Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: Consortium to Seek New U.S. Nuclear Plant License

Expand Messages
  • DH
    ... impression ... Not sure what you mean by more waste than necessary . All fission reactors are going to produce intensely high activity, long lived
    Message 1 of 21 , Mar 1, 1944
    • 0 Attachment
      --- In CDV700CLUB@yahoogroups.com, "Justin" <archvillain@e...> wrote:
      > I don't know much about power stations, but I'm under the
      impression
      > that the only kind of reactor that doesn't produce a lot more waste
      > than is necessary for power generation, is the breeder.

      Not sure what you mean by "more waste than necessary". All
      fission reactors are going to produce intensely high activity, long
      lived fission products. (That's inevitable, you can't
      control how uranium fragments.) And some trans-uranics, including
      Pu. (You cook U238 in neutrons, you get Pu.)

      Radioactive materials are, as we all know, intrinsically
      easy to detect, because its such a high energy process.
      I think that gives me some confidence that the wastes
      can be tracked, and inevitable errors cleaned up.

      I'm also
      > under the impression that breeder power stations are not legal in
      > the USA, by government decree decades ago, on the grounds that
      > breeders must produce plutonium, and a good way to help prevent
      > plutonium from getting into terrorist hands is to not have it being
      > produced everywhere in the first place.

      I don't know if they're *illegal* but they are out of favor
      for the reasons you state. Particularly for *other* countries
      who the US distrusts. And the US doesn't pursue breeders in part
      because it would be hard to tell others to stop
      extracting Pu if we're doing it ourselves. More practically, given
      the current economics, U is cheap, but that's a result of not using
      it!

      But should we ban chlorine production because a chlorine factory
      could be a terrorist target? No, its too useful. Instead you have
      safety rules and don't put the Cl factory next to your schools.

      Same with foreign pesticide factories, which are just a reaction
      or two away from being nerve gas factories.

      One could imagine a closed region for power-generating (or
      fuel reprocessing) like the Soviet closed cities
      (or Los Alamos in the 40's) which could be very physically secure
      and remote.

      Counter-arg is that breeder
      > plutonium isn't weapons-grade, though I personally wouldn't know
      > whether there is a process like uranium enrichment that could
      change that.

      If you simmer uranium in neutrons long enough, you generate
      heavier isotopes of Pu. (U + n -> Np -> Pu239. The Pu keeps
      capturing n's) These can inhibit bombmaking because
      of their spontaneous fission. Weapons-grade Pu is only simmered
      a short time for this reason.

      > So that puts the government - any government - in a sticky
      position:
      > Keep the restriction in place, and risk being labelled an
      impediment
      > to business (and also weak on environment if it grants the
      > applications yet denies breeders), else they can rescind the
      > restriction, and risk being labelled weak on terrorism.

      Terrorism used to be called non-proliferation :-)

      You clearly understand some of the realpolitik here. I'm
      just opining on the technical possibilities. For a place (like
      India) where electricity is only available a few hours
      a day, and there's plenty of Thorium, I'd think its pretty
      irresistible to build breeders. Eventually, with
      population increase and resource decrease, we'll all be
      in that boat. (Of course all the current politicians will
      be retired by then, so its not their problem.)
      There's a lot better things to make
      with fossil fuels (plastics, pharmaceuticals) than heat.

      PS: does anyone know if the Paki or Indian bombs were
      U-gun vs Pu implosion devices? I've read that certain types
      of enrichment plant has the same footprint and energy usage as a
      Safeway (ie "warehouse") store. Whereas a Pu-producing reactor and
      the separation plant are probably easier to detect. And the
      U-gun design is a no-brainer.

      BTW I think the French run breeders.
    • siliconhillbilly
      Last I heard, the French were getting out of the breeder business. There are two reactor designs I think beat the pants off of pressurized light water designs;
      Message 2 of 21 , Mar 1, 1944
      • 0 Attachment
        Last I heard, the French were getting out of the breeder business.

