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Nuclear Power Resurrection

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Nuclear Power Resurrection

Old 9th Nov 2008, 09:32
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Ecce Homo! Loquitur...
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Nuclear Power Resurrection

Grauniad: Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes

£13m shed-size reactors will be delivered by lorry

Nuclear power plants smaller than a garden shed and able to power 20,000 homes will be on sale within five years, say scientists at Los Alamos, the US government laboratory which developed the first atomic bomb. The miniature reactors will be factory-sealed, contain no weapons-grade material, have no moving parts and will be nearly impossible to steal because they will be encased in concrete and buried underground.

The US government has licensed the technology to Hyperion, a New Mexico-based company which said last week that it has taken its first firm orders and plans to start mass production within five years. 'Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt anywhere in the world,' said John Deal, chief executive of Hyperion. 'They will cost approximately $25m [£13m] each. For a community with 10,000 households, that is a very affordable $250 per home.'

Deal claims to have more than 100 firm orders, largely from the oil and electricity industries, but says the company is also targeting developing countries and isolated communities. 'It's leapfrog technology,' he said. The company plans to set up three factories to produce 4,000 plants between 2013 and 2023. 'We already have a pipeline for 100 reactors, and we are taking our time to tool up to mass-produce this reactor.'

The first confirmed order came from TES, a Czech infrastructure company specialising in water plants and power plants. 'They ordered six units and optioned a further 12. We are very sure of their capability to purchase,' said Deal. The first one, he said, would be installed in Romania. 'We now have a six-year waiting list. We are in talks with developers in the Cayman Islands, Panama and the Bahamas.'

The reactors, only a few metres in diameter, will be delivered on the back of a lorry to be buried underground. They must be refuelled every 7 to 10 years. Because the reactor is based on a 50-year-old design that has proved safe for students to use, few countries are expected to object to plants on their territory. An application to build the plants will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission next year.

'You could never have a Chernobyl-type event - there are no moving parts,' said Deal. 'You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it's too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.'

Other companies are known to be designing micro-reactors. Toshiba has been testing 200KW reactors measuring roughly six metres by two metres. Designed to fuel smaller numbers of homes for longer, they could power a single building for up to 40 years.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 09:43
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Finally what, on the face of it, a viable and safe form of energy generation.

Will we be able to eventually scrap the monstrous, inefficient and ultimately pointless windmills currently developing like acne on the face of the world?
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 09:52
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About bloody time,I remember reading about the Nuclear powered Merchant Ship Savanah,she did 250 thousand miles on a lump of metal slightly larger than a shoe box,we would be insane to ignore a power source like that.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 12:01
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"10 cents a watt"? Someone doesn't know their electrical units. A watt is the rate at which electricity is used, but you pay for by the Kilowatt-Hour. That's the amount of energy used by a 2000W heater running for 1/2 hour - which costs about 10p in UK, doesn't it?
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 12:35
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windmills have some uses

Don't scrap the wind turbines, use them to grind up the useless, backward looking, brainless politicians who have perpetrated the monstrous bloody things over the countryside and in some of the best sailing areas in the world. They will work though, there will be so many of them that there will be no room for residential housing and we won't need electricity anyway.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 12:37
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Having just received a bill, I can tell you its actually about a third more than that, bnt.

How much does it cost in Dublin out of interest?
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 12:48
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Originally Posted by Duckbutt View Post
Having just received a bill, I can tell you its actually about a third more than that, bnt.

How much does it cost in Dublin out of interest?
Dang - sorry. On my last bill it went up to 15.97c per kWh = 12.98p - but I thought the UK was cheaper. I won't be using the heaters much this winter, but I have blankets and jumpers to help there. Let's see if it comes down, now that the prices of oil and gas are coming down.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 13:00
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Our goal is to generate electricity for 10 cents a watt
Or $100 (£63.90) per kilowatt, which sounds about right for the true through life cost of Nuclear power.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 13:08
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Mini reactors as described sound like the answer to many of the Worlds problems. With the reactor safely underground radiation should not be a hazard. The ecofreak ideal of electric cars, free district heating via the reactors cooling water system, and a pollution free environment seems possible. Not to say the reduction in our dependance on oil. But where does the reactor fuel come from, and are the natives there friendly to us?
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 13:25
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Are you on speaking terms with our Neighbors To The North ? <G>

Uranium mining - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Old 9th Nov 2008, 19:31
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Good idea these small reactors. Burying the things, not so much when you consider water table contamination issues.

