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Toshiba and TerraPower aim to create a reactor that doesn't need to be refueled for 100 years

It's possible Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Toshiba have opened dialogue to  create a next-generation nuclear reactor able to run up to 100 years before it needs to be refueled, according to Japanese media reports.

Gates' TerraPower and Toshiba's Westinghouse reactor design company plan to develop the uranium-based Traveling-Wave Reactor (TWR) with 100,000 Kilowatts up to 1 million KW support.  

Until something is official between the two sides, and Toshiba will continue development on a reactor that needs to be refueled once every 30 years.  The Super-Safe, Small and Simple (4S) reactor is an ultra compact reactor that will likely have U.S. approval before the end of the year.

If there are no major hiccups, the reactor will be available before 2014.

Today's units need to be refueled every few years – using fuel based from depleted uranium can last significantly longer.  There is special need for these mini-reactors in developing nations, analysts say, with the price tag expected to lower in the future.

Since leaving his day-to-day role in Microsoft, Gates has become more involved in numerous other projects, including running his own charity along with overseeing TerraPower.  He is expected to invest millions of his own personal money into TWR development, which will help bring additional attention to the technology.

Gates aims to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, with TerraPower and other companies looking for the next major breakthrough.



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Go Gates!
By CloudFire on 3/23/2010 5:42:42 PM , Rating: 5
Much respect for Bill Gates for doing so much to help humanity! First w/his foundation and now possibly this.




RE: Go Gates!
By prenox on 3/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Go Gates!
By Nekrik on 3/23/2010 6:55:25 PM , Rating: 5
Why should he try to make up for all the bad drivers and apps put out by other companies? Just because a vast majority of the population misconstrued what was actually at fault does not mean the fault shifts, it just means there were a lot of people who were wrong.

/a little sarcasm but the BSOD jokes are just too lame and tired out at this point.


RE: Go Gates!
By StevoLincolnite on 3/23/2010 10:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
/a little sarcasm but the BSOD jokes are just too lame and tired out at this point.


Especially after 15+ years...


RE: Go Gates!
By Souka on 3/23/2010 7:34:13 PM , Rating: 4
Speaking of BSOD s, I gotta wonder what a BSOD on a nuclear reactor would mean?

:)


RE: Go Gates!
By Spookster on 3/23/2010 7:39:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
By Souka on 3/23/2010 7:34:13 PM , Rating: 2

Speaking of BSOD s, I gotta wonder what a BSOD on a nuclear reactor would mean?


I don't know but I bet it would make a great Simpson's episode with Homer sitting in front of the Windows PC controlling the reactor while a meltdown is about to occur and getting the BSOD.


RE: Go Gates!
By Mitch101 on 3/24/2010 9:00:02 AM , Rating: 3
I think it means some lucky person working there is going to get their super powers.


RE: Go Gates!
By Suntan on 3/24/2010 12:16:36 PM , Rating: 4
My eyes! These goggles do nothing!

-Suntan


RE: Go Gates!
By Sazabi19 on 3/24/2010 3:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure too many ppl got that...


RE: Go Gates!
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 5:33:08 PM , Rating: 2
Leslie Nielson?


RE: Go Gates!
By ViroMan on 3/23/2010 11:12:02 PM , Rating: 2
Do you mean Millisecond burning white screen of death?


RE: Go Gates!
By Omega215D on 3/24/2010 2:34:17 AM , Rating: 1
The cooling tower has performed an illegal operation. Press any key to continue.

Homer: Oh, where's the Any key?


RE: Go Gates!
By AlexWade on 3/24/2010 8:44:02 AM , Rating: 1
RE: Go Gates!
By Mjello on 3/24/2010 4:37:44 AM , Rating: 3
The triple redundant system would kick in and you never see it :). Aside from a warning light indicating that one of the 3 redundant systems are down.

And in the event of a triple software failure resulting in system loss, the manual reactor shutdown would be initiated.


RE: Go Gates!
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 9:49:51 AM , Rating: 2
Of course to get to the manual shutdown you would have to run a gauntlet of death traps and mazes just to get to it and the timer would be very short.


RE: Go Gates!
By lecanard on 3/24/2010 12:04:20 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly why nobody from Hollywood is allowed to join this partnership.


RE: Go Gates!
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 5:34:09 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe we are the only two here who remembers Galaxy Quest lol.


RE: Go Gates!
By riku0116 on 3/24/2010 4:33:34 PM , Rating: 1
2001 called.
It wants its lame BSOD jokes back.

Back to the issue at hand, I implore you all to check out Bill's most recent TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates.html) on the topic. This is not your average nuclear reactor. It uses DEPLETED Uranium (ie waste from conventional reactors), which we have plenty of right now and have no idea what to do with. This could revolutionize energy generation as we know it.


RE: Go Gates!
By LostInLine on 3/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: Go Gates!
By MadMan007 on 3/23/2010 7:27:05 PM , Rating: 3
It does sound wierd but I believe what he means is that in areas with say poor health conditions and higher child and adult mortality people generally have more kids and larger families in order to make sure some live long enough to continue the family line. With smaller families from more certainty in health outcomes there would be fewer 'wasted' resources.


RE: Go Gates!
By Keeir on 3/23/2010 7:33:29 PM , Rating: 1
There are a few reasons for overpopulation in the world

#1. Cultural acceptence of contraception
#2. Poor availibility of contraception

#3. Cultural ideal to have "many children"
If people have confidence that 2-3 children will be enough to have 2-3 survive to adulthood and 2-3 to depend on in old-age, they will be less likely to have 4,5, or 6 children.

Essentially he is saying that if we push forward the healthcare and cultural changes that occur post agrarian to industrial transition, we might be able to lower the tendance of agrarian societies to overpopulate easrly enough to drastically reduce eventual population.

Its easy to forget... but the 'average' person on this world is a small scale rice farmer on the asian plate.


RE: Go Gates!
By Luticus on 3/24/2010 10:09:19 AM , Rating: 2
Or we could just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself. ;) lol :)


RE: Go Gates!
By Camikazi on 3/23/2010 8:08:58 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't make sense to me, seems to me that better health care and vaccines will just increase population not decrease it.


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 9:13:42 PM , Rating: 5
You don't understand how these people think. Let me offer some insight:

"If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels."
- Prince Phillip, Head of the World Wildlife Fund

""Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.""
- David Foreman, founder Earth First

"To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem"
- Lamont Cole, environmentalist and author.

"We have wished...for a disaster or for a social change to come and bomb us back into the stone age..."
- Stewart Brand, editor Whole Earth Catalog.
"I suspect that eradicating smallpox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.""
- John Davis, Environmental Author and Leader

" "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem.""
- Alexander King, speaking for the Club of Rome

"Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, is not as important as a wild and healthy planets...Some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along. "
- David Graber, biologist, National Park Service

"You think Hiroshima was bad, let me tell you, mister, Hiroshima wasn't bad enough!"
- Faye Dunaway, speaking as 'The Voice of the Planet', WTBS series.

"Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society.."
- David Brower, founder friends of the Earth.


RE: Go Gates!
By sliderule on 3/24/2010 12:03:32 AM , Rating: 5
It's interesting these fascist never volunteer their own existence for a "healthy planet", but it's o.k for others to perish.


RE: Go Gates!
By Omega215D on 3/24/2010 2:46:13 AM , Rating: 4
makes me wonder... why are all these environmentalists against global warming then? The supposed floods or other problems can lessen the human population.

I honestly believe that eco-freaks have a mental illness coupled with a lack of need for a real job in which they should be drained of their bank accounts so they can no longer feed themselves which should also help lessen the human population.


RE: Go Gates!
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 10:04:19 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
makes me wonder... why are all these environmentalists against global warming then? The supposed floods or other problems can lessen the human population.


Because that would effect them as well. They want to be there to live in the utopia they envision.


RE: Go Gates!
By TSS on 3/24/2010 9:22:28 PM , Rating: 2
Because controlling the economy through carbon credits is a much, much faster path to destruction for the general populace then global warming ever could be, even if it was real.

Remember this all comes from the same people who where AGAINST global cooling as well. I don't have to look up sources or anything, i just know it's the same bunch. Because that idea was as ridicolous as this one.


RE: Go Gates!
By Smilin on 3/24/2010 9:54:16 AM , Rating: 1
That's incredible. You condensed the entire lifetime of these people down to a single quote taken out of context then offered no chance to explain the statements.

Clearly your argument is strong.


