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A New Reactor Concept Inches Forward

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posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 01:30 PM
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Some interesting "Science & Technology" news... Maybe this is the reason why we haven't built anything lately. The Reason... Waiting for other technology?

A New Reactor Concept



The Energy Department plans to announce on Tuesday a significant step toward building a new kind of nuclear reactor that could be used to replace the fossil fuels normally needed to complete high-temperature processing at chemical plants, fertilizer factories and oil refineries. Such facilities typically burn oil or natural gas — both of which contribute to global warming — to generate high-temperature steam needed for proper processing. Nuclear reactors, meanwhile, normally don’t run beyond 600 degrees, which is not hot enough for this purpose. The new reactor, however — under development at the Idaho National Laboratory — would run at temperatures approaching 1,500 degrees, making it a viable alternative to oil or natural-gas-fired processing. Among the innovations the Idaho researchers have developed is a casing for the uranium fuel made of a form of graphite — a material that does not melt and does a good job of sealing in the radioactive materials produced in the reactor.


It sounds pretty good if it's safe... but a lot of this science is beyond me. Maybe someone here at ATS can explain this in simpler terms.




posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 01:33 PM
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I would argue that within our current system and status quo that nuclear power breeds authoritarianism. I would rather more funding were put into developing individual power generation. Get people off the grid and individually sustainable.



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 02:44 PM
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Well most likely the reactor is plenty safe and will probably not cause any problems.

The waste from it however.......



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 03:00 PM
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Originally posted by Vicious Jones
I would argue that within our current system and status quo that nuclear power breeds authoritarianism. I would rather more funding were put into developing individual power generation. Get people off the grid and individually sustainable.


Did you even read the post, and/or try to comprehend it?

It's about INDUSTRIAL SCALE application of thermal energy to chemical reactions. If you want to have THAT in your backyard -- have a nice day.

Now, to the topic:

Designing a viable reactor is a mind boggling exercise. Due to neutron irradiation, most materials creep and change their dimensions. And you thought keeping your coolie jar airtight was hard!

Kudos to those engineering souls who can pulls this off, and I tip my hat off.



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 03:16 PM
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PWR's typically operate c. 620 F.

The English advanced gas cooled reactors, introduced in the 1970's for electricity generation, operate at nearly 1200F using carbon dioxide as the coolant rather than the helium proposed with this new design ... and the high temperatures and pressures required severely tested the design engineers. Today those reactors are having a troubling time of it, with numerous boiler/pressure related incidents and also more worryingly with the impeller blades used to circulate the coolant, the blades are cracking up and falling apart under the strain.

So good luck to the poor engineers and metallurgists responsible for this new reactor design !

I'd be concerned to have a chemical works next to my home, let alone one equipped with its own nuclear reactor. Who would run the reactor anyway ? How could you ensure there wouldn't be any security breaches if you had these reactors dotted all around the place ?



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by x2Strongx
 


I just don't understand how they can call Nuclear Plants safe when their byproducts are nuclear waste that has thousands of years shelf life, has to be buried underground, and nobody wants to store it. Either way it doesn't help the Earth.



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 03:29 PM
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Sounds like all they figured out how to do is allow the uranium fuel rods to run hotter without them melting through their containment, causing a meltdown. It's useful because it creates a constant supply of superheated steam used to power the turbines. So what they do, is build a chemical processing plant right next to the nuclear plant and bleed off some of that steam for their purposes.

Doesn't really sound like much of an improvement, but I guess it all adds up.



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 03:38 PM
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reply to post by x2Strongx
 


I guess this will be a disposable sealed unit reactor. When the fuel is expended you bury the entire thing and fit another.



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 04:00 PM
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Originally posted by mkross1983
reply to post by x2Strongx
 


I just don't understand how they can call Nuclear Plants safe when their byproducts are nuclear waste that has thousands of years shelf life, has to be buried underground, and nobody wants to store it. Either way it doesn't help the Earth.


If you compare that to gargantuan amounts of radioactive sulfur ejected into atmosphere by conventional coal-fired plants, that's really a pittance... Nuclear reactors, if properly run, emit much less radiation than your local coal plant...

But you knew this, right?



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 04:41 PM
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Originally posted by buddhasystem
If you compare that to gargantuan amounts of radioactive sulfur ejected into atmosphere by conventional coal-fired plants, that's really a pittance... Nuclear reactors, if properly run, emit much less radiation than your local coal plant...


I thought it was mainly thorium, uranium and polonium that accounts for the majority of radiation emissions from coal fired plants.

Maybe this varies considerably depending on where the coal is mined from.



posted on Nov, 17 2009 @ 06:14 PM
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reply to post by buddhasystem
 


Nuke plants may emit less radiation but you have to deal with the nuclear material that is now just radioactive waste. So they offset at the minimum.

So I still see no gain.




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