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The Nuclear Power Thread

by russ_watters
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Joseph Chikva
#325
Apr16-11, 08:00 AM
P: 202
Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
Well I know I'm oversimplifying, but apparently not to level absurd enough for this thread - I see I should of simply omitted the whole 'need for more lines' issue.
Ya, and to get the use down, you raise the price, for the alternatives to be economically viable.
Now you began to say about viability level of prices rising. But the main difficulty is in the different dependence on electricity prices in different industries. I can miss some branches but now can maintain the most depended are aluminum production and chlorine production. Do you propose average level of price rising? You will kill these two.

Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
Heating for example is a major use of electricity that can over time be rid of by use of heat directly, especially in a place that uses mostly fossil fuels. There is a lot of cases where a lot of electricity is spent literally as a matter of convenience. That can't be done overnight, but I never said it can. Over several years yes. In the industry, too, there is a lot of cases whereby it is a lot cheaper to use electric heater than to have an on-site fossil heat source - due to cost of white collar and blue collar labour involved in designing and setting it up, not the cost of resources.
Look at the oil. Prices rise and oil consumption goes down. You know, I am not worried about peak oil. Why am I not worried? Because as the cost of resources rises, this creates demand for the blue and white collar work involved in optimization.
The matter is in the some trigger level on prices after which usage of fossil fuel vs. electricity will not be expedient. And this level differs in different industries. And if prices on crude will reach that level you will see more and more electric industrial heaters instead of fuel burning.

I do not try to save nuke industry, but I really do not see the real alternative.

And what your fellow countryman Mendeleyev has told about crude oil burning? "This is the same that banknotes burning". But we burn them (banknotes) and in very big ammounts.
JaredJames
#326
Apr16-11, 08:14 AM
P: 3,387
Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
Ya, and to get the use down, you raise the price, for the alternatives to be economically viable.
The alternatives are not capable of meeting demand. Especially in a country such as Japan where you have little room to place them.

Wind and solar power require far too much room, hydro could compete, but where do they put all those lakes and dams?

That's why they aren't economically viable.

This applies to anywhere that doesn't have the climate or space to locate the required amounts of renewable sources.

I'm also curious, why the power companies would raise the price and price themselves out of the competition? It's not what businesses do. You are talking about having power companies effectively commit suicide on those plants by making this move.

Regarding waste: I completely agree we waste a lot. But that doesn't make heating "stupid".
Dmytry
#327
Apr16-11, 09:31 AM
P: 505
"The alternatives are not capable of meeting demand"
How do you know that? Did you count the alternatives such as burning coal on industrial site to produce the heat, instead of using electric heating? Or did you just go - hydro and solar and wind cant replace nuclear?

Japan's electricity is primarily made in coal burning plants, do you know that? I'm not speaking of the fluffy hydro and renewables, I've been making this abundantly clear. I'm speaking of the big bad coal that kills more people than nuclear could, replacing the nuclear. Hydro also sucks by the way. Downstream from the dam, if the dam is destroyed, you get artificial tsunami.

I'm not saying it is good to replace nuclear with coal. In my opinion actually it is bad to replace nuclear with coal. What I am saying, is that it CAN happen, and just because it is bad, does not mean it won't happen, and it is furthermore very dumb of pro nuclear crowd to be optimistically telling how it can't happen, and risk to have it happen. Nuclear industry already lost enormous amount of face.

"I'm also curious, why the power companies would raise the price and price themselves out of the competition?"
lol, so suddenly there is competition that'd bring price down / provide it at lower price. Interesting, interesting.
JaredJames
#328
Apr16-11, 09:40 AM
P: 3,387
Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
"The alternatives are not capable of meeting demand"
How do you know that? /Did you count the alternatives such as burning coal on industrial site to produce the heat, instead of using electric heating? Or did you just go - hydro and solar and wind cant replace nuclear?
What does that have to do with anything? The alternative sources cannot, on a reasonable scale, produce enough electricity to cover the demand of a nuclear plant.

I am discussing renewable alternatives not fossil fuels. Going from nuclear to fossil fuel is a step backwards.
Japan's electricity is primarily made in coal burning plants, do you know that? I'm not speaking of the fluffy hydro and renewables, I've been making this abundantly clear. I'm speaking of the big bad coal that kills more people than nuclear could.
You think they should switch to coal? A step backwards if I've ever heard it. The death rates from that are through the roof.

You're arguing nuclear isn't safe and it's bad and they should force people to switch to alternate supplies such as coal, yet the death rates from nuclear including Chernobyl (and now Japan) are still far lower than coal. Where is the logic in that?

Whether people like it or not, the death rate from nuclear is significantly lower than coal and it is far safer. There is no argument that "we should switch to coal because it's better". If we are willing to accept the deaths from coal, why are we up in arms over nuclear when it has less deaths anyway? On a risk of death scale, nuclear ranks far better than coal.