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 12:13:03 PM , Rating: 3
Misanthropy is an integral part of the radical environmentalist movement. Some of the people I alluded to above have written entire books on the subject, describing in detail the "advantages" of eliminating or vastly reducing the human species. These are not simply "out of context" quotes you can explain away.


RE: Go Gates!
By stlrenegade on 3/24/2010 2:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
porkpie = masher1 ???


RE: Go Gates!
By MadMan007 on 3/24/2010 5:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
Out of context and irrelevant fringe quotes - so easy even a porkpie can do it!


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 6:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
Claiming something is "out of context" is the standard tactic for trying to discredit something you otherwise can't. It's also meaningless unless you can back it up.

So please, show me how those quotes were taken "out of context".


RE: Go Gates!
By MadMan007 on 3/24/2010 11:39:12 PM , Rating: 1
You need a new hobby bro. But seriously, if you don't know what 'out of contexst' means you need to turn in your internets to the nearest authority.


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 11:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
I know exactly what it means. I also know the quotes were not taken out of context. And just as I expected, you're wholly unable to support your claim with any real facts.

But hey, maybe if you keep throwing out insults, maybe no one will notice you were just talking out of your ***, right ?


RE: Go Gates!
By MadMan007 on 3/25/2010 12:11:28 AM , Rating: 1
6 minutes to reply, nice. I retract my previous statement that you need a new hobby and instead propose that you need a life outside of commenting on DT. Yeah thats right, an insult. I was joking at first but you are so damn serious about yourself and your inflated sense of self-importance that you couldn't even see that could you. Yeah that's right, another insult! QQ some more please.

"The quotes were not taken out of context" um...ok that one made me lol. Only writing a sentence or two out of what is undoubtedly a larger statement is the very definition of 'out of context.' That is the entirety of my claim and so there is no need to 'back it up.'

But I'll have some pity on you and humor your need for an argument...sort of. All the quotes you posted are opinions and therefore there is nothing to refute and no 'facts' are necessary. Here's a question though in light of your demand that I have 'facts' - what facts have you shared? None. Just some out of context statements that are certain people's opinions.

In the rational person's world unfortunately people are entitled to their opinions, your opinion is probably that you don't agree with that and I recognize your right to hold such an irrational opinion too. Of course you know what they say about opinions...except yours of course ;) all hail sir lord almighty porkbrain, master of the internets!


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 10:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
" All the quotes you posted are opinions and therefore there is nothing to refute and no 'facts' are necessary. "

Look, message boards are a simple thing. You say something; you either back it up, or you look like a fool. If you want to act like a clown, please continue.

You don't even seem to understand the meaning of "taken out of context". Quotes are always snipped from larger pieces of text. They're only "taken out of context" if they're snipped in such a way to distort the author's meaning.

Nothing was taken out of context here. Those I quoted are very clear in their opinions that people are "bad", and that a world with far less people -- or even none at all -- would be a good thing.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 9:20:21 PM , Rating: 3
That's ironic, considering the ignorance and callousness displayed in your own post.

First of all, these reactors are sealed and automated -- no one needs to "run them". Secondly, your notion that millions of dead children are a good idea to cut down on the third world "problem" is horrifying beyond belief.

With statements like that, you don't deserve to speak in civilized society. Until you can learn the rudiments of morality and common decency, keep your mouth shut.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Go Gates!
By icanhascpu on 3/24/2010 8:04:22 AM , Rating: 3
You're an idiot.


RE: Go Gates!
By Kurz on 3/24/2010 9:56:48 AM , Rating: 1
Well sad to say this, but in order for them to ensure their family name and genetics are passed on they need to have many children. In poorer countries children are an asset to the family.

So until standard of living comes up they will continue to have large families. Many sexual encounters.
Standard of living plus education will help with that over population you hate so much.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/24/2010 12:15:58 PM , Rating: 1
That is what I said.

I realize my thoughts aren't popular with all the delusional people around here but the cake is only so big and it's certainly not big enough to save the entire 3rd world and bring them up to our standard of living.

As long as they are living stone age lives we should spend our resources on educating them rather than saving more children who will grow up to live more stone age lives and have 12 kids of their own they can't support.

Reality is harsh.


RE: Go Gates!
By ekv on 3/24/2010 2:01:50 PM , Rating: 2
Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

Yeah, the cake is only so big. But under the capitalist model the cake keeps getting bigger. Haven't seen that under the Socialist and/or Communist models.

It is proven fact that energy (density) and it's availability is a prime contributor to the growth of a society / market.

Tell you what. You go to these 3rd world people and ask them if they'd like running water. Clean water. They'd jump at it. I know cause I give to Living Water [http://www.water.cc/]. I have friends that work there. This kind of energy would make getting clean water much easier. That is just one very simple example.

You can educate and talk till you're blue-in-the-face, but until you back it up with action, your words are meaningless. Do you understand me, meaningless.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/24/2010 6:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure they'd love running water but giving them running water and the ability to have even mroe children instead of creating a base knowledge base which allows them to get and run it by themselves still isn't going to solve any problems, it will only create more because their next, larger, generation will need more running water they can't produce themselves.

You may want to read up on the hundreds if not thousands of big aid projects in Africa, be that concrete manufactoring plants or power grids, that simply stop function pretty much the day the west pulls out of it.

You guys are so lost in a dream world that's it's scary.


RE: Go Gates!
By ekv on 3/25/2010 2:44:51 AM , Rating: 2
My friend, I asked you a question ... and you didn't answer it. Perhaps your reader, er, browser isn't working correctly or you were mindless, temporarily. Lots of possibilities, no?

Life is precious. At least here in the West. I don't quite get that sense from other cultures.

Water in Arfica is a special thing. More importantly I don't think you bothered to look at Living Water's web-site. These people go to some village and work with them, training them on proper hygiene and how to maintain the equipment, in exchange for helping to set up the well (sweat equity). The villagers have a vested interest in maintaining the well. They have a vested interest in maintaining contact with Living Water.

The water is used in cooking, used to hydrate flocks and (if there's enough) irrigate fields. Water is life.

Again, this is just one simple concrete example. It's not just conjecture on my part.

And as far as Living Water being a faith-based organization, even a high-profile atheist agrees that this redemptive message is the only thing that'll effect any positive change in the long term.
http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2009/01/10/christia...’s-positive-contributions-an-atheist-confession/


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/25/2010 8:11:15 AM , Rating: 2
You're the one ignoring what I'm writing.

Which part of giving them wells will only create more problems don't you understand?
More people is not a good thing for Africa and your water project does nothing to solve the real issue, their horrendous level of education, and that's where the available resources should be used.

But sure I understand you, you're doing something which makes you feel good and allows you to sleep at night, just too bad it's based on ignorance.


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 10:42:05 AM , Rating: 2
"More people is not a good thing for Africa"

The problem in Africa is not the number of people. Look at a nation like Zimbabwe, one of the very poorest in the world. Yet the country only has 12M people (the US has 300M, and the EU over twice that). Zimbabwe is also incredibly rich in farmland and mineral and energy resources. It's far less crowded than places like Singapore or Hong Kong...regions in which the standard of living is far, far higher.

When you understand why nations like Zimbabwe are poor, you'll understand why you couldn't possibly be more wrong.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/25/2010 12:47:34 PM , Rating: 1
No YOU couldn't possibly be more wrong.

Why is Zimbabwe poor?

Could it be that it's a nation of 12 million illiterates who don't know any better than letting some sick fuck rule their nation?

Giving them nuclear reactors and vaccinating their children is going to help solve that problem how?

Buy a clue dude, more people is not good for them when they can't even feed those 12 million today.

As I said, you live in a dream world.


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 5:09:00 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why is Zimbabwe poor?

Could it be that it's a nation of 12 million illiterates who don't know any better
Sigh. Zimbabwe's literacy rate is above 90%...higher than India, or Brazil, or even EU member Turkey.

Are you really this ignorant, or just pretending to make Denmark look bad?


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/26/2010 7:58:11 AM , Rating: 2
Gratz I expected you to miss the point and focus on the expression due to lack of having anything to say in retort to the issues I've pointed out above.

It's a fact they don't know how to run their own country and can't feed their own people and no amount of child vaccines or nuclear reactors, that will no doubt end up serving the bossman, is going to do anything to fix that problem.

and btw talking about ignorance and Turkey being in EU in the same sentence is rather priceless.