In the states, media disingenuously trumpets 'alternative' energy, like nuclear power, as the answer to our dependence on foreign oil. The lie here is in our generating facility's heat source, which is mainly coal followed by natural gas. Oil is at or near the bottom of the list, yet the point is still put.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 19:34
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If we didn't have overpopulation that's getting worse, there wouldn't be a problem.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 20:24
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Yeah but we do, so that response isn't a solution.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 20:50
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Seems like an eminently sensible idea to me, assuming they can be stored intact at their end of their lives. Clean mini-CHP plants also look okay to me, particularly those which burn refuse, as long as they're not in my back yard. Not sure about the viability/economics of wind power - seem like they only came to be built in large numbers as a consequence of heavy government subsidies around the world. The domestic ones they were pedalling a few years back can only power a light bulb or two; the larger wind farms seem to be miles from any population centres - transmission losses render them pretty much pointless IMO. They will only ever provide a few % of our energy needs if that.
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 22:07
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Radeng / BW

More background radiation might help..
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Old 9th Nov 2008, 22:30
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Lets see

The article is from the Grauniad (Hurray) :How many have been delivered to date? - Are there any quality control issues ? : Mini Meltdown ? - Loss of coolant - what about de commissioning issues ? is there a buy back at the end of use. How are the reactor cores to be refueled ?: Dig the things up - and a can opener - Easy job !
Insuring the things - "We had one but it got knicked".

Does the mini reactor have "Other uses" ?.

A lot can happen in five years - many people will have forgot that they have the article by tomorrow morning.

A kite flying exercise - A big one. Shame about all those windmills producing Giga Watt Hours of Base load demand on windy days only - Ha Ha. This is a 30 Year problem - not a shed in the yard. Yeee Gods.

Slow news day. ( lights out for all by christmas 2012 )


Last edited by Guest 112233; 9th Nov 2008 at 22:42. Reason: apelling again.
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Old 10th Nov 2008, 10:22
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''loss of coolant'' issues. ?

Not sure about these mini jobs, but full scale plants these days can be built intrinsically safe, i.e. fail safe in any condition, & also produce around 4% of the active waste in comparison to early generation systems.

If those sandal wearing pillocks ever woke up to facts about N-power these days......

I wish
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Old 10th Nov 2008, 10:29
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How do they work? If it's a conventional approach with generators and the like, then cooling and lubrication are a problem for a 'no maintenance' installation. But many years ago (early 60s?) there was a thing which I believe was called a SNAP, which used the heat from nuclear reaction to heat thermocouples, and so produce DC. I seem to remember one was used in Antartica, where it had the advantage of a very cool 't'other end' for the thermocouples. The other advantage of this approach is that you could use nuclear waste, which currently you have to keep cool.
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Old 10th Nov 2008, 12:07
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Guess no longer boys..

Hyperion Power Generation
...What is Hyperionís output?
Approximately 70 megawatts (MW) of heat (thermal energy) and 25 megawatts (MW) of electrical power via steam turbine....
How is Hyperion Less Expensive?
Hyperion offers a 30% reduction in capital costs from conventional gigawatt reactor installations (from US$2,000 per kW to US$1,400 per kW). Hyperion also offers more than a 50% reduction in operating costs (based on costs for field-generation of steam in heavy oil recovery operations), from US$7 per million BTU for natural gas to US$3 per million BTU for Hyperion. The possibility of mass production, operation and standardization of design for the Hyperion power module allows for significant savings. ...
...How does Hyperion work?
Unlike conventional designs, the proposed reactor is self-regulating through the inherent properties of uranium hydride, which serves as a combination fuel and moderator. The temperature-driven mobility of the hydrogen contained in the hydride controls the nuclear activity. If the core temperature increases over the set point, the hydrogen is driven out of the core, the moderation drops, and the power production decreases. If the temperature drops, the hydrogen returns and the process is reversed. Thus the design is inherently fail-safe and will require minimal human oversight. The compact nature and inherent safety open the possibility for low-cost mass production and operation of the reactors.
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Old 10th Nov 2008, 12:43
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inherently fail-safe and will require minimal human oversight
Was all in favour until I read this - that's pretty exactly how Chernobyl was described.
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