sendler2112
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 4:39 am

Be Pragmatic. The amount of fossil fuel energy the world is blowing through on a daily basis staggering. And there are Billions of people who have still never had reliable electricity or fuel for a farm machine. Fossil fuel will run out. Take a look around you. Imagine all of the civilization you see and the food you eat built and maintained on electricity only with no fossil fuel. See a big correction coming? The Sun doesn't shine for weeks at a time in the winter where I live. Future energy requirements will demand the use of all our resources. The reactors that are still in use today were designed 50 years ago by guys with a pencil and a slide rule. Technology has come a long way. It's past time to get started with new nuclear again.
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http://energyrealityproject.com/lets-ru ... and-solar/
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http://www.world-nuclear.org/informatio ... ctors.aspx
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Durandal
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:17 am

The nuclear waste currently in existence in the United States certainly should be refined and re-used. It's already around, so we might as well make use of it instead of trying to hide it away for thousands of years. In fact that really knocks out two birds with one stone. You don't have to mine as much uranium, and you're literally ELIMINATING the waste that currently exists. Plus, it gives you more depleted uranium to make bullets to go use in foreign wars for oil, right? lol (A bit of trolling for both sides of the aisle there.)

There are some really cool reactor designs that could be used including closed loop helium with uranium enclosed in graphite balls as an example. The uranium can never reach a high enough temperature to achieve meltdown, so even if you just leave the plant sitting idle forever, there's nothing to worry about.

That said, I think that for the majority of our power generation, we should strive to achieve it via solar installations, such as solar roofs, etc. Ok, so if you're on the coast, those panels might blow away, but for the rest of us who don't live in hurricane areas, we're not really concerned about that. I don't think solar panels on roofs are ugly, but instead attractive. Plus, who's seeing the panels when they're installed on top of commercial buildings, anyhow? On top of my roof, sure you'll see them, but I'm not sure how they're any uglier than composite shingles.

Yes, there are issues with supply vs demand on renewable energy, which is where storage products such as what Tesla and others are offering will come into play. But hey, right now my Leaf is plugged in at a building that has a very large solar array installation, so at least some of my charging is coming from solar.

Our fossil fuels should be set aside for making things like plastics and FERTILIZER instead of burning in cars, because when we can't make ammonia from natural gas, we're going to be having a very bad day. Nuclear, when used properly, is certainly an option, but I'm most definitely of the opinion that the 1950's designed reactors we have running right now be retired ASAP and replaced with more modern and safer options.
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RegGuheert
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:36 am

Durandal wrote:<snip>
That all sounds good to me, Durandal! Thanks!
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philip
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:54 am

WetEV wrote:
philip wrote:Okay, did some looking up, US coal contains 1 to 4 ppm of uranium.


Rough order of magnitude, uranium has 2 million times as much energy as coal.

https://www.euronuclear.org/info/encycl ... arison.htm



That's for the "complete combustion or fission". We are talking about producing energy here, and in use we don't use 100% of the uranium-235 before the fuel rods are replaced*. The same document you linked to shows an energy production ratio between uranium-235 and coal as 1:14,000. Also, they are using strictly uranium-235 in their numbers, and the coal train contains natural uranium which only contains a couple percent of uranium-235 reducing the uranium to coal energy ratio significantly from the stated figure.

*I imagine the uranium fuel rods are replaced well before all the uranium-235 has gone through fission in order to maintain reactor output.

So, as far as I can tell, VitaminJ's coal train comment is unsubstantiated.
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philip
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:57 am

sendler2112 wrote:Fossil fuel will run out


No. It will just get more expensive.
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VitaminJ
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:04 am

philip wrote:Okay, did some looking up, US coal contains 1 to 4 ppm of uranium.
https://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/1997/fs163-97/FS-163-97.html

This is much less than 0.03%. A fully loaded coal train with 15,000 short tons of coal would contain between 30 to 120 lbs natural uranium. This would still need enriched for US reactors, lowering the total uranium fuel content. Couldn't find exact figures, but the following site states that 1 tonne of natural uranium produces 44TWh of energy. Converting to pounds, one pound of natural uranium would produce about 20MWh.
http://www.world-nuclear.org/informatio ... rview.aspx

So the 30 to 120 lbs of uranium on a US coal train would produce between 600 and 2,400 MWh of energy. This is between 2% and 8% of the energy produced from burning the coal on the same train (Approximately 29,000 MWh).