RE: Go Gates!
By ekv on 3/25/2010 1:20:51 PM , Rating: 2
No, you're the one ignoring what I'm writing. We both know what the answer to my question is, yet you won't answer. Why?
quote:
Which part of giving them wells will only create more problems don't you understand?
This is mere conjecture on your part. You have nothing to back it up. You're a troll. And you call me ignorant? Wake up.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/25/2010 11:27:01 PM , Rating: 2
Conjecture my ass, Africa's problems has only gotten worse as the population has increased. Were people trying to mass migrate in boats to the EU 20 years ago? I think not.

and do tell me me, why has the population increased ?

Yes thats right because idiots like you are building them wells and feeding them with food they have no capability to grow themselves. You think you are such a do-gooder but in reality, as a whole, you are hurting them more than you help.

Open your eyes instead of being so naive, the only way to solve Africa's problems is to educate them and let them progress in a way they can sustain by themselves.

and if you want me to answer a question make a question which makes sense, the stupidity you claimed is one.


RE: Go Gates!
By ekv on 3/26/2010 4:16:28 AM , Rating: 2
As I said, conjecture. You still have nothing. Well, except a potty-mouth 8)

Answer me, first. But you can't can you. You're version of reality will collapse. "You're weak." That's what father says, huh?


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/26/2010 4:48:56 AM , Rating: 2
You know that's funny coming from someone who has presented nothing but a link to a website and a meaningless question.

I'm sorry you insist on being delusional.


RE: Go Gates!
By ekv on 3/26/2010 4:38:03 PM , Rating: 2
Let me fix that for you

"You know that's funny coming from someone who has presented nothing".

It looks like you're more interested in comedy than reality. Who is insisting on delusion?

I guess you just don't get it. If your problem is with rich people trying to make nice, like Bill, then that's your problem. You're the one not making a difference. Tsk, tsk.


RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 2:03:21 PM , Rating: 2
"the cake is only so big..."

The "cake" is an entire planet (and eventually an entire solar system) of resource...of which we currently use less than 0.0000000000001% of. We are nowhere near "exhausting our resources".

By doing more than utilizing nuclear power,and expanding firt-world agricultural science to the third world, we could support a world population in excess of 18 billion people, in a higher standard of living than we have today -- and that's not even assuming any future advances in technology.

Letting children die to "solve a problem" is a violently sick, twist, distorted philosophy. Be glad you're crouching in safety posting such filth from your parent's basement, rather than speaking face to face with decent people.


RE: Go Gates!
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 4:43:21 PM , Rating: 2
This is true, currently the US government pays farmers to NOT grow food just so the market isn't flooded. People currently starving in third world countries is not because of lack of food, it is because the food sent to them never gets to them. Some corrupt dictator sells the food back to a first world country and buys more guns, toys, or whatever they want at the moment.

Ethiopia (or Sudan not sure which at the moment) used to have one of the most productive agricultural systems in the world, then some idiot came into power over there and decided he knew more about growing food than farmers did and started telling them what to grow were. It wasn't long before lack of crop rotation and grazing made the soil so poor it wouldn't grow food anymore. The Earth can support many more people than live here now, we just have to keep the power hungry idiots out of the business of feeding everyone.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/24/2010 6:16:18 PM , Rating: 2
So how do you suggest we solve that problem ?


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Go Gates!
By randomly on 3/24/2010 3:04:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yours is a simplistic and ignorant understanding of the problem and it's dynamics.

The only proven self perpetuating permanent way of reducing population growth in a population is by increasing the standard of living. Examples around the world show increased energy usage per capita goes hand in hand with increased standard of living with decreased population growth. Almost without exception. The correlation is proportional. The higher the energy usage, the lower the growth rate.

Disease, war, starvation, natural disasters and all the other things you advocate are only temporarily effective. Even if you are totally lacking in sympathy and it satisfies your frustrations these harsh methods still don't solve the problem.

I've never been a fan of Mr. Gates but his points are rational and realistic. I certainly agree with him that our future energy supply is probably THE single most important factor of our future on this planet because it affects EVERY aspect of our lives, our society, and how we impact our environment in countless ways.

Unfortunately the world doesn't work like you want it to, or the preconceived notions you may have. The scientific approach says that you better gather all the data you can and test to see if your theory is actually correct or not.

Making up a story and saying that's what you believe in just because you like it is not a rational method to bet your future on.

I prefer the scientific approach to getting a workable solution rather than your emotional approach.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/25/10, Rating: -1
RE: Go Gates!
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 11:09:38 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Haven't 40 or however many years of giving them primarily materialistic aid with pretty much zero effect taught you people any-fucking-thing?
Well, we gave Denmark many years of aid during WW2 and afterwards. Eventually they seemed to sort themselves out. Perhaps Africa will too.


RE: Go Gates!
By Danish1 on 3/25/2010 12:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
I see you've now turned to random idiot ramblings.

Next.


Sounds good to me
By JediJeb on 3/23/2010 5:44:28 PM , Rating: 2
Wasn't there a story here last year about this reactor from Toshiba?

Using these to power urban areas seem like a good idea, with one in every mid sized city you could spread out the load to the power grid to possibly overcome some of the overloading expected in the future. If I remember from the last story, these are buried under ground and capped with concrete so that any attempt to steal the fuel or sabotage the reactor would take such a long time that it would be easy to prevent.

I wonder if this technology would also be amenable to using Thorium as fuel?




RE: Sounds good to me
By Etern205 on 3/23/2010 5:56:37 PM , Rating: 2
I think I've seen it on Toshiba's own website.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 6:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
That was Toshiba's own 4S (a fast neutron reactor). This is a partnership between Toshiba and Terrapower, to produce a new design called a 'travelling wave reactor':

http://www.intellectualventures.com/docs/terrappow...

It's a very interesting design; a fully automated 'breeder' that in effect reprocesses its own fuel.


RE: Sounds good to me
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 4:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The Super-Safe, Small and Simple (4S) reactor is an ultra compact reactor that will likely have U.S. approval before the end of the year.


That is the one I was thinking of. If it will have U.S. approval by the end of the year, I wonder how long it will be until someone might be using one. Even a 30 year refueling cycle isn't too bad.


RE: Sounds good to me
By rett448 on 3/25/2010 5:44:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think your refering to Babcox-Wilcox modular reactor

http://www.babcock.com/products/modular_nuclear/


RE: Sounds good to me
By rett448 on 3/25/2010 5:45:15 PM , Rating: 2
sorry meant to reply to OP


RE: Sounds good to me
By Sooticus on 3/23/2010 6:06:13 PM , Rating: 3
I recall something about them wanting to trial it somewhere cold like Alaska where they didnt have grid power and trucked huge amounts of diesel for heating and lighting.


RE: Sounds good to me
By alanore on 3/23/2010 7:01:55 PM , Rating: 4
TWR are supposed to be able to take thorium and also spent fuel from LWR. I'm not sure if the 4S will though. TerraPower reckon there is enough depleted uranium in the US to generate $100 trillion dollars worth of energy. (Once that runs out they'll probably switch to thorium)

There is some pretty exciting stuff when it comes to nuclear reactors. Namely advances in PWR and ABWR. Also new technologies (or technologies that are only now viable) like pebblebed reactors.

I'm not sure if we will see these things burried deep underground. It would heavily depend on core damage probability along with the reactor life cycle. Although I think that may be the point. Bury The reactor with an additional fuel load down there with it. Once the reactor has completed it useful life, you make it safe by spending all the enriched fuel leaving the minimum amount of enriched uranium and the maximum amount of depletead fuel stock. Depending on what left in the reactor and how safe it is, you could pretty much just abandon it.


RE: Sounds good to me
By ekv on 3/23/2010 9:51:43 PM , Rating: 2
Any links you can provide...?


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 10:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
Look at the link I provided above, from Terrapower's parent corporation.


RE: Sounds good to me
By ekv on 3/23/2010 10:23:14 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks. I have.

I was hoping alanore was going to back up some of his numbers, etc.


RE: Sounds good to me
By alanore on 3/24/2010 8:43:36 AM , Rating: 2
The only numbers I gave was the $100 trillion, which can be seen here http://www.nuc.berkeley.edu/node/1077

Anything else I can give clarification on?


RE: Sounds good to me
By ekv on 3/24/2010 1:47:26 PM , Rating: 2
Cool. Thanks.

I couldn't get the $100 trillion number to add up. It could be off by a factor of 100 or so, or it could be my math. Still, pretty damn useful. All the b**ching and moaning about nuclear power ... ha! turns out to be fud. Well now we know.


RE: Sounds good to me
By alanore on 3/25/2010 8:20:24 AM , Rating: 2
I think it because they are estimating that number across 3000 years.


