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THE Nuclear Waste Thread (merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

Unread postby Battle_Scarred_Galactico » Tue 17 May 2005, 09:52:19

How are you going to "mine" the Earths crust ?

How are you going build all these reactors ?

How are you going to produce food for all these people with just nuclear power ?
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Unread postby Doly » Tue 17 May 2005, 10:29:06

Battle_Scarred_Galactico wrote:How are you going build all these reactors ?


Same way you build reactors so far, I guess.

Battle_Scarred_Galactico wrote:How are you going to produce food for all these people with just nuclear power ?


Same way food has been produced for ages: by cultivation.

Peak oil doesn't mean that the whole of civilization collapses instantly. You still can do a whole lot of things after peak oil with a) the remaining oil and b) whatever other resources there are around.
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Unread postby Battle_Scarred_Galactico » Wed 18 May 2005, 03:32:11

Again how are you going to "mine" the Earths' crust ? I should imagine thats' damn hard at the best of times, let alone with a lack of oil to boot.

It's going to take loads of energy to build and maintain all these new nuclear plants. What about the waste?

I think we've done enough damage.
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Unread postby Liamj » Wed 18 May 2005, 04:20:23

So this is where the tech-cultists are hanging out...

Dezakin wrote:Aren't dams essentially permanent structures though? I mean given that most damable rivers are allready damed, the dam itself becomes a part of the ecosystem over time, does it not?

Gee, we've got these bloody great lumps of concrete disrupting fish spawning, water purification, silt recharge and floodplain agriculture, so lets just put up with them & learn to love them?!? Wow, hows that for ambition.
Same logic could be used on the next mega-meteorite to crash thru the atmosphere and make a new ocean. Does that make it a good thing? We're all now accustomed to the cancer epidemic (cheers atmospheric testing of nukes, organic carbon/phthalates/dioxins/pcb's/etc), does that make them a good thing?


doly wrote:
Battle_Scarred_Galactico wrote:
How are you going build all these reactors ?

Same way you build reactors so far, I guess.
Battle_Scarred_Galactico wrote:
How are you going to produce food for all these people with just nuclear power ?

Same way food has been produced for ages: by cultivation.

Doly is very brief here, cos he knows he can't actually answer BSGs questions. How will we build & fuel reactors without the massive cheap energy subsidy? - NOT 'the same way .. so far', however hard doly wishes. Oh, except the stockpiling of waste at reactors - currently do it cos they've got no idea what else to do, in future they wont have any options at all.
How will nuclear energy meet agricultures demands for N, P, K etc? Is doly aware ag has evolved a little in recent centuries, and in fact 6.5+billion ppl are not fed the 'same way.. for ages'? If yes, he is guilty of misrepresentation, if no, is his mum aware hes up so late?
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Unread postby Dezakin » Wed 18 May 2005, 05:37:20

Again how are you going to "mine" the Earths' crust ? I should imagine thats' damn hard at the best of times, let alone with a lack of oil to boot.


The same way we mine for gold in poor ores today. You dont need oil to do that. You can run all of your mining equipment either on electricity, hydrogen, or diesel fuel synthesized from air and water.

Lets assume we deplete all the high grade medium grade and low grade ores and are only left with granite and sedimentary rock. You still have in granite 10-100 times as much energy per ton in nuclear fuel as you do in a ton of coal.

Doly is very brief here, cos he knows he can't actually answer BSGs questions. How will we build & fuel reactors without the massive cheap energy subsidy? - NOT 'the same way .. so far', however hard doly wishes.

Energy from nuclear power isn't expensive. Its cost competitive with coal today. I'm afraid you'll have to be more illustrative than mere assertions to be compelling. What in the construction of nuclear reactors is so petroleum intensive that it is impossible to imagine it in the absense of cheap oil?
Oh, except the stockpiling of waste at reactors - currently do it cos they've got no idea what else to do, in future they wont have any options at all.

No, currently they do it because the federal government has forced utilities to pay a tax for construction of a repository that they were assured would be built. If they left it up to the utilities they would likely just store it next to the reactor in giant concrete casks. Maybe not a solution for eternity but it should do for a couple hundred years.
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Unread postby Battle_Scarred_Galactico » Wed 18 May 2005, 06:48:05

"What in the construction of nuclear reactors is so petroleum intensive that it is impossible to imagine it in the absense of cheap oil?"


