Modular Nuclear Reactors

We also build massive FF complexes in the middle of hurricane alley. Is that ok to support?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Boat said:

We also build massive FF complexes in the middle of hurricane alley. Is that ok to support?

Not really.  I think all offshore drilling should be banned, but the incidents that have occurred offshore don't make the ocean sterile for 20,000 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, Marina Schwarz said:

Are Pint-Sized Nuclear Reactors A Cheap Way To Cut Greenhouse Gas Levels?

Modular seems to be the way forward in more than one energy segment.

It looks good on paper, but you know darn good and well there's going to be that ONE guy......

http://vt.co/sci-tech/innovation/david-hahn-boy-scout-built-nuclear-reactor/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How did you translate modular into unlicensed?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Marina Schwarz said:

How did you translate modular into unlicensed?

The problem is that everyone, including posters here, translates the ideas being floated into whatever their personal distastes might be.  Let's go back to the underlying article, which speaks of a laboratory level developer designing and building a "modular reactor."  Now, what exactly do they have in mind?

It turns out that the concept involves a smallish self-contained reactor, of 45 MW, which can be twinned up to 12 units together, to produce 540 MW in one installation, thus being at the lower end of the scale of existing plants.  This is nothing new.  "Modular" reactors of this size have been produced by General Atomics for decades.  A 100 MW version sits inside every large US naval ship; two inside each submarine, and 4 inside each aircraft carrier.  (Caveat: that 100 MW number is my recollection; I have not double-checked it). But, remember this: there is nothing "new" or forward-thinking about the G.A> reactors; they are as a substantive matter simple pressurized-water reactors. 

A forward-thinking, "new" modular reactor would be built on different principles; these would likely be molten-salt units, which are inherently self-regulating and fail-safe.  These reactors run on nuclear waste which has accumulated over the decades, thus making the requirement of waste storage at Yucca Mountain a past idea.  There is enough nuclear waste out there to run the reactors to provide US electricity for the next 500 years.  Such reactors, built on an assembly line and trucked to the power site on a flatbed, similar to moving a large shipping container, promise a whole new level of cost reduction.  And yes, you can envision such a reactor in each town or city or large industrial plant, silently sitting there churning out the electricity, a totally stable power platform. 

I predict the USA will never go there.  The American people do not have the collective imagination to do anything like that. Rather, they will spend their billions on solar panels from China and windmill machines from Germany. "Nuclear" translates for them into poisoning the planet for 200,000 years, notwithstanding that the entire planet is nuclear and radiating from isotope decay.  Would small nuke plants wreck the oil and gas industry?  Yes, they probably would.  Will they ever get built?  Probably.  Where will the first ones end up?  Probably in Iran.  And there are reasons for that, which I shall not digress into here.  Cheers. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Europeans are even worse with nuclear.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

13 hours ago, Oil_Engineer said:

Not really.  I think all offshore drilling should be banned, but the incidents that have occurred offshore don't make the ocean sterile for 20,000 years.

Neither does nuclear.... Hiroshima... is a city, and so is Nagasaki.  Fact is, people could have moved back into zone around Chernobyl decades ago.  Fukishima?  What radiation levels.  It blew out to sea.  Its a joke.  The effects are bad for about a decade as the quick stuff burns off.  Otherwise, not a problem anymore than going out in the sun is a problem.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

The problem is that everyone, including posters here, translates the ideas being floated into whatever their personal distastes might be.  Let's go back to the underlying article, which speaks of a laboratory level developer designing and building a "modular reactor."  Now, what exactly do they have in mind?

It turns out that the concept involves a smallish self-contained reactor, of 45 MW, which can be twinned up to 12 units together, to produce 540 MW in one installation, thus being at the lower end of the scale of existing plants.  This is nothing new.  "Modular" reactors of this size have been produced by General Atomics for decades.  A 100 MW version sits inside every large US naval ship; two inside each submarine, and 4 inside each aircraft carrier.  (Caveat: that 100 MW number is my recollection; I have not double-checked it). But, remember this: there is nothing "new" or forward-thinking about the G.A> reactors; they are as a substantive matter simple pressurized-water reactors. 

