Just how safe are molten salt and pebble bed reactors?

  • Thread starter greswd
  • Start date
  • #1
755
19
According to popular news, these two kinds of reactor designs can never cause another Chernobyl or Fukushima, the polluting of a vast area of land and rendering it uninhabitable for a vast length of time.

I just wanna know how true this is. If so, it is really good news, and the world can certainly have more of such reactors.

Even an extremely minuscule risk of another Fukushima spooks the bejesus out of people, because the consequences are so immediate and devastating. Furthermore, tiny nations can be eradicated by such disasters, as their population is forced to relocate.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Insights Author
8,856
5,755
Nuclear plant safety is much too complicated for a one paragraph flip answer.


You're getting deep into hyperbole in the following.
Even an extremely minuscule risk of another Fukushima spooks the bejesus out of people, because the consequences are so immediate and devastating. Furthermore, tiny nations can be eradicated by such disasters, as their population is forced to relocate.
 
  • #3
PeterDonis
Mentor
Insights Author
2019 Award
31,634
10,377
Nuclear plant safety is much too complicated for a one paragraph flip answer.
As a comment about the details of the subject, this is of course true. However, I think there is a simple answer to the key question the OP poses:

According to popular news, these two kinds of reactor designs can never cause another Chernobyl or Fukushima, the polluting of a vast area of land and rendering it uninhabitable for a vast length of time.

I just wanna know how true this is.
It's true.

That said, your post contains a hidden assumption that should be brought out: that people being "spooked" by the possibility of another Chernobyl or Fukushima is sufficient reason for them to be unwilling to accept nuclear energy. The problem with that assumption is that, even taking Chernobyl and Fukushima into account, nuclear energy has still caused much less harm than any other energy source--many more people have been killed by other energy sources as compared to nuclear. If you compare deaths per unit of energy produced, the disparity is even greater. But the harms from other energy sources are not as concentrated, so it's easier to ignore them.
 
  • Like
Likes bhobba and essenmein
  • #4
755
19
As a comment about the details of the subject, this is of course true. However, I think there is a simple answer to the key question the OP poses:



It's true.

That said, your post contains a hidden assumption that should be brought out: that people being "spooked" by the possibility of another Chernobyl or Fukushima is sufficient reason for them to be unwilling to accept nuclear energy. The problem with that assumption is that, even taking Chernobyl and Fukushima into account, nuclear energy has still caused much less harm than any other energy source--many more people have been killed by other energy sources as compared to nuclear. If you compare deaths per unit of energy produced, the disparity is even greater. But the harms from other energy sources are not as concentrated, so it's easier to ignore them.
Oh, nah, I'm not trying to raise any points about whether its a sufficient reason or not. But yeah, people aren't always so logical and rational.

Anyway, that's great news, such plants could serve us well for low-emissions in the intermediate time it takes for fusion to become viable.
 
  • #5
DEvens
Education Advisor
Gold Member
1,203
457
Lots of text snipped.
But the harms from other energy sources are not as concentrated, so it's easier to ignore them.
It's not always less concentrated for other forms of power. A series of dam failures in China in 1975 may have caused as many as 230,000 deaths, about 26,000 directly and the rest as a result of injuries or destruction of infrastructure.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banqiao_Dam
Do you know whether you live downstream from a significant dam? Do hurricanes ever come to your area?
 
  • #6
BillTre
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,611
3,655
aaa4be44-7ad0-11e3-9b30-12313d1c2285-original.jpg
 
  • Like
  • Haha
Likes jackwhirl, artis, Nik_2213 and 1 other person
  • #9
anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
Insights Author
8,856
5,755
This thread drifted far away from the OP topic. In post #4, the OP said the question was answered.

Thread closed.
 

Related Threads on Just how safe are molten salt and pebble bed reactors?

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
4K
Replies
26
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
1K
Replies
16
Views
20K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
6K
Replies
2
Views
383
Replies
12
Views
3K
Replies
1
Views
993
Top