What do you think these things are made with... slave power ? machines need oil.
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Unread postby Liamj » Wed 18 May 2005, 19:02:22

Dezakin wrote:
What do you think these things are made with... slave power ? machines need oil.


Which can be synthesized from biomass, limestone, or air and water given electricity as an input.

And its not that hard to imagine industrial equipment being mostly electrical either.


Deza, can you really not see the circular logic you are using here? You think we can generate electricity using nukes built with electicity? Can you point us to a +10ton truck running on electricity? No. What about a mine that runs solely on electricity? No (tho Loy Yang & Hazelwood here in Vic run their augers & dredges on electric, being coal mines RIGHT next to power stations).

What in the construction of nuclear reactors is so petroleum intensive that it is impossible to imagine it in the absense of cheap oil?
workforce transport, very high quality engineering (multiple metals, v.high temp refining, precision machining), abundant fresh water, lotsa concrete. True, each of these might just concievably be arranged in a declining energy supply world, but at huge opportunity cost, and with STILL NO SAFE WASTE DISPOSAL.
I don't really mind if US goes for more nukes, i live in southern hemisphere. But it would be a stupid move, and your childrens children will curse you.
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Unread postby Dezakin » Thu 19 May 2005, 06:07:33

You think we can generate electricity using nukes built with electicity? Can you point us to a +10ton truck running on electricity?

I can quite clearly illustrate the principles for running a 10+ton truck running on electricity: you crack hydrogen out of water and carbon out of lymestone, partially oxidse the carbon and mix in hydrogen for syngas, run the syngas over various catalysts, and presto, you have diesel fuel or gasoline. I can provide all the details if you like, and give rough cost estimates as well.

Is it so hard to believe that we can build reactors only using electricity?
workforce transport, very high quality engineering (multiple metals, v.high temp refining, precision machining), abundant fresh water, lotsa concrete. True, each of these might just concievably be arranged in a declining energy supply world, but at huge opportunity cost, and with STILL NO SAFE WASTE DISPOSAL.


First, my thesis is that energy isn't 'declining'. Cheap liquid fuel is. Everything on your list is a vague commoditie without any details illustrating just why cheap petroleum alone can supply them. You're arguing from your gut here.

Second, the waste disposal issue is vastly overrated. The volume of waste is so very small that you could stick the entire lot produced over a century in a number of warehouses. In fact thats my preferred method. Why do you need to treat nuclear waste as if you need to shunt it away for all time, when most of it will be as radioactive as dirt in a couple of centuries, and the actinides are likely to have market value by then anyways. Revisit the issue in fifty or a hundred years.

Finally, though I'm enamored with nuclear technology, I only advocate its use as an illustration of why we aren't running out of inexpensive energy. We are running out of inexensive fuel, which is an altogether different matter. I expect nuclear fission power will be replaced by something cheaper and more cost effective over the next century or two.
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Unread postby FatherOfTwo » Thu 19 May 2005, 10:51:48

Dezakin wrote:First, my thesis is that energy isn't 'declining'. Cheap liquid fuel is. Everything on your list is a vague commoditie without any details illustrating just why cheap petroleum alone can supply them. You're arguing from your gut here.

Finally, though I'm enamored with nuclear technology, I only advocate its use as an illustration of why we aren't running out of inexpensive energy. We are running out of inexensive fuel, which is an altogether different matter. I expect nuclear fission power will be replaced by something cheaper and more cost effective over the next century or two.


I think most do underestimate the lengths to which we are going to go to keep things going. We will synthesize fuel. We will go absolutely gang busters on nuclear and coal, and the environment is going to suffer for it. But what Dezakin is missing is the enormous, and I mean enormous upheaval that the loss of cheap oil is going to create. It is just too big a piece of the pie, and our infrastructure and economic system are SO dependent on it, that it will be the major event of our lifetimes. We're going to try to replace it, but we are going to fall way short. In fact, we may be too late... did you see that the first nuclear plant won't be ready until 2014?!
That nuclear plant and many more need to be coming online well before we reach peak, which many are still forecasting to happen in the next few years. That is too little too late Dezakin.