A forward-thinking, "new" modular reactor would be built on different principles; these would likely be molten-salt units, which are inherently self-regulating and fail-safe.  These reactors run on nuclear waste which has accumulated over the decades, thus making the requirement of waste storage at Yucca Mountain a past idea.  There is enough nuclear waste out there to run the reactors to provide US electricity for the next 500 years.  Such reactors, built on an assembly line and trucked to the power site on a flatbed, similar to moving a large shipping container, promise a whole new level of cost reduction.  And yes, you can envision such a reactor in each town or city or large industrial plant, silently sitting there churning out the electricity, a totally stable power platform. 

I predict the USA will never go there.  The American people do not have the collective imagination to do anything like that. Rather, they will spend their billions on solar panels from China and windmill machines from Germany. "Nuclear" translates for them into poisoning the planet for 200,000 years, notwithstanding that the entire planet is nuclear and radiating from isotope decay.  Would small nuke plants wreck the oil and gas industry?  Yes, they probably would.  Will they ever get built?  Probably.  Where will the first ones end up?  Probably in Iran.  And there are reasons for that, which I shall not digress into here.  Cheers. 

I have worked on Modular HPWR.  The design is beyond stupid for several reasons. 

1) Not enough nuclear reaction mass creating a LOW temperature which means ULTRA low efficiency.  We are talking less than 20%

2) Still too large to transport

3) Require higher enrichment of Uranium... gets back to #1

*** NOW *** IF, uh hem, IF you go with a modular breeder reactor that does not use fuel rods?  HELL YES!  High Temp salt bath.  But this requires many Billions and should be the #1 priority at the department of Energy as it would 1) advance science and 2) Eat most of our stored nuclear waste.  But will never see the light of day because breeder reactors create Plutonium and we are playing make believe that this will fall under civilian control and somehow in utopian moron land some "civilian" will make a nuclear bomb...As if you cannot already do this with a normal HPWR.... Just insert, higher enrichment uranium rod... which is PRECISELY why those designs were pursued to begin with in the 50s instead of the liquid SALT!!!  Produce weapons grade Uranium.  Salt reactors, separating the Plutonium before it gets eaten is VERY difficult. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Al here, rebel thinker. Modular reactors might the one thing needed in a country with more than 7,000 islands like the Philippines. You think so, folks?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/23/2019 at 6:22 PM, Al G said:

Hi, Al here, rebel thinker. Modular reactors might the one thing needed in a country with more than 7,000 islands like the Philippines. You think so, folks?

No, they just have to run the underwater power cables for better grid stability.  HVDC solves this.  AC and underwater cables of any length/power rating do not work well.  Couldn't do HVDC when power grids were first made.  We can now.  Your islands are not that far apart. HVDC is the answer.  As for power source.... Could be nuclear. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/28/2019 at 10:12 AM, mthebold said:

Anyway, small modular nuclear is a solved technical problem.  What's needed to get the politicians on board? 

That part is impossible.  Cannot be done.  To politicians, nuclear power is the third rail of politics:  you step on it, you are fried.  

What will happen is that the rabid anti-nuke fundamentalists will go totally bezerk and massively come out in an "altered mental state," complete with white foaming at the mouth, ranting about how nuclear power will destroy all mankind in some apocalypse.  It has a certain Taliban stylistic component.  No politician is going to touch it.  Therefore, China and India will continue to exploit and burn lots and lots of coal. Indeed, I predict that India will go back to operating coal-powered locomotives on their railroads. The technical reason is that with new welded plate development for high-pressure vessels, you could construct locomotives with over 300 psi steam pressure and one locomotive would generate 5,000 hp., allowing for a steam card that would have a power extraction from the coal better than an oil engine.  What wrecked the steam engine in the West was the labor cost (and manpower requirements) to operate and maintain those engines, with sleeve bearings and hand oiling ports.  Today all those limits are history and India has lots of surplus labor to put to work at pittance wages, so that is not the limiting factor at all. Coal is cheap. 