        There are two reactor designs I think beat the pants off of
        pressurized light water designs; The gas cooled Pebble Bed and the
        Molten Salt Reactor. The PB has been getting a lot of airplay
        lately, but you never hear about the MSR. Too bad. The MSR allows
        the fisson products to be processed out DURING OPERATION, thereby
        keeping the inventory of nasty stuff very low. It also can act as a
        breeder using Thorium if it is made somewhat larger than minimum
        size to conserve neutrons. Another 50's-60's government funded
        technology that fell out of political favor vs the liquid metal
        cooled (molten sodium!) Plutonium fast breeder. Check it out here.

        http://home.earthlink.net/~bhoglund/index.html

        Craig

        --- In CDV700CLUB@yahoogroups.com, "DH" <revtkatt@y...> wrote:
        > --- In CDV700CLUB@yahoogroups.com, "Justin" <archvillain@e...>
        wrote:
        > > I don't know much about power stations, but I'm under the
        > impression
        > > that the only kind of reactor that doesn't produce a lot more
        waste
        > > than is necessary for power generation, is the breeder.
        >
        > Not sure what you mean by "more waste than necessary". All
        > fission reactors are going to produce intensely high activity, long
        > lived fission products. (That's inevitable, you can't
        > control how uranium fragments.) And some trans-uranics, including
        > Pu. (You cook U238 in neutrons, you get Pu.)
        >
        > Radioactive materials are, as we all know, intrinsically
        > easy to detect, because its such a high energy process.
        > I think that gives me some confidence that the wastes
        > can be tracked, and inevitable errors cleaned up.
        >
        > I'm also
        > > under the impression that breeder power stations are not legal
        in
        > > the USA, by government decree decades ago, on the grounds that
        > > breeders must produce plutonium, and a good way to help prevent
        > > plutonium from getting into terrorist hands is to not have it
        being
        > > produced everywhere in the first place.
        >
        > I don't know if they're *illegal* but they are out of favor
        > for the reasons you state. Particularly for *other* countries
        > who the US distrusts. And the US doesn't pursue breeders in part
        > because it would be hard to tell others to stop
        > extracting Pu if we're doing it ourselves. More practically,
        given
        > the current economics, U is cheap, but that's a result of not
        using
        > it!
        >
        > But should we ban chlorine production because a chlorine factory
        > could be a terrorist target? No, its too useful. Instead you
        have
        > safety rules and don't put the Cl factory next to your schools.
        >
        > Same with foreign pesticide factories, which are just a reaction
        > or two away from being nerve gas factories.
        >
        > One could imagine a closed region for power-generating (or
        > fuel reprocessing) like the Soviet closed cities
        > (or Los Alamos in the 40's) which could be very physically secure
        > and remote.
        >
        > Counter-arg is that breeder
        > > plutonium isn't weapons-grade, though I personally wouldn't know
        > > whether there is a process like uranium enrichment that could
        > change that.
        >
        > If you simmer uranium in neutrons long enough, you generate
        > heavier isotopes of Pu. (U + n -> Np -> Pu239. The Pu keeps
        > capturing n's) These can inhibit bombmaking because
        > of their spontaneous fission. Weapons-grade Pu is only simmered
        > a short time for this reason.
        >
        > > So that puts the government - any government - in a sticky
        > position:
        > > Keep the restriction in place, and risk being labelled an
        > impediment
        > > to business (and also weak on environment if it grants the
        > > applications yet denies breeders), else they can rescind the
        > > restriction, and risk being labelled weak on terrorism.
        >
        > Terrorism used to be called non-proliferation :-)
        >
        > You clearly understand some of the realpolitik here. I'm
        > just opining on the technical possibilities. For a place (like
        > India) where electricity is only available a few hours
        > a day, and there's plenty of Thorium, I'd think its pretty
        > irresistible to build breeders. Eventually, with
        > population increase and resource decrease, we'll all be
        > in that boat. (Of course all the current politicians will
        > be retired by then, so its not their problem.)
        > There's a lot better things to make
        > with fossil fuels (plastics, pharmaceuticals) than heat.
        >
        > PS: does anyone know if the Paki or Indian bombs were
        > U-gun vs Pu implosion devices? I've read that certain types
        > of enrichment plant has the same footprint and energy usage as a
        > Safeway (ie "warehouse") store. Whereas a Pu-producing reactor
        and
        > the separation plant are probably easier to detect. And the
        > U-gun design is a no-brainer.
        >
        > BTW I think the French run breeders.
      • siliconhillbilly
        ... get ... not ... excavate ... (and ... Hi Chris, The Canadian CANDU power reactors produce LOTS of tritium because of their use of D2O as the moderator and
        Message 3 of 21 , Mar 2, 1944
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In CDV700CLUB@yahoogroups.com, Chris Smolinski <csmolinski@b...>
          wrote:
          > > It ought to be obvious by now that the only (near term) way to
          get
          > >economical energy from fusion is to fire off weapons in a DEEP
          > >cavern and use the heat for something. Not very efficient, but
          > >relatively cheap. Of course, it ain't going to happen, at least
          not
          > >on Earth. Maybe on the moon some day for cheap heat or to
          excavate
          > >caverns for living space or storage tanks.
          >
          > I'd be curious to see what a *real* cost accounting of this method
          > would show. Somehow I am not convinced that it would be cost
          > effective, as the tritium must be produced in fission reactors
          (and
          > you have to steal neutrons from the fission process to make it!).
          >
          > --
          >
          > ---
          > Chris Smolinski
          > Black Cat Systems
          > http://www.blackcatsystems.com

