The Nuclear Power Thread

anorlunda

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Why are we discussing terrorist tactics to blow up a nuclear power plant? That would not be tolerated in any other PF thread.

By PF rules, I should delete the posts discussing those tactics and replies to the deleted posts. But I'll not do it this time because I can't be sure which post originated it.

If you want this thread to continue, keep it adult.
 

mheslep

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@anorlunda, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission now has post 911 requirements in place like 50.150 Aircraft impact assessment for new reactors, a major regulatory change applied after the start of construction of new reactors in the southeast US, and which significantly impacted the cost of those projects. It would be difficult to discuss the cost of nuclear power without understanding the boundaries of worst case accident.

I imagine some guidelines should apply to the discussion. I suppose any details about the mechanism of how to destroy a reactor are irrelevant.
 

jim hardy

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By PF rules, I should delete the posts discussing those tactics and replies to the deleted posts. But I'll not do it this time because I can't be sure which post originated it.
I suppose any details about the mechanism of how to destroy a reactor are irrelevant.
well, loose lips sink ships. I'll edit my previous post now. old jim
 

ISamson

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I have noticed that even Isaac Asimov in the Foundation Trilogy talks that nuclear power is the future, regarding science and electricity.
What do you think?
 

jim hardy

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What do you think?
Decisions and golf swings have one thing in common - their rightness or wrongness is determined by the follow through..
If you stick by a decision and do your honest best it'll almost always come out just fine.
Nuclear power requires more rigorous follow through than most other societal decisions because the consequences .of failure are so spectacular. And a longer one because the waste has to be managed.

We're more than capable of handling the science and engineering required for a successful nuclear power program.
I do question whether as a society we've got the maturity for the century long follow through it's gonna take to run a plant for fifty or sixty years then get its spent fuel ready for re-use.

Fukushima showed the folly of pride and refusal to face facts like those ancient warning stones on the hill above the plant marked "Don't build below here you'll get washed away" . Mythology addresses it too but hardly anybody studies that anymore.

I see news articles about shutting down Diablo Canyon over fish eggs. Makes me shake my head and think "Let them eat caviar" .

To answer your question,
i think we will come back to Nuclear Power sometime in the future - after the computer influence on human thought patterns makes society more logical.

my two cents , and overpriced at that.

old jim
 

etudiant

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Jim Hardy said:
I think we will come back to Nuclear Power sometime in the future - after the computer influence on human thought patterns makes society more logical. --

In a world that is increasingly irrational, because computers have taught our children to just 'look up the answer' rather than to think for themselves, that seems very unlikely to me. The degree to which absurdities such as catastrophic AGW have become articles of faith, based on shoddy computer modeling, simply underscores the trend. We are losing the ability to maintain what we have, much less innovate for a nuclear future.
 
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I have noticed that even Isaac Asimov in the Foundation Trilogy talks that nuclear power is the future, regarding science and electricity. What do you think?
My view? Its an important part of our future energy supply mix - provided people are rational - which they are not. Out here is Australia it's pretty much forbidden to even discuss it - you are called a loon yada yada yada. I tell people about this forum where they can get the facts - not a single one has decided to do that.

What is the consequence? In one year the price of electricity in one of our state's (Victoria) nearly doubled - many say its because that state has a 50% renewable policy. Anti renewable types will say that, but not tell you the full truth, just as the pro renewable types will not tell you things either - they both sit in their entrenched positions and ignore facts. The fact is only 16% of that rise was from the switch to renewable's. Mostly it was from whats called gold plating of our network so the energy suppliers can justify charging higher prices to the government agency that keeps a watch on these things. It's the good old profit motive plus a dab of government interference - they don't really mix that well - but that is another story not part of the scope of this forum.

An ex prime-minister of ours Bob Hawke likes to attend a certain 'Hippy' festival every year - mostly his views are greeted with cheers of endorsement - but one, very true thing IMHO, he believes in is greeted with boo after boo. You see Australia has vast amounts of arid desert. A perfect dumping ground for nuclear waste. He thinks we should profit from it - by allowing countries to dump - for a fee of course - their waste here. After doing that we can build a few of those newfangled Nuclear power pants that burn waste as fuel. Sounds rational to me - but the audience doesn't think so - ah well we are all different. Good on Bob for not backing down though.

Like the debate about nuclear, truth is often stranger than the fiction spun by those that want to put their spin on it.

I personally sit here hoping we get fusion power - fast - to stop the idiocy - but that dream still seems a long way off. And having spoken to rabid anti nuclear types - they are against even that - they have zero understanding of the difference between fusion power and fission power - its nuclear - it must be bad. Sad really - but the reality.

Thanks
Bill
 
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In a world that is increasingly irrational, because computers have taught our children to just 'look up the answer' rather than to think for themselves, that seems very unlikely to me. The degree to which absurdities such as catastrophic AGW have become articles of faith, based on shoddy computer modeling, simply underscores the trend.
Shoddy modelling - its just that modelling complex things is hard and some people don't realize it so put too much faith in it.