RE: Sounds good to me
By Jeffk464 on 3/23/2010 7:16:03 PM , Rating: 1
Uhuh, and there going to give them to corrupt third world countries. What happens when it is government employees/officials stealing the fuel?


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/23/2010 9:16:38 PM , Rating: 1
" What happens when it is government employees/officials stealing the fuel?"

Given the fuel in this case is depleted uranium...a substance LESS radioactive than the uranium we dig out of the ground, nothing whatsoever.

But thanks anyway for spreading a little ignorance and groundless fear.


RE: Sounds good to me
By alanore on 3/24/2010 11:44:00 AM , Rating: 2
There is enriched fuel within the reactor in the breed stage (Pu-239). Granted you would die trying to get it out.

Here is a simple analogy.
You can think of this reactor as a candle. The wax is depleted uranium.

You need to get the candle started, so you use an external source, a match. The match in this case is enriched uranium used to start a nuclear reaction.

The burning of the candle at the top causes the wax below it to melt and turn into a state ready to burn. In the reactor the nuclear reaction turns the depleted uranium into something that can sustain a nuclear reaction. So the flame is the nuclear reaction, and the melted wax is enriched fuel.

Like a candle the reaction moves along through the fuel. Although depleted uranium has so much energy that it only 'burns' about 1cm a month.



RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 11:57:40 AM , Rating: 2
In a travelling wave reactor, the Pu is burned up as it is created, meaning you cannot generate and extract meaningful quantities of it. The resistance to proliferation concerns is one of the strongest points of the design.


RE: Sounds good to me
By alanore on 3/24/2010 1:23:09 PM , Rating: 2
There would be a couple of inches of plutonium in the breed wave, although it would contain 240 which would make it useless for weapons. If left in the breed wave the 240 will likely become 241.

Your correct, in that there would never be enough for a weapon, otherwise the reactor would go critical. Plus if you tried to recover the plutonium you would destroy the fuel stock and stall the reactor.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/24/2010 4:00:58 PM , Rating: 2
Plutonium 240 is oversold as a denaturing isotope for Pu239. If you have the technical chops to make a bomb with weapons grade Pu239, making one with reactor grade Pu is not a stretch.The US has made weapons with reactor grade Pu and tested them.

It is not correct to assume that there is insufficient plutonium in the reactor to make a bomb. On the contrary there are many bombs worth. Any reactor must contain more than a minimum critical mass to operate, commercial reactors contain many times the minimum critical mass of fissile material spread out through the core. Fast neutron reactors have at least ten times more than that.

The design is a unity breeder that only breeds just enough fuel to replace that which it burns. However there would certainly be plenty of fissile material in the core that could be used for weapons, tens to hundreds of critical masses worth. There is always a large fissile load in the reactor while it is running and even when it finally exhausts the fuel supply. You would have to permanently shut down the reactor and remove the core to extract the fissile material. You could not produce fissile material and keep the reactor running at the same time.

The question is how difficult would it be to extract weapons usable material. Depending on the isotopic composition and what the primary decay chains are and what type of radiation they put out it could be quite difficult to separate and also hazardous to do so.

Burying the reactor in concrete raises the barrier for people messing around with it. Protects it from bombs and such. It makes getting access to the fuel a major engineering project with substantial equipment and time needs. All these small reactor plans go along with remote security monitoring and rapid response security force concepts to increase the security of the nuclear material. Burying them in concrete buys you time.

Making a traveling wave unit breeder is a very difficult engineering problem, it may still not be workable. Let's hope it is.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 4:38:50 PM , Rating: 2
"If you have the technical chops to make a bomb with weapons grade Pu239, making one with reactor grade Pu is not a stretch"

Sigh. Pu-239 has a thermal neutron fission cross section of 747 barns. Pu-240 has one of 58 milli barns. Worse, the radiative capture of fast neutrons by Pu-240 is several orders of magnitude higher than for Pu-239, which kills your energy budget. Solving your energy budget with a high enough neutron flux brings about other problems of premature fissions, and also can only be done with ultra high-speed insert times and advanced tamper/reflector designs.

Building a device with pure Pu239 is trivial. I could do it. Building one with material poisoned with more than trace amounts of Pu240 is extremely difficult. AFAIK, the entire staff of Los Alamos couldn't get anything but fizzles from a mix containing more than 10% Pu-240...and the Pu in this TW reactor is modelled to be some 36% Pu-240.


RE: Sounds good to me
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 5:32:07 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't study much radiochemistry in college, but would the weapons problem also be reduced using Thorium as fuel?


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 7:02:04 PM , Rating: 2
Pretty much, yes. Thorium is non-fissile (so is DU, of course), but it gets bred into fissile materials (U-233) during operation. However, making a warhead out of this - especially when its poisoned with U-232 - is quite challenging.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/24/2010 7:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
With Thorium the problem is different. It could be better or worse depending on specifics.

Isotopic separation is hard, it takes a lot of sophisticated equipment and a lot of power. You can de-weaponize fissile material by diluting it with a non-fissile isotope of the same element. Much as U238 dilutes U235. This has the effect of increasing the minimum critical mass size. If you dilute it enough the critical mass size goes to infinite.

In the case of Pu239 which has a much smaller critical mass than U235 it takes a much larger percentage of Pu238, Pu240, Pu242 to accomplish this.

You can't dilute your fissionable material with other elements because you can chemically separate them, you need to use isotopes of the same element. Chemical separation can be a big pain and a mess, but it's nowhere near as difficult as isotopic separation.

With the Thorium fuel cycle you are actually making U233 which is the fissionable material, it's critical mass is similar to plutonium. You can dilute U233 with U238.

Other methods of protecting the fuel are to include isotopes that make it more difficult to make weapons from it. This is the case with 'reactor grade' plutonium, which has a large percentage of Pu240. Pu240 has a relatively high spontaneous fission rate and throws off neutrons. One early neutron at the wrong time while the bomb is imploding can cause an early detonation or fizzle. A fizzle is still 1-2 Kiloton yield.

Isotopic decay heat from isotopes like Pu238 can make building a bomb difficult because the amount of heat the core constantly generates (1/2 watt per gram for Pu238). You have to remove the heat somehow. In more extreme cases you keep the core outside the bomb so you can effectively cool it and then use a drop in design to rapidly assemble the weapon before firing.

Some isotopes emit gamma radiation which makes it difficult to work with because of the penetration and the amount of shielding required. You can't use glove boxes since it goes right through the gloves. It requires using Hot cells and remote manipulators. In a bomb it would damage the explosives and electronics also. The gamma radiation is also easily detectable from a distance with instrumentation making it easily detectable.

The thorium fuel cycle can take advantage of this because U232 is produced along with the U233 fissile material. U232 is a very strong gamma emitter. Depending on how you run your thorium cycle and the starting materials you can end up with just a little U232 or a significant amount. U232 problems were part of the reason nuclear weapons favor the use of Pu239. Probably a more important factor though is that Pu239 can be bred much more rapidly than U233.

U232 also generates significant heat in it's decay chain, about 10 times what Pu238 puts out.

1-1.5% U232 would make handling quite difficult.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 9:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
"A fizzle is still 1-2 Kiloton yield."

I realize that came straight from your earlier link, but there is no minimum (or maximum) bound here. A fizzle on a boosted-fission device from tritium contamination can still yield a 25KT blast. A bad fizzle on a gun-type Pu device could be as small as a few hundred kilo grams (not kilotons) of TNT -- just enough to blow your masses apart.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/25/2010 11:35:03 PM , Rating: 2
You can't use a gun type with Pu.

where do you get this stuff?


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 11:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
"You can't use a gun type with Pu."

Good god man, learn a little about your subject. First you say thermal neutrons are irrelevant, then you say Pu 240 isn't fissionable -- now this?

Of course you can use a gun design with plutonium. You just can't do so reliably . You can't inject fast enough to avoid fizzles...which is why I mentioned it in the first place.

And point in fact, you actually CAN build a reliable gun-based plutonium device...if you have plutonium far purer than supergrade. (Something like <0.1% 240Pu) But since that's nearly impossible to obtain, gun designs are eschewed.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/26/2010 1:56:17 AM , Rating: 2
Sigh...You're reduced to wordplay now.This is getting sad.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 9:31:01 PM , Rating: 2
To further support my other posts, here are some calculations from declassified Los Alamos papers, by Dr. Serber, a team leader on the Manhattan project. They indicate that, based on the assumptions given, a fizzle would be on the order of 60 tons TNT:

http://www.cfo.doe.gov/Me70/manhattan/publications...