          Hi Chris,
          The Canadian CANDU power reactors produce LOTS of tritium because
          of their use of D2O as the moderator and coolant. But thanks to
          government silliness (both Canadian and US) this tritium isn't used
          for H bomb maintenance in US weapons. Suffice it to say that if the
          tritium was needed for power production, it's there.
          Also, I'm not sure about this, but I don't think that tritium is
          the "fuel" for the larger fusion bombs. It -is- used to "enhance"
          the bang of fission bombs, but that's all I'm sure of. Anyone out
          there know more?

          Craig
        • Jay S Boggess
          ... You re correct - Tritium is not used for large fusion bombs (as tritium gas, a fusion bomb makes its own tritium while it is reacting) but its VERY
          Message 4 of 21 , Mar 2, 1944
          • 0 Attachment
            > Also, I'm not sure about this, but I don't think that tritium is
            > the "fuel" for the larger fusion bombs. It -is- used to "enhance"
            > the bang of fission bombs, but that's all I'm sure of. Anyone out
            > there know more?
            >
            > Craig
            >

            You're correct - Tritium is not used for large fusion bombs (as tritium
            gas, a fusion bomb makes its own tritium while it is reacting) but its
            VERY important for the fission portion of any thermonuclear weapon. It
            dramatically increasing the power of a bomb and/or making it much
            smaller/lighter as well.

            Tom Clancy's book "Sum of All Fears" does a nice job describing bomb
            physics that any of us can understand. As far as I understand (I'm a
            locomotive design engineer, not a rocket scientist), its reasonably
            accurate in its descriptions.

            > The Canadian CANDU power reactors produce LOTS of tritium because
            > of their use of D2O as the moderator and coolant. But thanks to
            > government silliness (both Canadian and US) this tritium isn't used
            > for H bomb maintenance in US weapons. Suffice it to say that if the
            > tritium was needed for power production, it's there.

            Not too long ago, the DOE announced plans to make tritium in some TVA
            nukes in Tennesse, by providing TVA Lithium-6 control rods. The
            anti-nukies were crying "Oh! Whoa is me! Civilian power plants making
            bomb ingredients! THIS MUST BE THE APOCALYPSE!!!"

            Sorry, I was about to rant.

            jay boggess

            ________________________________________________________________
            The best thing to hit the Internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
            Surf the Web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
            Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!
          • Chris Smolinski
            ... Yes, it s the fuel. They also use Lithium as I recall, which gets converted into Tritium during the explosion. Apparently that caught them off guard on one
            Message 5 of 21 , Mar 2, 1944
            • 0 Attachment
              > Hi Chris,
              > The Canadian CANDU power reactors produce LOTS of tritium because
              >of their use of D2O as the moderator and coolant. But thanks to
              >government silliness (both Canadian and US) this tritium isn't used
              >for H bomb maintenance in US weapons. Suffice it to say that if the
              >tritium was needed for power production, it's there.
              > Also, I'm not sure about this, but I don't think that tritium is
              >the "fuel" for the larger fusion bombs. It -is- used to "enhance"
              >the bang of fission bombs, but that's all I'm sure of. Anyone out
              >there know more?