Hopefully I did all my math correctly.

My statement is indeed not true, but not completely. I knew I wasn't totally off so I did some research to figure out where I got the numbers I got. It's been a couple years and I've been stating that "fact" ever since, so thank you for setting me straight.

Some coal contains way more uranium than 4ppm. While I was wrong about US coal, coal in China can contain up to 315ppm which is .03%, though the average is much lower at 65ppm. A US coal train carries about 15,000 tons of coal. So that would be about 4.5 tons on the high end or .9 tons average of raw uranium.

Depending on the size of the plant it has about 30 tons of waste each year, which reprocessed would leave about 2 tons of un-usable waste.

So if you squint your eyes the math works out fine! Now I know that uranium needs to be refined so you couldn't actually use the trainload of coal the same way, I never intended to mean that either, but I guess that's the way it came out. My intention was to create a comparison between coal and nuclear that everyone could visualize and understand the huge power potential of nuclear energy. I'm going to try and come up with a new comparison.

I'm not the only one who likes trains, here's a more precise version of what I was trying to say:

"Uranium-235 is the isotope of uranium that is used in nuclear reactors. Uranium-235 can produce 3.7 million times as much energy as the same amount of coal. As an example, 7 trucks, each carrying 6 cases of 2-12 foot high fuel assemblies, can fuel a 1000 Megawatt-electrical (MWe) reactor for 1.5 years. During this period, ~ 2 metric tons of Uranium-235 (of the 100 metric tons of fuel - uranium dioxide) would be consumed. To operate a coal plant of the same output would require 1 train of 89-100 ton coal cars each EVERY day. Over 350,000 tons of ash would be produced AND over 4 million tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides would be released to the environment."
http://www.nucleartourist.com/basics/reasons1.htm
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sendler2112
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:18 am

philip wrote:
sendler2112 wrote:Fossil fuel will run out


No. It will just get more expensive.

The price of crude oil (and food) will sky rocket once we pass peak and start down the other side of production in 70 years. Energy doesn't have to run out to be a big problem. It just has to start getting less. It's going to take a mighty long extension cord on our electric tractors to start growing enough food for 11 Billion people in 70 years. Our whole world economic system that we currently use only functions if there is constant growth. There are several plates all barely kept spinning right now. Juggling the newfound climate concerns with finding the money to transition away from using up a dwindling supply of crude oil before we totally replace it (carbon tax) (world birth control) without crushing the economy.
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No free market investor will put their money into a project that begins to pay back in 30 years. We will eventually have to find a different way.

finman100
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:42 am

:roll:
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VitaminJ
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:11 pm

RegGuheert wrote:Much of that "wilderness" you speak of was cities, towns and farmland prior to the accident in 1986. 400,000 people had to be relocated for that polluted wilderness to be created. The 1000 square mile exclusion zone around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor stands as a testament that these disaster areas cannot be cleaned. Instead, scientists go into the area to study the effects of the radioactive pollution on the wildlife there.

Well yes as I said conducting a clean-up of that magnitude would have required far more cost and manpower than the USSR was willing to spend.

More importantly, the primary reason for such a huge exclusion zone is because of incompetency and lack of communication in the immediate days and hours after the accident happened. If you study some more on the events and decisions made during that time you would understand it much better. For instance the town was evacuated and everyone was told it would only be a few hours, so everyone left their windows open and left everything as-is allowing the contaminants to collect inside buildings and vehicles and everything else, meaning they would have had to be demolished and re-built.

Communication between Chernobyl, local authorities, and Moscow was also woeful. Nobody up the chain of command was hearing the real story so resources that could have been used, were not used. Precautions that should have been put in place were not. People with the knowledge of how to conduct the securing and clean up of the site were not called for days or weeks.