Dezakin wrote:Second, the waste disposal issue is vastly overrated. The volume of waste is so very small that you could stick the entire lot produced over a century in a number of warehouses. In fact thats my preferred method. Why do you need to treat nuclear waste as if you need to shunt it away for all time, when most of it will be as radioactive as dirt in a couple of centuries, and the actinides are likely to have market value by then anyways. Revisit the issue in fifty or a hundred years.


I’m not going to touch that with a ten foot pole. Well, actually, where do you live? I’d like to propose building a waste storage warehouse right next to your place.
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Unread postby Dezakin » Thu 19 May 2005, 13:44:32

I think most do underestimate the lengths to which we are going to go to keep things going. We will synthesize fuel. We will go absolutely gang busters on nuclear and coal, and the environment is going to suffer for it. But what Dezakin is missing is the enormous, and I mean enormous upheaval that the loss of cheap oil is going to create.


Do I imply that there wont be consequences? There certainly will be at least a long recession as the economy contracts and restructures. It will not spell the end of civilization or the apex of human achievement however. In the big bad scenerio, which I honestly find laughibly implausible, millions die before the restructuring around nuclear electricity and expensive fuel. But we will restructure.

But the more realistic scenario is that we will simply start a slow migration to the cities, decrease our consumption of air travel, move most freight to the rail lines, etcetera. I take this position because oil production is highly unlikely to go from peak to zero quickly. We will have quite some time.
We're going to try to replace it, but we are going to fall way short. In fact, we may be too late... did you see that the first nuclear plant won't be ready until 2014?!

Oh for the US when electricity is very cheap as is.
That nuclear plant and many more need to be coming online well before we reach peak, which many are still forecasting to happen in the next few years. That is too little too late Dezakin.

Please illustrate why doing anything after the peak of oil production is futile.
I’m not going to touch that with a ten foot pole. Well, actually, where do you live? I’d like to propose building a waste storage warehouse right next to your place.

Given I'm quite familiar with the actual risks, I'd welcome the housing right next to me.
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Unread postby FatherOfTwo » Thu 19 May 2005, 14:10:30

Dezakin wrote:Do I imply that there wont be consequences? There certainly will be at least a long recession as the economy contracts and restructures. It will not spell the end of civilization or the apex of human achievement however. In the big bad scenerio, which I honestly find laughibly implausible, millions die before the restructuring around nuclear electricity and expensive fuel. But we will restructure.


I think you are underestimating several factors. One is our history of resorting to brutal wars when resources become scarce. Another is our skyrocketing population, global warming and general environmental degradation. I gather you do not feel we are in overshoot?

Dezakin wrote:Please illustrate why doing anything after the peak of oil production is futile.


Feeling “hope” or “futility” is really of no consequence. This attempt to “restructure” will be made, I agree with you on that. Anyone wishing for a return to the simple life will probably be disappointed, at least in the next century. But I’m of the opinion that we’ve left it far too late in order to have any true “success” as you imply. (Remember the IEA said we need 20 years to manage a change, 10 if it is a crash course and it has to happen before the peak.) Expecting only a minor blip down in our “human achievement trajectory” is hubris, at least, not unless the transition around nuclear and expensive fuel is coupled with a fundamental rethinking of how we live our lives on this planet. eg (Infinite growth has got to go.)

Dezakin wrote:Given I'm quite familiar with the actual risks, I'd welcome the housing right next to me.


Sign-em up! We need a new acronym: YIMBY!
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Unread postby Liamj » Thu 19 May 2005, 22:13:16

YIMBY! I like it! Deserves a thread: "Show your faith in the nuclear age, in industry selfregulation and lowest-cost contracting, sign up now for a nuclear waste dump in your street!" :-D

Wonder if we could get a finders fee from British Nuclear Fuels, they seem to be the deepest in sh*t right now.