I don't see the nuclear industry losing face - I see a lot of public panic generated by the media.
lol, so suddenly there is competition that'd bring price down. Interesting, interesting.
Where do you live? This is how business operates. Of course there is competition that brings the price down. No business is going to artificially inflate the price of their nuclear supply so no one can afford it - lose customers, which lowers demand - which means they have no reason to build new coal plants - would you spend billions when there's no money coming in to cover it and no demand there?
Astronuc
#329
Apr20-11, 10:21 AM
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A very interesting discussion on the current state of nuclear energy in the US -

Nuclear Power: Setting Sun?
http://www.commonwealthclub.org/even...er-setting-sun

Jacques Besnainou, CEO AREVA Inc.
Lucas Davis, Professor, Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
Jeff Byron, Former Commissioner, California Energy Commission
Dmytry
#330
Apr20-11, 11:13 AM
P: 505
Quote Quote by jarednjames View Post
What does that have to do with anything? The alternative sources cannot, on a reasonable scale, produce enough electricity to cover the demand of a nuclear plant.

I am discussing renewable alternatives not fossil fuels. Going from nuclear to fossil fuel is a step backwards.


You think they should switch to coal? A step backwards if I've ever heard it. The death rates from that are through the roof.

You're arguing nuclear isn't safe and it's bad and they should force people to switch to alternate supplies such as coal, yet the death rates from nuclear including Chernobyl (and now Japan) are still far lower than coal. Where is the logic in that?

Whether people like it or not, the death rate from nuclear is significantly lower than coal and it is far safer. There is no argument that "we should switch to coal because it's better". If we are willing to accept the deaths from coal, why are we up in arms over nuclear when it has less deaths anyway? On a risk of death scale, nuclear ranks far better than coal.
For 10th time. I'm not saying what they should or should not do. I'm saying what they may do. I'm even saying why it is bad (more deaths I'd guess). Where is the logic you ask? Where is the logic in using primarily coal? Or where is the logic in starting a project to develop Japanese equivalent of KHG but drop the project 1 year in? Or where is the logic in getting 2 robots, one with hand held radiation monitor other to look at it, instead of 2 robots capable of measuring radiation? There isn't logic. There's actions - and consequences.

Seriously, I'm getting impression there that pro nuclear people want to be elite underground (vs convincing anyone that nuclear has future).
clancy688
#331
Apr20-11, 11:32 AM
P: 546
Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
Seriously, I'm getting impression there that pro nuclear people want to be elite underground (vs convincing anyone that nuclear has future).
And I'm getting the impression that the contra nuclear people want to be elite underground as well, convincing everyone that nuclear power has no future.

scnr
Dmytry
#332
Apr20-11, 11:35 AM
P: 505
If only. So far I can't even convince pro-nuclear that Fukushima even in principle could damage nuclear industry big time. They don't see the logical reason why it should, so the idea is that it won't.
Astronuc
#333
Apr20-11, 01:27 PM
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Quote Quote by Dmytry View Post
If only. So far I can't even convince pro-nuclear that Fukushima even in principle could damage nuclear industry big time. They don't see the logical reason why it should, so the idea is that it won't.
Sure it will have an effect - and it has.

NRG withdraws from Texan project
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NN...t-2004114.html
20 April 2011

Italian government puts brakes on nuclear vote
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/NP...e_1904112.html
20 April 2011
Dmytry
#334
Apr20-11, 03:09 PM
P: 505
In soviets, head of minatom IIRC said something like, science requires sacrifice. After Chernobyl. A great pro-nuclear advocate he was, eh. I think what was really bad about Fukushima, is all the 11th coverage and news exceeding the worst expectations. I really wouldn't bet my money that Japanese won't start phasing out nuclear.
Just for laughs I looked up insurance rates on nuclear power plants. They apparently estimated 1/1000 probability of $300M liability accident per reactor year, that order of magnitude (collecting 400K$/year per reactor, max payment around 300M , that's for liabilities). Then there is
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price%E..._Indemnity_Act
It would seem to me that economically speaking, nobody's - not owners either - are trusting those immensely low risk figures that have been circulating (1 in 30 000 core-years etc), nobody's willing to bet a lot of money that those figures are correct.
I really dunno, if a nuclear plant is to be constructed near my house - why exactly should I trust it more than an insurance firm would? Which gives it 1% probability of serious accident in 10 years for single reactor, which in my book is a little on the not so nice side to be honest. Sure I'd rather live next to NPP than to coal fired plant, but i'd even rather have my own solar panel and energy storage, even if it costs a lot more. And I'd definitely invest in radiation monitor that is on 24/7 . 1% per 10 years is not very good neighbourhood.
edpell
#335
May10-11, 05:18 PM
P: 451
LFTR (liquid fluoride thorium [nuclear] reactor) looks like a good solution to our energy needs. Lots of info at www.energyfromthorium.com An initial charge of U233 is used to breed U233 from a thorium blanket and produce energy.

It produces much less waste and the waste is shorter lived. It uses only room pressure unlike LWR that use high temperature water under high pressure to keep it from flashing to high pressure, high temperature steam (hence the need for the large thick pressure dome in case of failure not needed with liquid thorium fluoride/liquid uranium fluoride).