Another huge factor was the reactor was designed with absolutely no safety containment vessel around the reactor. The lid wasn't even held on with bolts, it was just held in place by it's own weight. If a simple concrete containment vessel was constructed, the entire disaster would have been averted and the plant would still be operational today, as Three-Mile-Island is still operating. This isn't even getting to the incompetence that lead to the "systems test" that was run that day in the first place.

And lastly, yes, I use the term wilderness because that's what it is now. It is now a wilderness reserve. Wow what a great outcome from an otherwise horrible disaster. Wouldn't it be great if the BP Gulf oil spill turned into a wilderness reserve?

BTW lots of people still live in the exclusion zone.

I suspect that you are correct that many of the areas that were evacuated could be safely repopulated. But I will not that much of that area was destroyed by the tsunami. The video in the OP of this thread indicates that the officials are still struggling to find a solution to the problem of water which is collecting radioactive pollution from the reactor. They are simply storing it in tanks today.

Well at least they can store it in tanks right? There's no storing this in tanks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcM1QPhbjJM

Thanks. I was unaware.

It seems the difference at Three Mile Island is that there was no explosion so the equipment for handling the nuclear fuel in the reactor building was still in place and was used and/or modified to do the work. At Chernobyl and Fukushima, the difficulty is much, much greater. (Not that Three Mile Island cleanup was easy: It took over a decade and nearly one billion dollars.

Yes because one was built by the USSR and one by a US company.

The explosions at Fukushima might have been preventable also. They happened over 24 hours after the earthquake. Remember this plant was built in 1979 and was meant to have been replaced or heavily upgraded by 2011. There was a lot of incompetency with TEPCO, the company that owns the plant:
http://carnegieendowment.org/2012/03/06 ... -pub-47361

For anyone who is interested, here is and interesting documentary on the TMI cleanup:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3CWS1z_py4[youtube]
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wY3qCKZOF30[youtube]

Nonsense. This is the same lunacy which is causing I'll-advised "renewable" projects to be build that cause more damage to the environment than the incumbent alternatives. The rush to build out nuclear power quickly is part of what lead to the three major disasters discussed above.

Correction; one major disaster, one minor disaster, and one non-disaster that happened 3 days after a blockbuster movie "The China Syndrome" was released in theaters increasing media hype and panic.

So are you saying these new plants are not safe?

No I am saying they are less safe than designs that exist now with the benefit of 40 extra years of human growth and knowledge but which are blocked by oil lobbies and public ignorance.

Here is an extensive list of military nuclear accidents. Denying that they occurred does not move the discussion forward. Minimizing them doesn't either.

You are mixing nuclear energy generation with nuclear weapons. This is what most people do. The only accident in US military history with a nuclear reactor was in a test reactor in Idaho where a technician ignored all safety procedures, warning signs, and entered the reactor room and removed a fuel rod from the reactor. It was pressurized by coolant and pinned him to the ceiling like a thumb-tack. Was ruled suicide.

Here's a complete(?) list of accidents at power plants by country. There are WAY more than three accidents listed there.

I should have been more specific. Only 3 accidents where safety systems didn't work 100% and radioactive contaminants were released into the atmosphere. In my opinion Three-Mile-Island shouldn't even count because the actual release was so minor, but there was a release technically.

Nuclear power will not move forward by rhetoric. Frankly, that is one of the main reasons the industry has such a bad reputation. The industry has a long history of flat-out lying about many things, which makes everyone suspicious.

You are full of rhetoric. Talking about places be uninhabitable for millions of years, equating nuclear weapons with nuclear energy, and disregarding literally tens of thousands of coal ash slurry ponds all across the country, but mention storing 2kg of used nuclear fuel and that's completely unachievable by our society.

Here's an article which discusses that topic.. An interesting quote is from the founder of health physics in the U.S.:
“It is with much reluctance and regret that I now must recognize that the U.S. profession of health physics has become essentially a labor union for the nuclear industry—not a profession of scientists dedicated to protect the worker and members of the public from radiation injury,” Dr. Morgan wrote in 1992.

The nuclear industry's political problem is entirely of their own making. They cannot change public opinion using words because of the long history of lies that they have told. If the nuclear industry wants a reputation of being a safe form of power, they will need to earn it.