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/25/2010 7:00:39 PM , Rating: 2
This paper is from 1943.....

Before the US had even made a working bomb. He doesn't even know what the neutron yield numbers are or if it varies with energy spectrum! Doh....

This is a useless reference.

If you read the paper you would see that the calculation is a crude estimate for a U235 bomb to ensure that in the worst theoretical case the bomb would still produce enough energy to destroy itself so that it could not be inspected by an enemy.

It also assumes that NO neutron initiator is used.

I think the opinion of nuclear weapons designers with 20+ years of experience is a little bit more reliable than this antique paper.

A mighty effort, but to no avail.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/24/2010 5:43:32 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, no amount of confidence is going to help you on this one. Your information is bad.

I'll let Richard Garwin field this one.

http://www.fas.org/rlg/980826-pu.htm

I used to hold CNWDI and AFWL clearances and worked for a company doing nuclear weapons research. I discussed this exact topic with my boss, a nuclear weapons designer and former alternate head of the T Division at LANL under J. Carson Mark. His summation was that designing fission weapons even with high levels of Pu240 was relatively easy, fusion weapons were hard.

Even a premature ignition (fizzle) will yield 1-2 kilotons minimum. Going with a boosted design by putting a few ounces of deuterium/tritium in the pit more than addresses all the problems you mentioned and will give you a full yield weapon. There are other approaches as well.

Your quotes of thermal neutron cross sections are totally irrelevant for weapons since they operate under fast neutron conditions. Nor does the fission cross section of Pu240 matter since it's essentially non-fissionable and just acts to dilute the Pu239 and increase the size of the critical mass.

Low levels of Pu240 is desirable for a military weapon because you can make smaller, more reliable, more robust, easier handling, and less detectable weapons, but it's not a prerequisite to making a functioning bomb.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 6:56:59 PM , Rating: 2
Complete and total rubbish. For proof, look at North Korea's 2006 nuclear fizzle. They spent billions on their program, used plutonium pulled out of reactors early to reduce the Pu-240 percentage as much as possible (something not possible in a TWR design), and they still couldn't get a blast of even ONE KT.

Pu-240's spontaneous fission rate is something like 1,600,000 neutrons per gram. Pu-239's is more like 40. When you factor in the higher neutron flux needed due to 240's lower cross section, the result is a difference of roughly seven orders of magnitude higher for spontaneous fission. Fizzles, in other words.

There's quite a bit of tinfoil-hat material on the Internet from anti-nuclear activists, which profess to show how Pu-240 can be weaponized. Your link author, Garwin for example, is a long time member of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists which, despite their name, is the most active and prolific anti -nuclear organization.

No one is saying you can't make a "pop" with Pu-240. But when you need several times as much material just to get a weak fizzle, what's the point? Worse, because of the size, weight, spontaneous heat production and other factors, you couldn't possibly build such a device into a missile. So how do you deliver it? Pu-240 background neutron flux is so much higher that such a device would be nearly 1 million times easier to detect with radiation monitors...so you're not going to smuggle it in anywhere.

So not only would such a bomb require several times as much plutonium and be far harder to build and essentially impossible to deliver to any target -- but even once you get it there, it would hardly be more powerful than a large conventional bomb (the US and Russia have thermobaric bombs equivalent to tens of tons of TNT).

In closing, you're wrong about thermal neutrons not being relevant to a fission device. Depending on design, they can be anywhere from 5-35% of your total budget...fast neutrons are moderated by elastic collisions with the fissile material.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/25/2010 6:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
Complete and total rubbish?

Here is a key quote.

"The difficulties of developing an effective design of the most straightforward type are not appreciably greater with reactor-grade plutonium than those that have to be met for the use of weapons-grade plutonium."
J. Carson Mark - Head of the Theoretical Division of Los Alamos National Laboratory from 1947 to 1973
http://www.lanl.gov/history/people/J_Mark.shtml

another -
"In short, it would be quite possible for a potential proliferator to make a nuclear explosive from reactor-grade plutonium using a simple design that would be assured of having a yield in the range of one to a few kilotons, and more using an advanced design. Theft of separated plutonium whether weapons-grade or reactor-grade, would pose a grave security risk."
- Committee on International Security and Arms Control {CISAC) of the National Academy of the Sciences, 1994

American Nuclear Society Special Panel Report in 1995 says the same thing.

U.S. Department of Energy says the same thing in 1997.

But you claim to know better than some of the key scientists and nuclear weapons designers for the US?

You'd prefer to base your whole conjecture on your personal analysis of North Korea's low yield in 2006 even though you have no expertise on the subject, no information on what may have affected the yield, nor even what the yield actually was, nor any other substantial data. Just guessing?


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 11:52:17 PM , Rating: 2
"You claim to know better than some of the key scientists and nuclear weapons designers for the US?"

Carson Mark actually agrees with me. He concludes that a proliferating state could use reactor grade plutonium to build a device in the one KT range. So? North Korea already proved that much . . . as I said several posts ago.

Such a device would be much too large to deliver via missile, and nearly 1 million times more radioactive than one built from Supergrade Pu, making it impossible to smuggle to a target.

So where's the risk? A nation that can only pull off a 1 KT fizzle isn't going to scare its neighbors (as evidenced by Japan's relief when the DPRK event was judged a fizzle). The device can't be delivered on target anywhere. It consumes far too much Pu to build a large number of devices around. It's an expensive toy...a very expensive one, that cost the DPRK around $10B US.

Notice Iran learned from the North Korea fiasco. They're building centrifuges, and going the U-235 route. They have rsearch reactors capable of making reactor-grade Pu. If that route is so easy, why are they spending billions on enriching uranium, eh?

A weapon built from reactor-grade Pu can go pop, yes. It's still useless for the purposes for which nuclear weapons are generally used. If a nation wanted simply to kill people, it could do a far better job, for far less money, by buying a KT of real TNT or other high explosive, rather than basing a multi-billion dollar program around reactor grade Pu.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/26/2010 2:55:08 AM , Rating: 2
Heh

No Carson Mark doesn't agree with you. You just conveniently ignore anything that doesn't agree with your world view. It's a close minded blindness.

quote:
According to Mark, as the fissionable material is being compressed so that it becomes critical, a neutron injected at the worst possible time would cause the earliest model of implosion weapon to have an explosive yield between 1 and 2 kilotons.
In contrast, in 1972 the U.S. Government officially revealed that the U.S. possessed more advanced nuclear weapons whose yield would not be diminished by the injection of a neutron at no matter what instant of time . With this type of design, the spontaneous neutrons from R-Pu would in no way diminish the reliability or the expected yield

This is the boosted weapon design. This would include the case from increased neutron flux from 36% Pu240.

Carson Mark again:
quote:
"The difficulties of developing an effective design of the most straightforward type are not appreciably greater with reactor-grade plutonium than those that have to be met for the use of weapons-grade plutonium."


He is referring to a full yield device here, not fizzle yield.
Fail #1

Now you:
quote:
Such a device would be much too large to deliver via missile,


Actually no this is false, you are just making this up.
Fail #2

quote:
and nearly 1 million times more radioactive than one built from Supergrade Pu, making it impossible to smuggle to a target.


Again this is completely false. Weapons grade Plutonium is 7% Pu240, 35% Pu240 is only 5 times more. The radiation is mostly alpha decay which would be undetectable, the neutron and gamma emmissions could be detected at 10's of meters, but only if the weapon is completely unshielded.
Fail #3

quote:
So where's the risk?
A nation that can only pull off a 1 KT fizzle isn't going to scare its neighbors.
The device can't be delivered on target anywhere.
It consumes far too much Pu to build a large number of devices around.
It's an expensive toy...
A weapon built from reactor-grade Pu can go pop
It's still useless for the purposes for which nuclear weapons are generally used.
If a nation wanted simply to kill people, it could do a far better job, for far less money, by buying a KT of real TNT or other high explosive, rather than basing a multi-billion dollar program around reactor grade Pu.


Do you hear what you are saying? Do you actually believe this stuff or are you just desperately grasping at any reason at hand?

I guess there is nothing to worry about, and nobody is worried about North Korea or who they might sell weapons to. Nobody pays any attention to them at all.
And all those car and truck bombs that are much larger than these nuclear weapons they never got delivered to their targets or killed anybody.
And nobody like Iran or N. Korea or anybody would spend billions to make one because after all it's just an expensive toy and who would want that?
And since you can buy high explosives nobody in this world has bothered to make nuclear weapons... no, never happen.