Who is going to spend the money that nobody has to build nuclear reactor and string catenary wire when you can send out a train running on cheap coal?  Not these politicians, that's for sure.  I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Maine locomotives will be running on dried wood for fuel source soon enough.  The vast wood lots over millions of acres, intended for the paper industry, are collapsed due to paperless offices. What is going to happen with all that wood?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/22/2019 at 4:59 AM, Marina Schwarz said:

Are Pint-Sized Nuclear Reactors A Cheap Way To Cut Greenhouse Gas Levels?

Modular seems to be the way forward in more than one energy segment.

There are good reasons to do small, modular nuclear.  Most of these reasons are to do with financing, energy markets, and regulatory details of construction.  Some of the reasons are technical, but I imagine the technical benefits aren't the main drivers. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 3/30/2019 at 5:28 AM, Jan van Eck said:

 The vast wood lots over millions of acres, intended for the paper industry, are collapsed due to paperless offices. What is going to happen with all that wood?  

1) Recycling of Paper is an excellent source of paper and cheap to process unlike plastics.  It now is ~65% of all paper sourced in USA which is still the worlds largest producer/exporter of paper/cardboard/toilet paper.  https://paperonweb.com/USA.htm

2) one reason those paper mills are not producing is because exports from USA has gone down and rest of the world is logging far more creating the obvious by product of sawdust, the optimum paper source. 

As for use other than paper?  Turn it into charcoal and start tilling it into our farmlands so the soil holds far more minerals producing more food on fewer acres and using less fertilizers. 

Finally get some large trees again, so we can selectively harvest and people will pay BIG $$$$ for real clear wood paneling with wide boards.   Same reason the most sought after trees are large clear Maple, Cherry, Walnut, Hickory, Oak, etc trees in the Eastern USA and people go out of their way to almost destroy their chansaw by cutting as close to the ground as possible.  Some even go so far as to dig out around the roots and get down another 6 inches so their peeler log can be a foot longer and a MUCH higher price.  The walnut industry is STILL trying to recover from WWII and the use of walnut for gunstocks etc.  By recover I mean walnut that has very little sap wood and is therefore NOT wasted.  Quite a bit of walnut is cut, but a gigantic percentage is wasted as it is not heart wood because the trees are too danged small.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

There are good reasons to do small, modular nuclear.  Most of these reasons are to do with financing, energy markets, and regulatory details of construction.  Some of the reasons are technical, but I imagine the technical benefits aren't the main drivers. 

Making nuclear reactors which only use 0.05% of the nuclear fuel is stupid.  Small nuclear reactors are only 60% as efficient as the larger ones.  Yes, they are safer as they only need a pool of water and are self sealing containers which means in an emergency you just lift the module and throw it in a lake or the ocean.  Since the modules are made from SS, it will never rust etc so it can sit there forever.  But safer from stupid design is still stupid. 

After working on the concept for a couple years it became quite evident it was beyond stupid design.  I will only support a liquid uranium or liquid thorium salt thermal breeder reactor.  Anything else is, dangerous, shortsighted, and frankly, just lazy.  Both of the mentioned reactors uses 100% of the uranium in the world and in Thorium's case, a Uranium enrichment single plant which creates starter fuel to get the Thorium going and once it is going all you need is thorium which you can add as you go along as it gets used.  There is 3X more Thorium on this earth than Uranium and it has far HIGHER % concentration which means available resource to extract is probably several times greater than uranium AND Thorium is a waste product out of mines all around the world.  Do not even have to mine it.  It is essentially free.  So, naturally this will not get done because power hungry people will never support a waste product being our main power source.... Can't make tons of money on that...

Maybe China will make it work. We shall see. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Wastral said:

Making nuclear reactors which only use 0.05% of the nuclear fuel is stupid.  Small nuclear reactors are only 60% as efficient as the larger ones.  Yes, they are safer as they only need a pool of water and are self sealing containers which means in an emergency you just lift the module and throw it in a lake or the ocean.  Since the modules are made from SS, it will never rust etc so it can sit there forever.  But safer from stupid design is still stupid. 