That's an op-ed using Fukushima to prove that nuclear energy is a disaster waiting to happen and is unsafe and threatens millions of lives...Except only 6 deaths can be attributed to the Fukushima disaster, and it was all plant workers. Meanwhile you and I sitting here breathing are actual victims of pollution from fossil fuels.

If they cannot break out of their current situation, so be it. In the meantime, we still are faced with HUNDREDS of nuclear reactors operating the world over using the old designs. Some of these are even using the same design as the plant that exploded at Chernobyl. I have yet to see a good disucussion of how we get rid of all those things and their waste safely.

Yes, old nuclear plants needs to be upgraded. Why is it that no new nuclear plants are allowed to be constructed in the US without unrealistic and overly expensive regulations imposed by the EPA? Oh right I know why:

"In 1970, a leader of the petroleum industry and the head of the Atlantic Richfield Co. named Robert O. Anderson contributed $200,000 to fund Friends of the Earth, an organization that is strident in its opposition to nuclear energy, citing both safety and cost issues. The topic is part of a book by F. William Engdahl titled Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Orders, says Rod Adams, author of the blog Atomic Insights.

“The discovery moved Anderson up to exhibit number one in my long-running effort to prove that the illogically tight linkage between ‘environmental groups’ and ‘antinuclear groups’ can be traced directly to the need for the oil and gas industry to discourage the use of nuclear energy,” writes Adams."
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverst ... 76650831c7

Thanks for the article. Coal is also stored outdoors. The article says that coal ash has radioactive materials at a concentration "up to ten times" that of the coal before it was burned. That doesn't sound like a huge problem to me.

Well that's not at all what it says. It says that uranium and thorium are concentrated at up to ten times the original amounts. The uranium and thorium are just as radioactive as the uranium and thorium coming out of a nuclear reactor. Please enlighten me, why is storing nuclear waste from coal plants "not a huge problem" but storing nuclear waste from nuclear plants is insurmountable?

The question I have is this: if the concentration is high, why doesn't the nuclear industry take advantage of this resource which is already mined and partially concentrated? I think we all know the answer: the concentration is NOT high.

They do in China where concentrations of uranium in coal are higher. Short answer is because natural uranium is abundant and relatively safe and coal ash slurry is incredibly toxic and nobody wants to touch it, not even the coal plants.

Contrast this with spent nuclear fuel or the contamination around Chernobyl. I think we all know that nuclear radiation is much more dangerous at the concentrations needed for power generation.

Again you're just plain ignorant. There is no radiation from "spent nuclear fuel" at Chernobyl. The contamination is from having an uncontained reaction in the open atmosphere combined with a graphite fire. Once the nuclear reaction has taken place and the fuel has no more use, these elements simply do not exist anymore, they have been converted to far safer and lower-power elements. Since they are so low power they will last for 10,000 years or more. The elements released in the uncontained reaction and fire have much shorter times, some of the most deadly disappeared in days, others will be there for hundreds of years. Caesium 137 is often pointed to as one of the most dangerous elements released and it's half-life is only 30 years whereas raw uranium's is 4.5 billion years. Basically nuclear waste is less dangerous but lasts longer, but other nuclear elements are incredibly dangerous, but last a lot less time.

Again, I'm not in favor of coal power. But I'm also not in favor of proliferating nuclear power rapidly. Let's take measured steps and learn as we go. That way we can proceed with our eyes wide open.

In my opinion you are either for nuclear power or you're for fossil fuels. Renewables are the side-dish.
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WetEV
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Re: NOVA The Nuclear Option

Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:35 pm

philip wrote:
WetEV wrote:
philip wrote:Okay, did some looking up, US coal contains 1 to 4 ppm of uranium.


Rough order of magnitude, uranium has 2 million times as much energy as coal.

https://www.euronuclear.org/info/encycl ... arison.htm



That's for the "complete combustion or fission". We are talking about producing energy here, and in use we don't use 100% of the uranium-235 before the fuel rods are replaced*.


We could, but we don't. Uranium is currently far too cheap.
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