But Deza, don't blame me if your neighbours lynch you.
If you want to keep it discrete, we can just post the waste to you and you can keep it under your bed. But make sure your childrens children^360 (e.g. plutonium 239 half life = 25,000yrs~360 generations, not 'centuries') agree, cos it'll be a family ...responsibility.
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Unread postby Bytesmiths » Fri 20 May 2005, 01:24:07

Dezakin wrote:
I’d like to propose building a waste storage warehouse right next to your place.

Given I'm quite familiar with the actual risks, I'd welcome the housing right next to me.
Cool! You can make a KILLING buying property! 'Cause no one else wants it.
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Unread postby Battle_Scarred_Galactico » Fri 20 May 2005, 04:15:42

"If you want to keep it discrete, we can just post the waste to you and you can keep it under your bed."


haha, excellent :)
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nuclear waste? out of sight, out of mind?!

Unread postby mermaid » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 05:29:17

Governments all over the world are debating about the nulear powerplants to keep them running(though the most plants are older than 30 years!!), but where do we leave the waste?!

The barrels were it is in are only free from leaking during 50 years!!! and after that time it is still dangerous for 2000 years???!!!!

And what about the centrifuges where they want to recycle the waste to use the uranium again? How will they work and how much energy is needed to recycle Uranium?

Isn't it a high risk to keep such old nuclear plants in to business? or can we sit and wait for another Tsjernobyl???

We better make tools to run on manpower, you better go to an antique-shop to get you tools and equipment.
We will go back in time with the problems of the future.
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Re: nuclear waste? out of sight, out of mind?!

Unread postby philneville » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 05:56:27

Well I know for a fact that tons of waste is dump off the coast of Somalia, no goverment no coastal guards, so not suprising really and loads of it got swept onshore after the Tsunami making some people that live in coastal areas ill.
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Re: nuclear waste? out of sight, out of mind?!

Unread postby gg3 » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 07:23:55

25 years ago I was opposed to nuclear power based on the point that waste disposal had not yet been solved.

Since that time the French have done an admirable job building the infrastructure to recycle nuclear waste into new nuclear fuel. They now have something like a 20-year track record. To my mind, that solves the issue quite well enough to say it's a viable plan.

As far as operational safety issues are concerned, the new-generation reactor designs are basically melt-proof: in most of them, the fission reaction will shut itself down in the event of trouble, without need of expensive and complex systems that are the subject of controversy in the older reactor designs.

And don't forget, coal is full of radionuclides, all of which end up in the air when coal is burned. (Coal has enormous value as an industrial feedstock, its use as a fuel should be limited to railroad locomotives using the new advanced steam engine designs.)

Speaking here as someone with professional experience in the utility-scale wind industry, and a strong desire to see as much wind & solar online as possible: We can and should also build as much nuclear capacity as possible, and in fact for various technical reasons having to do with grid stability, it makes the best foundation for renewables.
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Re: nuclear waste? out of sight, out of mind?!

Unread postby EnergySpin » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 07:37:48

gg3 wrote:And don't forget, coal is full of radionuclides, all of which end up in the air when coal is burned. (Coal has enormous value as an industrial feedstock, its use as a fuel should be limited to railroad locomotives using the new advanced steam engine designs.)

So true .... but the radioactivity seems to be low (5% above baseline rate) link
Coal mining seems to be a much higher source of radiation to the environment.
link
If coal causes GW and increases environmental radiation level, it is time to kiss it goodbye lol.
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Re: nuclear waste? out of sight, out of mind?!

Unread postby mermaid » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 07:55:58

coal contains all the elements of the system, oil also, oil is liquid coal, it also contains various elements.
and the uranium and other radioactive elements in the ashes of coal are low active, there are other elements in, wich give us more trouble like arscenicum, lead,cadmium and other heavy metals.

so yes indeed, it is bad stuff to burn because the waste is also an huge problem, normally the industry puts it in concrete and ashphalt, so we live and walk in our own waste, that means that walls from buildings and the road is low radioactive and contains heavy material.
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Re: nuclear waste? out of sight, out of mind?!

Unread postby thor » Tue 13 Sep 2005, 08:23:58

Why not shoot nuclear waste into the sun by means of the very reliable Soyuz rockets? Besides, space is extremely 'polluted' with radioactivity.
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