After working on the concept for a couple years it became quite evident it was beyond stupid design.  I will only support a liquid uranium or liquid thorium salt thermal breeder reactor.  Anything else is, dangerous, shortsighted, and frankly, just lazy.  Both of the mentioned reactors uses 100% of the uranium in the world and in Thorium's case, a Uranium enrichment single plant which creates starter fuel to get the Thorium going and once it is going all you need is thorium which you can add as you go along as it gets used.  There is 3X more Thorium on this earth than Uranium and it has far HIGHER % concentration which means available resource to extract is probably several times greater than uranium AND Thorium is a waste product out of mines all around the world.  Do not even have to mine it.  It is essentially free.  So, naturally this will not get done because power hungry people will never support a waste product being our main power source.... Can't make tons of money on that...

Maybe China will make it work. We shall see.  

Your forgot to mention that Thorium doesn't require the most expensive step of nuclear fuel production: enrichment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

Your forgot to mention that Thorium doesn't require the most expensive step of nuclear fuel production: enrichment. 

Read again bud: Must have U235 to start the reaction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(edited)

18 hours ago, Wastral said:

Read again bud: Must have U235 to start the reaction. 

The fact that you're so self-confident makes this more entertaining. 

What we need is a neutron source to breed a fertile nuclear material.  We would use U235 because we already have lots of it, but it's not strictly necessary.  The plutonium lying around in spent nuclear fuel would also work.  We could also use a particle accelerator to breed enough U233 to start a reactor. 

That aside, you missed the economic point I was making: if the vast majority of your fuel does not require enrichment, then your fuel can be cheaper.  This would be the case when using U235 to bootstrap a thorium process. 

Edited by BenFranklin'sSpectacles
Typo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

7 hours ago, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

The fact that you're so self-confident makes this more entertaining. 

What we need is a neutron source to breed a fertile nuclear material.  We would use U235 because we already have lots of it, but it's not strictly necessary.  The plutonium lying around in spent nuclear fuel would also work.  We could also use a particle accelerator to breed enough U233 to start a reactor. 

That aside, you missed the economic point I was making: if the vast majority of your fuel does not require enrichment, then your fuel can be cheaper.  This would be the case when using U235 to bootstrap a thorium process. 

Ah, you wish to be purely technical about it.... Fine 🙄... we need a neutron source for Thorium thermal breeder or fast breeders....  As if anyone will allow the use of Plutonium in the civilian market to start the Thorium reactor.... 👹

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, Wastral said:

Ah, you wish to be purely technical about it.... Fine 🙄... we need a neutron source for Thorium thermal breeder or fast breeders....  As if anyone will allow the use of Plutonium in the civilian market to start the Thorium reactor.... 👹

The world has been using plutonium for decades; it's called MOX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On 4/27/2019 at 10:46 PM, BenFranklin'sSpectacles said:

The world has been using plutonium for decades; it's called MOX

Your "world" is a couple Government run reactors in Europe. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, Wastral said:

Your "world" is a couple Government run reactors in Europe.  

You're short at least 28 European reactors, China, India, Canada, Japan, and Russia

The US MOX ban is unusual.  It was also an unexpected decision.  US reactors were originally designed and build with the assumption that fuel would be reprocessed, that being the safest, most economical way.  It was president Carter, bless his heart, who ignorantly decided nuclear "waste" was dangerous.  That's just how it goes when half a culture abandons reason, triggering a multi-decade cold civil war. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This month's Scientific American has an article about new designs for fuel rods / pellets.  Short read - but it's nice that research is starting up again in a field that has been relatively stagnant for a long time - oddly in response to competition from solar and cheap natural gas.

Small reactors are great for the military but if too many get out there it creates too many opportunities for a dirty bomb, not a A-bomb, just a regular bomb attached to some radioactive garbage / small reactor to spread pollution.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0