And of course nobody would steal reactor fuel for the fissile material because that would be like getting somebody else to pay the billions of dollars for a plutonium program and that just wouldn't be fair. That's why nobody in this world has any concerns about the security of fissile materials.

It's frightening to see an otherwise intelligent person drift so far from reality.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 12:28:04 PM , Rating: 2
"Actually no this is false, you are just making this up."

Since you've already admitted your errors about minimum yield and fissionability (and I have hopes you'll see the light on energy budget and other areas), I'm going to field this separately.

Using supergrade Pu, you can design a weapon with a 'naked sphere' critical mass of 5-6kg. With WG Pu, its more like 8-10kg. With 18% RG Pu, its 13-14 kg. With 35% RG Pu, it is (assuming you can even get it to work, for reasons I detail below) a minimum of 18 kg.

Now, those may seem like trivial increases in overall weight. But the point you don't understand is that your entire design revolves around your naked sphere size. If you need 3X the Pu, you need 3X the explosives to compress it. You need 3X the tamper. ( Actually, its worse than this in reality, for reasons of geometry and energy density, but its a rough rule of thumb).

Further, since 240Pu is so much more radioactive, you need considerably more than 3X the shielding. You also need to design for a vastly larger heat load -- a 2% supergrade device contains 100 grams of 240Pu. A 35% Pu240 device contains more than 6 kilo grams of it, generating over 60 times as much heat and radiation.

So your hypothetical 35% 240Pu device is going to be substantially more than 3X as large. Got that so far?

Now, how much did the US's first supergrade Pu device weigh? Five tons. Meaning our hypothetical device is going to weigh more on the order of 18-20 tons...even more if its going to shielded enough to be safe to be around.

Using even HEU or weapons-grade Pu, a proliferating state usually finds miniaturizing a warhead enough for missile delivery to be as hard as building the base device itself. Using 35% Pu, its essentially impossible...or to be more precise, a state with the capabilities to do that would find it much easier to simply produce its own HEU or WG Pu.

QED.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/25/2010 6:41:58 PM , Rating: 2
All your thrashing around with spontaneous fission rates is irrelevant since you don't even know how those numbers relate to actual weapons physics. It's not an area of expertise for you, please stop guessing.

Your concepts of nuclear fission are flawed. Pu240 is not fissionable, it does not contribute to the explosion. The cross sections of Pu240 are irrelevant to the situation, thermal or otherwise.

The bottom line is that spontaneous neutrons could cause a fizzle. A fizzle still has a minimum yield of 2 to 4 Million pounds of TNT, a 'pop' as you put it. This is sufficient yield to trigger a boosted weapon design by putting several ounces of Deuterium/Tritium in the core. The neutron flux from the Deuterium/Tritium will cause the rest of the core to fission producing a high yield bomb in the 45 kiloton yield range.

Even without boosting don't you think a yield of 2 million pounds of TNT counts as a nuclear weapon? Apparently not. The US government certainly thinks so.

Trying to discredit Garwin's credibility because of his association with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and then equating them to tinfoil hat anti-nuke types is just a cheap Ad Hominem attack. Just because you don't like what they have to say doesn't make their science wrong. Who founded the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists? Why the very weapon scientists and designers who created our nuclear arsenal. You dismiss what the most knowledgeable experts in the field have to say as total rubbish? What expertise do you base your conclusions on?

Besides years in nuclear weapons Garwin was also the Chair of the Department of State Arms control and Non-proliferation advisory board, Member of the Defense Science Board of the office of the Secretary of Defense, and a member of the Rumsfeld commission to assess the Ballistic missile threat to the US. Does that sound like a tin foil hat to you?

There are legitimate concerns about nuclear technology. To dismiss them out of hand as mere ravings of anti-nuke conspirators smacks of the same sloppy wishful thinking of the very tin foil hat types you have such disdain for.

Then you get into the equivocating. 2 Million pounds of TNT...It's only a pop. You need more material... now you need a critical mass of 13 kg which will surely convince someone interested in making a bomb to give up. And a 1 kiloton warhead is too small to be interesting to anybody since it won't have any political impact or scare anybody and nobody minds the radiation. And since the US and Russia have FAEs that have 1% of that yield that will dissuade anybody from making a nuclear weapon.

Do you hear yourself?

This is the same sloppy wishful thinking you accuse the tin foil hat legions of.

You're a smart guy, you are better than this.

Physics is what it is, good or bad, trying to wish it away doesn't change it. I'm pro nuclear but you have to deal with realities.

and no, thermal neutrons play no role in nuclear weapons. It takes many tens of collisions to slow a neutron down to thermal ranges, there isn't time for this as the explosion is over in about 1 microsecond. Even the neutrons coming off the beryllium reflector barely have time to make it back into the core after a single collision and those neutrons are still very high energy. Moderated neutrons does not equal thermal neutrons.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/25/2010 11:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
"Pu240 is not fissionable,"

Lol, what??? Pu 240 is most certainly fissionable. I quoted you the fissionable cross sections for Pu-240, and even gave you the link the data was pulled from. Now bright boy, explain how a non-fissionable nucleus can have a fission cross section.

Oops.

I think you've confused the term with fissile , a quite different concept. Pu 240 is fissionable, it's not fissile. It can fission, but it can't support a chain reaction. Why not? Because its thermal neutron cross section (remember those thermal neutrons you claim have nothing to do with nuclear bombs) is too small.

Honestly, you don't have a clue what you're talking about. Fist you claim that thermal neutrons play no part in a chain reaction, then you say something as nonsensical as this?

" A fizzle still has a minimum yield of 2 to 4 Million pounds of TNT "

You just keep embarrassing yourself. North Korea's fizzle was around 1KT. That's a real world event -- not a hypothetical. Explain that one.

Or better yet, if 2-4 KT is the minimum yield, explain how the US has devices (such as the Mk-61 "dial a yield" design) that can be set to yield as little as 1/3 of a KT .. even if it DOESN'T fizzile.

There is no room for debate on this. A fizzle has no minimum or maximum output. A worst case fizzle can involve zero fission at all -- just the output of the chemical explosives within the device itself. The best case is an explosion nearly as powerful as the design parameters.

Reading an offhand comment in one link does not make you an expert on this.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 1:05:44 AM , Rating: 2
To add one further thing, these discussions about using "reactor grade Pu" are based on calculations for the minimum amount of 240Pu poisoning for that grade, which is between 10 - 18%, depending on year and context (the definitions have migrated a bit over time).

However, the Pu in a TWR design is modelled to be around 35% 240Pu, which is a substantially harder problem than 'base' reactor grade Pu.


RE: Sounds good to me
By randomly on 3/26/2010 1:49:52 AM , Rating: 1
Although the term fissionable is sometimes used interchangeably with fissile I'll agree with you that the more broadly used terminology in this case would be fissile.

Regardless all the concepts I pointed out are still correct.

Let's look at your previous post.

quote:
Pu-240's spontaneous fission rate is something like 1,600,000 neutrons per gram. Pu-239's is more like 40.

No problem yet.
quote:
When you factor in the higher neutron flux needed due to 240's lower cross section, the result is a difference of roughly seven orders of magnitude higher for spontaneous fission. Fizzles, in other words.


What?????

Why do you need a higher neutron flux for Pu240? it's not fissile, you don't care, it contributes nothing to the explosion. It's low fission cross section is irrelevant and has absolutely nothing to do with fizzles. In fact it's low fission cross section is precisely why it makes no contribution to the bomb. The fissile cross sections you quoted were wonderful numbers, but they are meaningless here. You're missing some basic concepts.

Clearly you don't even understand what is going on. You should at least read the paper by Dr. Serber you linked earlier.

Then you're back quoting thermal cross section stuff. As I told you before, thermal cross sections are irrelevant in bombs.

From Dr. Serber's paper -
"Slow Neutrons cannot play an essential role in an explosion process since they require about a microsecond to be slowed down in hydrogenic materials and the explosion is all over before they are slowed down."

Let's do some simple math next:

North Korea fizzle
1kt = 1000 tons = 1000 x 2000 lbs = 2,000,000 lbs TNT yield

Does that explain it clearly enough? And no it does not embarrass me to be able to do simple math correctly.

The minimum yield in a fizzle will depend on how rapidly the core increases in criticality and how long it takes to dissassemble to subcritical. Even with a simple implosion device this is 1-2 kiloton. If you use levitated core designs or flying plate designs you can improve on this.

How does the US have sub-kiloton yield devices if a fizzle is 1-2 kiloton? Easy, they are designed that way. Using core geometry, sub-critical masses, reflectors, and neutron initiator timing among other things you can get just about any yield you want.