This type of reactor was run at Oak Ridge in the 1960s and is under development in France and China currently. Once they have a large source of electricity they can make synthetic methanol and dimethyl ether for transportation fuels.
Astronuc
#336
May15-11, 12:03 PM
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P: 21,806
Non-proprietary presentation to NRC by GEH/GNF on current technology developments.
http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1027/ML102700236.pdf (~24 MB file, so use save target as)
zapperzero
#337
May19-11, 06:46 AM
P: 1,041
Quote Quote by edpell View Post
LFTR.
Liquid uranium fluoride. 800 degrees Celsius or even more, for process heat applications. No containment. Heat exchanger where water is separated from molten fluoride salt by just the thickness of a steel pipe, that's supposed to last decades, without embrittling from either fluorine or neutrons.

A radioactive fuel re-processing plant that deals with molten fluoride salts, next to every reactor. Plutonium, produced and separated on an ongoing basis.

If the thought of all this doesn't send a chill up your spine, I don't know what will.
There is a reason why those reactors never got past technology demonstrator phase. The knowledge needed to make them reliable just wasn't there. It still isn't.
zapperzero
#338
May19-11, 06:54 AM
P: 1,041
Quote Quote by JaredJames View Post
No business is going to artificially inflate the price of their nuclear supply so no one can afford it - lose customers, which lowers demand - which means they have no reason to build new coal plants - would you spend billions when there's no money coming in to cover it and no demand there?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enron#C..._energy_crisis

An energy producer artificially inflating price and thus driving demand destruction. The price point where maximum profit ratio is found is never the point at which the most units of a certain product could be sold.

EDIT: that's partly because nothing in the energy markets really is a fungible commodity, electricity least of all.
mheslep
#339
May19-11, 01:39 PM
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P: 3,072
Quote Quote by zapperzero View Post

EDIT: that's partly because nothing in the energy markets really is a fungible commodity, electricity least of all.
??? Nearly the opposite is true, as most fuels are close to being commodities especially in raw form, less so the as they are processed, modified, and blended to meet the regulations of particular local markets.
mheslep
#340
May19-11, 02:36 PM
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Quote Quote by zapperzero View Post
Liquid uranium fluoride. 800 degrees Celsius or even more, for process heat applications.
I speculate that most engineers would rather deal with a high temperature, low pressure system than a lower temperature, high pressure (153 atm for a light water PWR) system.

Quote Quote by zapperzero
No containment. Heat exchanger where water is separated from molten fluoride salt by just the thickness of a steel pipe, that's supposed to last decades, without embrittling from either fluorine or neutrons.

A radioactive fuel re-processing plant that deals with molten fluoride salts, next to every reactor. Plutonium, produced and separated on an ongoing basis.
Reprocessing from the spent fuel of a U235 light water reactor produces Pu upon re-processing, not so for Th based LFTR (in significant amounts).

Quote Quote by zapperzero
...
There is a reason why those reactors never got past technology demonstrator phase.
Yes, and that's well known to be the need for an infrastructure that lent itself to making weapons grade material, not reliability. See, e.g.

Quote Quote by Wired
Uranium reactors had already been established, and Hyman Rickover, de facto head of the US nuclear program, wanted the plutonium from uranium-powered nuclear plants to make bombs. Increasingly shunted aside, Weinberg was finally forced out in 1973.
zapperzero
#341
May23-11, 07:10 AM
P: 1,041
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
??? Nearly the opposite is true, as most fuels are close to being commodities especially in raw form, less so the as they are processed, modified, and blended to meet the regulations of particular local markets.
Fuels are rarely if ever blended. There's sweet crude, light crude, heavy crude, sour crude... quality differences which are reflected in the price and sometimes transferred to the end-products. Gasoline from made from Lybian oil has less sulfur than that from Saudi oil.

Refineries are generally optimized to deal with a certain type of oil. Re-equipping one is complicated and expensive.

Availability is another issue. Transport issues mean that crude from the Middle East does NOT have the same price all over the world. Some places, it may simply be unavailable. When you see talk of "oil prices" on CNN, they are generally speaking of the WTI index, which is just that, an index value from a local market, describing the price of a notional barrel of oil of a given known quality. WTI crude does not exist.

All physical deliveries are priced against a given index, with prices modified to reflect delivery date and quality of delivered product.

As for electricity, the constraints the grid imposes (huge transport losses, frequencies etc), plus the infinitesimal amounts of storage available, mean that price varies wildly across the "global market". In fact, there is no global electricity market, so it's not a commodity.
zapperzero
#342
May23-11, 08:08 AM
P: 1,041
Quote Quote by mheslep View Post
I speculate that most engineers would rather deal with a high temperature, low pressure system than a lower temperature, high pressure (153 atm for a light water PWR) system.

Reprocessing from the spent fuel of a U235 light water reactor produces Pu upon re-processing, not so for Th based LFTR (in significant amounts).
You speculate. You are also conveniently glossing over the corrosion issue.
What do you mean when you say a LFTR does not produce plutonium in significant amounts? It does. Separating it as it is being produced is trivial.


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