Why are we becoming increasingly irrational - that's a hard one - but I think people, at least here in Aus, not taking the hard stem subjects where the following video should be watched by all students once a day is partly to blame:

Once you understand that, and I mean really understand it until its fixed into your very being - much of these issues will disappear.

Just my view of course - and subject to exactly the same standard of Brian Cox and Feynman.

That's why this forum is so important IMHO - people learn that here by practical application eg the demand for reputable sources when you sprout something - and even then they can be wrong. They understand our best guess at 'truth' is provisional - we update it as more information comes in. Contrast that to the attitude of some political leaders - 2+2 = 5 - and make no mistake about it - anyone that disagrees is a communist, member of the loony left or rabid right - take your pick - there are tons about - rather than - well our best guess is 2+2 = 4, we have logic that shows its true with very good certainty - but we can still be wrong. The latter is a much better philosophy IMHO. As far as reputable sources go - many thanks to good old Professor Asimov - I basically stole it from him. Yes Professor Asimov - he was actually a Professor of Biochemistry before moving over to science fiction writing while moonlighting as a Shakespeare critic. He poked fun at humanities, of course they didn't like it - but he had the last laugh when it was revealed he also was a well respected Shakespeare scholar. He even has a book on it:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/0517268256/?tag=pfamazon01-20

Thanks
Bill
 
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What's loony?
Good one.

And that's why - if you even bring it up - watch out - as constantly happens to our former prime minister who to his credit refuses to back down.

Democracy in Australia. Yes its enshrined in our constitution - but we do have our own - what to call it -flavor - some good - some - well not so good. But this forum is not the place to discuss it.

Thanks
Bill
 
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"i think we will come back to Nuclear Power sometime in the future"

Will it be - as Bernard Cohen titled his book - before it's too late?
 
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"I would open the containment (say, by blowing up a hole in its wall)"

It's a massive structure of reinforced solid concrete. Stick a brick of C4 on it if you like - it will hardly do much.

Cutting open the reactor building, for refurbishments and the like, is a massive engineering undertaking.

"haul a few tons of C4 under the reactor"

Under what, the reactor pressure vessel?
How are you going to get in there?

In the control rod drive area in a BWR, the explosion would certainly knock out the control rod drives, but the system would already be tripped. But the reactor pressure vessel is a massive steel object anchored to a massive concrete foundation.

Remember, a 3GWt reactor produces 1 TNT-tonne of thermal energy every 1.4 seconds. A tonne of TNT-equivalent is not that much energy.

"Major release of fission products and actinides"

How? You haven't shown that, and I call BS, given the real-world nature of a nuclear power reactor.

"The purpose of explosives would be merely to crack RPV open and sever it from all piping. Then decay heating will do the rest."

So you're now admitting that your supposed catastrophic scenario is just a LOCA - just like Three Mile Island and doesn't hurt anyone. A large-break LOCA is within design basis.
 

Astronuc

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First AP1000 reactor enters commercial operation
21 September 2018
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/First-AP1000-reactor-enters-commercial-operation

In September 2007, Westinghouse and its partner the Shaw Group received authorisation to construct four AP1000 units in China: two at Sanmen in Zhejiang province and two more at Haiyang in Shandong province. Construction of Sanmen 1 began in April 2009, while first concrete for Sanmen 2 was poured in December 2009. Construction of Haiyang 1 and 2 began in September 2009 and June 2010, respectively.

Unit 1 of the Haiyang plant attained first criticality on 8 August and was grid connected on 17 August. Haiyang 2 is expected to start up in 2019.

With Sanmen 1 now in commercial operation, CNNC has a total of 19 power reactors in operation with an installed capacity of 16,716 MWe.

Vogtle 3 and 4 are the only new nuclear units currently under construction in the USA. Construction of Vogtle unit 3 began in March 2013 and unit 4 in November the same year. Construction of two AP1000s at VC Summer in South Carolina was abandoned in August 2017.
http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Oglethorpe-to-vote-on-Vogtle-future
 

Astronuc

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etudiant

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Hitachi is throwing in the towel on its UK nuclear plans, apparently because the prices offered for the power were inadequate.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-17/u-k-nuclear-plans-ditched-as-hitachi-sees-2-8-billion-charge

It seems that no one in the West is able to build nuclear plants on a stable cost and schedule basis any more. That does not bode well for the industry, as it suggests that absent new approaches, there won't be any more business.
Does anyone have some suggestions or ideas that could revitalize this sector?
 
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This seems to be a problem with any large scale project.

The grabbing hands are simply draining funds before they can be put to proper use.
 

etudiant

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This seems to be a problem with any large scale project.

The grabbing hands are simply draining funds before they can be put to proper use.
Seems to be a very widespread phenomenon.
The Sinop nuclear project in Turkey was similarly abandoned because of cost growth.
There must be some cultural or structural issue, as it is just implausible that everyone is incompetent.
 

jim hardy

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There must be some cultural or structural issue,
British writer C Northcote Parkinson expressed it beautifully in his books The Law of Delay. and Parkinson's Law.
Paraphrasing, "Bureaucracy grows to occupy the available money" ..