It's not the same thing as a fizzle in a full yield critical mass weapon.

quote:
There is no room for debate on this. A fizzle has no minimum or maximum output. A worst case fizzle can involve zero fission at all -- just the output of the chemical explosives within the device itself. The best case is an explosion nearly as powerful as the design parameters.


You seem to be unclear what the term fizzle in this context refers to. It refers to a chain reaction started by a stray neutron just as the core is assembled enough to reach criticality. The geometry is barely sufficient to sustain a chain reaction, the reaction proceeds until enough heat is generated to disassemble the core to the point where the reaction stops. The core goes subcritical before a large part of the core has fissioned and you get less than the desired yield. The term refers to an otherwise properly functional weapon that suffers from an early ignition before achieving optimal assemble due to stray neutrons.

A fizzle is not referring to any other failure mechanism or yield reducing cause, just the premature ignition problem.

You're ego is fascinating to have been wrong on every single point and yet have such blind confidence to tell me I'm the one that doesn't know what he's talking about?

The irony of this last statement though just tops it all since I did hold CNDWI (Critical Nuclear Weapons Design Information) and AFWL (Air Force Weapons Lab) clearances and worked for a company doing nuclear weapons research under a man who was the alternate head of the LANL T division for 20+ years and who I had regular dinner conversations with about these topics.

Now what's your background again?

quote:
Reading an offhand comment in one link does not make you an expert on this.


It's funny that all your derisive comments actually apply to you, not me. Your ego is writing checks your intellect can't cash. You don't seem to be interested in the truth, just in winning arguments by any means necessary. You're thinking like a tin foil hat type. You're better than this.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 11:57:27 AM , Rating: 3
"Although the term fissionable is sometimes used interchangeably with fissile.."

Sorry, you don't wiggle out of such a huge error this easily. The term 'fissile' is a bit loose, but the meaning of 'fissionable' is set in stone. A nucleus is fissionable if it can absorb neutrons and fission. Period.

Worse, you're still ignoring the reason some isotopes are fissile, and others merely fissionable. Guess why? (Hint: it involves those thermal neutrons you claim are meaningless ).

"Why do you need a higher neutron flux for Pu240? it's not fissile, you don't care, it contributes nothing to the explosion."

This indicates such a basic lack of understand of particle physics that I fear further conversation is pointless. I'll try again anyway. You've already admitted 240Pu is fissionable. Now, when you put a fissionable material in an extraordinarily strong neutron flux, what happens?

We'll pause for a few minutes for you to consider....

Yes! It fissions! (To be precise, more often than not it becomes 241Pu, but that is even more fissile than 239Pu, so the overall result in the same). It may fission into any one of several dozen different isotopes (I won't go into dolly parton curves here) but when it does, what does it invariably give off? Yes again! Energy!

Now, this is the part that's going to give you trouble. If 240Pu can fission, and give off a few MEV every time it does...why can't you build a bomb out of it? Think hard now.

The problem is your energy budget. The amount of neutrons you have driving the chain reaction. Put very simply and ignoring a hundred complicating factors, 240Pu has a budget of less than unity -- meaning in fission, it absorbs more neutrons than it emits. It thus tends to "damp out" a chain reaction, rather than supporting it.

You can prove this mathematically by looking at the cross sections. Its absorption cross section is higher, and its fission cross much lower. Those values you claim don't matter are the entire reason why 240Pu is not fissile.

Getting any of this or should I slow down?

Now, if your percentage of 240Pu is less than 15% or so, the havoc it plays on your energy budget is rather low. In this case, the primary problem is predetonation, due to 240Pu's much higher spontaneous fission rate. But as the isotope ratio rises, this problem becomes far worse.

You can't simply "ignore" the 240Pu, because it has a large absorption cross section. It's in there sucking up your neutrons, playing merry hell with your energy budget. When you get to values of 30%+, your energy budget is basically unsustainable...unless you postulate superefficient tamper or reflector design, far beyond what a proliferating state could achieve without much data from multiple first-generation tests. The 240Pu isn't just "doing nothing", it's damping out your chain reaction.

You should have seen this yourself from your own link, which points out the higher critical masses required for reactor grade Pu...masses that were more than just a simple 18% higher that you would calculate based on simply ignoring the 240Pu.

To summarize. Non-fissile isotopes don't support chain reactions, but they still contribute large amounts of energy to the actual yield. In a uranium weapon, 238U adds substantially to the yield, and in a Pu device, 240Pu does as well.

"North Korea fizzle
1kt = 1000 tons = 1000 x 2000 lbs = 2,000,000 lbs TNT yield"


So you finally admit your statement of a "2-4KT minimum yield from a fizzle is wrong? Thank god for small favors.

"A fizzle is not referring to any other failure mechanism or yield reducing cause, just the premature ignition problem."

Incorrect again. A fizzle refers to ANY failure in which yield is less than 30% of the design estimate. Premature ignition is simply the primary failure mode.


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/26/2010 12:35:04 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I did hold CNDWI (Critical Nuclear Weapons Design Information) and AFWL (Air Force Weapons Lab) clearances and worked for a company doing nuclear weapons research
Your appeal to authority falls flat, especially given you've already admitted to several errors in this thread (and the even larger errors you're still promulgating). Installing Windows in a lab somewhere does not make you an expert...no matter who was nearby when you did it.

Facts are facts. My own background is irrelevant, but I'll give it anyway. I'm an engineer with a degree in physics, and I spent nearly a decade calculating neutron absorption effects for materials supplied to nuclear reactors.

Does that make what I say true? The facts I present are all clearly demonstrable and stand on their own. When you resort to an appeal to authority, you've essentially given up all honest debate.


RE: Sounds good to me
By Jeffk464 on 3/24/2010 2:05:34 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know much about nuclear fuel or reaction but in the article it said that they were going to bury the reactors and cover them with concrete so people could not steal the fuel. If its not a problem then why would they take these steps to prevent it?


RE: Sounds good to me
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 2:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Because if you crack one open while its in operation, you're going to be exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.

Burying is a tamper-resistance mechanism. It won't stop a government obviously...but any government is already able to procure far more dangerous materials than the small amount of daughter nuclides you'd find inside one of these.


Using these to power cargo ships
By ussfletcher on 3/23/2010 5:46:28 PM , Rating: 2
Its no secret that a large portion of fuel consumed annually is used to haul freight across the ocean in huge ships. I hope that these small and safe reactors will eventually find their way into these cargo ships to drastically cut down on fuel consumption.

Having an armed crew onboard the ship, from an international agency would help deter pirates.




RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By cornelius785 on 3/23/2010 6:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
that just gave me an idea... why not also setup car charging (electric or hydrogen) stations using these small nuclear reactors? then again, why not just build more large scale nuclear reactors and update the grid and not worry about having hundreds of small nuclear reactors and just have relatively few big reactors?

i do like the idea of going from oil based engines to a nuclear engine in large tanker and cargo ships. 'Fueling' would probably only have to be done once (isn't ther some US carrier that has a nuclear reactor that is lasting a very long time??).


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By FishTankX on 3/23/2010 7:36:18 PM , Rating: 2
There is an excellent reason why you would want to go with many small reactors instead of big ones.

The reason being district heating.

A 100mw reactor generates roughly 150mw of waste heat. This is enough to displace 3750 gallons of heating oil per HOUR. In very cold places, this could save roughly 32 million gallons of fuel oil a year in heating costs, if run 24/7. Heating not used for house heating could easily be used for sidewalk snowmelting or road snowmelting.

When there are compact high temperature low refueling designs, there could be hydrogen generation done on the side from the thermal to chemical processes like the iodine sulfur cycle. Keeping the hydrogen on site in the reactor could eliminate distribution pipelines and supply fuel to remote areas.

Basically, the mini reactor provides something mankind has never had before. A compact, low refueling, highly concentrated energy source that is perfectly suited for isolated areas in cold climates.


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By ekv on 3/23/2010 10:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
Any further reading to go along with this?


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By FishTankX on 3/24/2010 4:10:00 AM , Rating: 2
Ofcourse. My opinion would be of little value if it were just an uninformed, solitary position.

http://www.ecolo.org/documents/documents_in_englis...

While the article is written by the nuclear people, it provides some insight into the situation.


By kattanna on 3/24/2010 11:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
an interesting article, thanks


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By ekv on 3/24/2010 8:34:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, you're OP was right. I used to read power industry mag's and co-gen was seen as a good way to get 10% boost in overall cycle efficiency. In an industry where getting a 1% improvement is totally a big deal, 10% is quite desirable.

