr. Cooper said that energy efficiency, cogeneration and renewable sources could meet power needs at an average cost of 6 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with a cost of 12 cents to 20 cents per kilowatt hour for nuclear power.
Waste Site Un-Seen
The effect of the decision is unclear for now. Congress would have to appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars a year for the Energy Department to pursue the application. But the president’s budget for next year proposes no money at all; and while some members of the House are eager to appropriate funds, the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, is adamantly opposed to the project.
Yet the decision could keep the application alive long enough for the politics to change.
That would not end the debate over scientific and engineering issues related to the project, which is markedly different from the waste burial strategy being pursued in other countries. Some experts say the geology of the Nevada site, selected by Congress in 1987, is unsuitable. The Energy Department would have to convince the commission that the repository could contain the waste for hundreds of thousands of years.
In announcing his intention to give up on the Yucca Mountain plan, Mr. Obama said he would establish a commission to seek solutions to nuclear waste. But the commission, which began meeting this year, is not looking for alternative sites but considering ways of recycling and reusing some of the waste.
That could reduce the number of repositories needed, but at least one would still be required; national policy still dictates that the waste should eventually be buried.
SanF, CO, DC