              Yes, it's the fuel. They also use Lithium as I recall, which gets
              converted into Tritium during the explosion. Apparently that caught
              them off guard on one of the first tests, resulting in 3 times the
              expected yield. Not that the general was probably complaining ;-)

              --

              ---
              Chris Smolinski
              Black Cat Systems
              http://www.blackcatsystems.com
            • Chris Smolinski
              ... Yep, ignore/modify my earlier post, only the first bombs used raw tritium, cooled as I recall. The bomb was more of a building and less a deliverable
              Message 6 of 21 , Mar 2, 1944
              • 0 Attachment
                >You're correct - Tritium is not used for large fusion bombs (as tritium
                >gas, a fusion bomb makes its own tritium while it is reacting) but its
                >VERY important for the fission portion of any thermonuclear weapon. It
                >dramatically increasing the power of a bomb and/or making it much
                >smaller/lighter as well.

                Yep, ignore/modify my earlier post, only the first bombs used raw
                tritium, cooled as I recall. The bomb was more of a building and less
                a deliverable device ;-)


                --

                ---
                Chris Smolinski
                Black Cat Systems
                http://www.blackcatsystems.com
              • Albert LaFrance
                You re probably thinking of the Ivy Mike test, the first thermonuclear device, detonated in late 1952 with a yield of about 10 MT. As you note, it was not
                Message 7 of 21 , Mar 2, 1944
                • 0 Attachment
                  You're probably thinking of the "Ivy Mike" test, the first thermonuclear
                  device, detonated in late 1952 with a yield of about 10 MT. As you note, it
                  was not an actual weapon, but essentially a big cylindrical tank or dewar
                  flask. The fusion fuel was liquid deuterium.

                  Albert

                  ----- Original Message -----
                  From: "Chris Smolinski" <csmolinski@...>
                  To: <CDV700CLUB@yahoogroups.com>
                  Sent: Friday, April 02, 2004 6:44 PM
                  Subject: Re: [CDV700CLUB] Re: Consortium to Seek New U.S. Nuclear Plant
                  License


                  > >You're correct - Tritium is not used for large fusion bombs (as tritium
                  > >gas, a fusion bomb makes its own tritium while it is reacting) but its
                  > >VERY important for the fission portion of any thermonuclear weapon. It
                  > >dramatically increasing the power of a bomb and/or making it much
                  > >smaller/lighter as well.
                  >
                  > Yep, ignore/modify my earlier post, only the first bombs used raw
                  > tritium, cooled as I recall. The bomb was more of a building and less
                  > a deliverable device ;-)
                  >
                  >
                  > --
                  >
                  > ---
                  > Chris Smolinski
                  > Black Cat Systems
                  > http://www.blackcatsystems.com
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > Community email addresses:
                  > Post message: CDV700CLUB@onelist.com
                  > Subscribe: CDV700CLUB-subscribe@onelist.com
                  > Unsubscribe: CDV700CLUB-unsubscribe@onelist.com
                  > List owner: CDV700CLUB-owner@onelist.com
                  >
                  > Shortcut URL to this page:
                  > http://www.onelist.com/community/CDV700CLUB
                  > Yahoo! Groups Links
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • DH
                  ... wrote: Apparently that caught ... There s a good story about a weapons safety test that produced 55 tons worth of explosion when 1-2 lbs were expected.
                  Message 8 of 21 , Mar 2, 1944
                  • 0 Attachment
                    --- In CDV700CLUB@yahoogroups.com, Chris Smolinski <csmolinski@b...>
                    wrote:
                    Apparently that caught
                    > them off guard on one of the first tests, resulting in 3 times the
                    > expected yield. Not that the general was probably complaining ;-)

                    There's a good story about a weapons safety test that
                    produced 55 tons worth of explosion when 1-2 lbs
                    were expected. Plus it was in an *uncapped* vertical
                    shaft. D'oh. See

                    http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Usa/Tests/Plumbob.html
                    see Pascal-A

                    Plenty of pretty pictures too.

                    There's also the
                    Nuclear Weapons Frequently Asked Questions (NWFAQ) by Carey Sublette
                    which has more than you probably knew to ask about bomb physics
                    and design.
                  Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.