The problem of course is getting the power gen plant into somebodies neighborhood, or more likely, into an industrial park. TWR seems to be a way to get there: efficient, co-gen, low(er) maintenance, can be a much smaller facility (and still safe), etc.

Good link.


By porkpie on 3/24/2010 10:51:29 PM , Rating: 2
"The reason being district heating..."

Can you imagine the benefits of this in a place like Sweden, or even Chicago? A few GW of waste heat, right under your city streets, keeping them warm and free of snow even in the worst of conditions? With entire apartment blocks heated for free in the bargain?

I swear, the amount of money we've wasted on the solar and wind boondoggle, rather than promoting nuclear power, is truly a crime against humanity.


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By Zoomer on 3/25/2010 10:26:12 PM , Rating: 1
I've been bitching about having heated sidewalks and roads forever. Finally someone else is talking about it!


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By Akrovah on 3/23/2010 7:52:39 PM , Rating: 2
The Enterprise was commisioned in 1961, was the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier in the world and still operates to this day.

Not sure how often it has to be fueled, however.


By FishTankX on 3/23/2010 9:19:36 PM , Rating: 2
Every 20 years according to wikipedia


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By Solandri on 3/24/2010 3:47:53 AM , Rating: 1
First, OP is wrong. Cargo container ships and oil tankers are some of the most fuel-efficient transports we use. They have the lowest cost per ton-mile of goods delivered, beating even rail transport. Rail is very close, costing about 2-3x more. Trucks are much worse, 10x worse than rail. And air transport is the most expensive, a bit more than twice as worse than truck. Shipping a cargo container from Hong Kong to Los Angeles requires less fuel than trucking it from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch3en/conc3...

Second, a nuclear cargo ship has already been tried. The NS Savannah was built as a demonstration vessel as part of the Atoms for Peace program. As such it wasn't really configured to handle cargo well, and was outfitted with relatively luxurious crew quarters. During 5 years of operation rather than burning an estimated 29 million gallons of fuel oil, she consumed 163 pounds of uranium, which coincidentally is about 1 (one) gallon. Unfortunately her poor cargo layout and high maintenance requirement made her a commercial failure.

http://www.sandia.gov/LabNews/LN03-26-99/savannah_...


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By namechamps on 3/24/2010 9:19:28 AM , Rating: 3
In 1963:
* oil was $10 per barrel
* cargo ships were much smaller
* like you said the layout was horrible.

Imagine today a well designed/layout supercargo ship outfitted with reactor competing against $100 oil prices.


RE: Using these to power cargo ships
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 12:00:16 PM , Rating: 2
Let's also not forget reactor technology has advanced dramatically since 1963. Imagine the outcry if we continually judged wind and solar power by their state of technology from 5 decades ago.


By rett448 on 3/25/2010 5:51:13 PM , Rating: 2
there is also the issue that nuclear power ships are only allowed in to dock in certain ports


Yeah, but
By Spacecomber on 3/23/2010 5:37:22 PM , Rating: 3
how many FPS will it get?

(I'd vote myself down if I could.)




RE: Yeah, but
By CurseTheSky on 3/23/2010 5:43:31 PM , Rating: 1
Who cares, as long as it will play Crysis.

Maybe we'll need these to run SLI GTX 480s?


RE: Yeah, but
By inighthawki on 3/23/10, Rating: -1
RE: Yeah, but
By blppt on 3/23/2010 6:03:40 PM , Rating: 5
Because you probably need one of these to power an SLI Fermi system!

HAW HAW HAW


RE: Yeah, but
By swaaye on 3/23/2010 6:04:07 PM , Rating: 2
Well some people water cool their video cards. ;)


RE: Yeah, but
By ekv on 3/23/2010 10:21:12 PM , Rating: 2
Someone mentioned NVIDIA and you mentioned water cooling ... and now I'm just stuck thinking "Chernobyl". Chernobyl. Chernobyl....

Couldn't have anything to do with NVIDIA's fearless leader though. Nah ... couldn't. 8)


1,000 KW
By forgotmypassword on 3/23/2010 6:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you use thousands of kilowatts instead of megawatts?




RE: 1,000 KW
By sxr7171 on 3/23/2010 6:25:49 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what I was thinking. It was horrible to read.


RE: 1,000 KW
By AssBall on 3/23/2010 6:41:13 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed

1 million kilowatts...

Um cuz gigawatt is hard to figure out and so much harder to write... /sigh.


RE: 1,000 KW
By Camikazi on 3/23/2010 8:12:15 PM , Rating: 1
Usually saying 1 million of something has more of an impact then saying 1 of something in a larger unit. At least to me 1,000,000 kilowatts is just easier to see the amount then saying 1 gigawatt, even though I know they mean the same thing.


RE: 1,000 KW
By themaster08 on 3/24/2010 7:01:22 AM , Rating: 2
WHAT THE HELL IS A GIGAWATT?!


RE: 1,000 KW
By frobizzle on 3/24/2010 9:01:50 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I know you need 1.21 of them to power your DeLorean time machine!


Ahh, the American dream
By geddarkstorm on 3/23/2010 5:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
A chicken in every pot, and a nuclear reactor under every backyard.

Hey, I wouldn't mind one myself, in all seriousness!




RE: Ahh, the American dream
By icanhascpu on 3/23/2010 8:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't mind getting an ultra light 1 MW version. I could start my own small town.


RE: Ahh, the American dream
By shin0bi272 on 3/23/2010 9:13:55 PM , Rating: 2
Actually considering the average home uses 24kwh per day a small reactor (well shielded of course) could be a good solution to our growing power needs. a 50kw reactor would be pretty small and the nuclear fuel in it would be very small (about the size of a quarter). But it wont happen cause it doesnt "promote a greener lifestyle" so the environMENTALists wont go for it.


RE: Ahh, the American dream
By MadMan007 on 3/23/2010 11:07:11 PM , Rating: 2
According to The Simpsons nuclear power is a nice glowy green. Is that not what they mean by 'green power'???


RE: Ahh, the American dream
By icanhascpu on 3/24/2010 8:01:34 AM , Rating: 2
A reactor that small would not be smart imo. I think it would be better to have a grid with many smaller ones (1-100MW) placed in small-med cities and larger ones (1GW+) for insurance placed near quickly growing areas.


By ian80 on 3/23/2010 7:11:41 PM , Rating: 4
Would you like some help with that?




Babcock and Wilcox
By Wolfgangap on 3/24/2010 9:58:17 AM , Rating: 2
B&W is also working on this in the United States.

http://www.babcock.com/products/modular_nuclear/

quote:
The modular and scalable design of the B&W mPower reactor allows B&W to match the generation needs of our customers with the proven performance of existing light water reactor technology. Several reactor modules can be installed to support the customer requirements and infrastructure constraints.




RE: Babcock and Wilcox
By porkpie on 3/24/2010 12:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
The B&W design is much less radical; it's essentially just a variant of the standard LWR we've been using for decades.


Are they crazy?
By Jeffk464 on 3/23/2010 7:12:48 PM , Rating: 2
There is special need for these mini-reactors in developing nations

What could possibly go wrong?




RE: Are they crazy?
By Danish1 on 3/23/2010 9:17:34 PM , Rating: 1
Yes they are.


Blue screen of death
By BZDTemp on 3/24/2010 10:51:31 AM , Rating: 1
Enough said :-)

I'd rather they would work on something clean.




RE: Blue screen of death
By JediJeb on 3/24/2010 5:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't get much cleaner or greener to be using nuclear waste to run a reactor that only need refueling every 100 years.


BSOD
By johnsonx on 3/23/10, Rating: 0
RE: BSOD
By Jeffk464 on 3/23/2010 7:13:46 PM , Rating: 2
Thats so win95 - winMe


Kudos to Bill...
By Amiga500 on 3/23/2010 7:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
It is money well spent.

Even though I would prefer it to be spent on accelerated particle reactors, get them working and it effectively removes the ignorant tree-huggers last argument against nuclear power (waste).




By 2tweeked on 3/24/2010 4:03:57 AM , Rating: 2
Thorium is the next best alternative nuclear fuel to use as a stop gap. There is plenty of it. The fuel is less toxic as depleted waste. It is difficult to make a weapon from it. It is self regulating and will not "China syndrome" It is a more efficient alternative to uranium. This educational video sums it up better than I can. Thank you.

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZR0UKxNPh8&feature...




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