Parkinson's Law was translated into many languages. It was highly popular in the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc.[3] In 1986, Alessandro Natta complained about the swelling bureaucracy in Italy. Mikhail Gorbachev responded that "Parkinson's law works everywhere."[4]
 

etudiant

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British writer C Northcote Parkinson expressed it beautifully in his books The Law of Delay. and Parkinson's Law.
Paraphrasing, "Bureaucracy grows to occupy the available money" ..
Unquestionably true, but the Sinop project was Mitsubishi and the Turkish government, somewhat removed from the domestic bureaucracies.
So there must be something more happening than just normal Parkinson's law effects.
What concerns me is that right now, China and perhaps Russia seem to be the only countries where big civil and power engineering projects are still getting executed. If we've lost that skill. it will be very expensive to rebuild.
 
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From one of those links that Astronuc posted about the failure of Transatomic it is said that they plan to release all their research in order for others to be able to use it and build on it, does anyone know has that already happened and if that was meant as a serious intention for the greater good?
 

jim hardy

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So there must be something more happening than just normal Parkinson's law effects.
What concerns me is that right now, China and perhaps Russia seem to be the only countries where big civil and power engineering projects are still getting executed. If we've lost that skill. it will be very expensive to rebuild.
I've wracked my brain for decades about that subject.
"Law of diminishing returns" is in play. As design approaches perfection the cost of incremental improvements grows.
You know, every tenfold improvement costs the same be it from 9% to 90% or from 90% tp 99% or 99% to 99.9% .
And we demand perfection.
Maybe that's why the old-timers wrote the "Tower of Babel" myth . We can't get there.
In any big project the Accountants speak in "Business Case", Engineers speak in "Punch List", Schedulers speak in "Gantt Chart", and Project Management speaks in "Milestones" .
Our tongues are confused.

What I decided is that in the late 20th century, management science fell behind physical science.
As you suggest that's a cultural problem not a technical one

Maybe your generation can fix it. My generation's Parkinson and Pirsig i think were looking in the right direction.

old jim
 
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Does anyone have some suggestions or ideas that could revitalize this sector?
A shift in the leading economical paradigm would help a lot.

It's a very interesting idea to except return within two decades at most. Sometimes I wonder if anybody ever tried to apply those expectations for ourselves? 'Growing up' from diapers to possibly self-reliant adult usually takes 20+ years (and still many years till 'return'). Along the actual business directives the most effective would be to die out. o_O
 

etudiant

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A shift in the leading economical paradigm would help a lot.

It's a very interesting idea to except return within two decades at most. Sometimes I wonder if anybody ever tried to apply those expectations for ourselves? 'Growing up' from diapers to possibly self-reliant adult usually takes 20+ years (and still many years till 'return'). Along the actual business directives the most effective would be to die out. o_O
Judging by the European birth rates, that last opinion seems to be widely held.....

More to the immediate point however, interest rates and hence discount rates used to compare investment returns are currently at all time lows. Nuclear has long lead times, so it should benefit from these low discount rates. When the cycle turns and rates rise again, nuclear economics will be hurt more than shorter term investments. That darkens the outlook even further.
 

Astronuc

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Finally! Flamanville EPR hot tests to start next month
22 January 2019
Hot functional testing of the Flamanville EPR in France, which had been scheduled to start before the end of 2018, will now begin in February, EDF said yesterday. The loading of fuel into the 1650 MWe pressurised water reactor (PWR) is still expected by the end of this year.
In December, unit 1 of the Taishan plant in China's Guangdong province became the first EPR to enter commercial operation. Taishan 2 is scheduled to begin commercial operation this year. Olkiluoto 3 in Finland, the first-of-a-kind EPR, has completed hot functional tests and is preparing to load fuel.
Code:
 EPR Unit      Start of Construction
Olkiluoto-3      August 12, 2005
Flamanville 3    December 4, 1007
Taishan 1        November 18, 2009
Taishan 2        April 15, 2010
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olkiluoto_Nuclear_Power_Plant
https://pris.iaea.org/PRIS/CountryStatistics/ReactorDetails.aspx?current=860

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamanville_Nuclear_Power_Plant
https://pris.iaea.org/PRIS/CountryStatistics/ReactorDetails.aspx?current=873

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taishan_Nuclear_Power_Plant
https://pris.iaea.org/PRIS/CountryStatistics/ReactorDetails.aspx?current=918
https://pris.iaea.org/PRIS/CountryStatistics/ReactorDetails.aspx?current=919
 
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Jim Hardy said:
I think we will come back to Nuclear Power sometime in the future - after the computer influence on human thought patterns makes society more logical. --

In a world that is increasingly irrational, because computers have taught our children to just 'look up the answer' rather than to think for themselves, that seems very unlikely to me. The degree to which absurdities such as catastrophic AGW have become articles of faith, based on shoddy computer modeling, simply underscores the trend. We are losing the ability to maintain what we have, much less innovate for a nuclear future.
As a retired nuclear engineer that is new to this forum, I think fusion reactors are the future of nuclear power.
Chinese state researchers and the Lockheed Martin corporation are both aiming to be first to develop practical fusion power sometime in the 2020s.
 

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