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Originally posted by sporkmonster
Cool find. There where 4 or 5 that I did not know about. I can't believe that the Air Force left one buried in a muddy field. Even more incredible though, is the K-219 and how it was found in 1988 with some nuclear missiles missing.
If true, I wonder who ended up with them. The US? China? Maybe even the soviets went and picked them up. Whoever it was had to have extraordinary underwater capabilities. I don't think DPRK (North Korea) would be able to recover them.
Sorry for going off topic a bit.
ETA: There is a ton of information about Chernobyl. What happened during and after the event. There is work currently being done to construct a new containment cap.
Look for pictures of the disaster. Some of the most shocking, IMO, are the photos of the melted core of the reactor, in a super hot state, in the floors below the reactor room. Lots of liquid metal ran down to the basement after the core blew up.
Don't forget to check out information on the Sedan Crater. It is the biggest accidental release of radiation upon the continental United States. It is also the only US test for civilian use of nukes and it also formed the largest crater from a nuclear weapon used on US soil. Google Maps: Sedan Crater
[edit on 16-7-2010 by sporkmonster]
510 MT is the grand total of all nuclear tests performed by the USA, Soviet Union, UK, France, and China, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists May 1996:
Originally posted by Tayesin
14 years ago I watched a Documentary about the rise of Nuclear power and weapons in the world.. it included two U.S. Hydrogen bomb detonations with yields of 500 and 750 MT respectively..
Total megatonnage expended in nuclear tests 1945-1996:
Originally posted by CaptGizmo
I think it probably said Kilotons ...not Megatons...for testing purposes. The US would not do megaton testing in Nevada. The fallout would spread over populated areas. The megaton category was reserved for the Bikini area. 500 megaton blast would probably kill the planet.
The blast, which blew the 2,000-ton lid off the reactor, sent out 400 times more radioactive fallout than the Hiroshima bomb, contaminating more than 77,000 square miles (200,000 square km) of Europe. Roughly 600,000 people were exposed to high doses of radiation,
We do? That's not the impression I get from reading your source link:
Originally posted by Liberal1984
we have designs for Fast Breeder Reactors which can transmute (i.e. destroy) nuclear waste… business.timesonline.co.uk...
“We have developed the highest safety level with [our existing reactors],” she said. “In terms of public acceptance, the remaining issue is the waste. In the future we will be able to destroy the actinides by making them disappear in a special reactor. We can do it already in a laboratory. , we will address this issue.”
What it says is that "with research and development", "in the future we will be able to destroy the actinides" so it doesn't sound like they have any designs ready to go yet, though the successful laboratory results are encouraging.
Experimental Breeder Reactor II - The Experimental Breeder Reactor II operated from 1965 to 1995 as a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor with a total operating power of 68 megawatts. During its lifetime, the EBR-2 was one of the premier fast spectrum experimental reactors in the world. It proved the feasibility of the integral fast reactor fuel cycle and had one of the most flexible fueling cycles of any reactor ever built. It operated on a variety of plutonium and uranium based fuels including metal, carbide, nitride and oxide fuels.
Fast Flux Test Facility – The Fast Flux Test Facility was one of the most capable and valuable nuclear power research facilities in the world. Located at the Hanford Site in Washington State, the Fast Flux Test Facility consisted of a 400 MW sodium-cooled fast reactor. The facility operated from 1980 to 1992. During that time, it was used for accelerated testing of nuclear fuel and components such as cladding. It also demonstrated the feasibility of fast reactors for power generation. The Fast Flux Test Facility did not operate as a breeder, but it did break several world records for fuel longevity and burnup.
A secondary mission of the fast FFTF was to explore the use of fast spectrum reactors in the field of isotope production for medicine and industry. This capacity was tested and proven to be effective, although it never was used for anything more than small scale experimental production. Irradiation experiments also demonstrated the feasibility of waste transmutation, including neutron transmutation of long lived fission products such as Technetium-99.
As that says, the nuclear waste is the remaining issue in terms of public acceptance, so once they actually DO have reactor designs to eliminate the waste, I think public support will be there.
Everyone knows that the reasons for both Chernobyl and 3 Mile Island were incredible, human negligence, as well, as old reactor designs that no country, anywhere on earth builds anymore.
Three mile island was a pretty bad disaster for the USA, it basically killed the nuclear power industry here, but it did show how superior the reactor containment designs in the US were compared to the Soviet Union's design in Chernobyl.
Government’s role in shutting down the US nuclear industry
No nuclear power plants in the United States ordered since 1974 will be completed, and many dozens of partially constructed plants have been abandoned. What cut off the growth of nuclear power so suddenly and so completely? The direct cause is not fear of reactor accidents, or of radioactive materials released into the environment, or of radioactive waste. It is rather that costs have escalated wildly, making nuclear plants too expensive to build. State commissions that regulate them require that utilities provide electric power to their customers at the lowest possible price. In the early 1970s this goal was achieved through the use of nuclear power plants. However, at the cost of recently completed plants, analyses indicate that it is cheaper to generate electricity by burning coal. Here we will attempt to understand how this switch occurred. It will serve as background for the next chapter, which presents the solution to these problems.
Several large nuclear power plants were completed in the early 1970s at a typical cost of $170 million, whereas plants of the same size completed in 1983 cost an average of $1.7 billion, a 10-fold increase. Some plants completed in the late 1980s have cost as much as $5 billion, 30 times what they cost 15 years earlier. Inflation, of course, has played a role, but the consumer price index increased only by a factor of 2.2 between 1973 and 1983, and by just 18% from 1983 to 1988. What caused the remaining large increase? Ask the opponents of nuclear power and they will recite a succession of horror stories, many of them true, about mistakes, inefficiency, sloppiness, and ineptitude. They will create the impression that people who build nuclear plants are a bunch of bungling incompetents. The only thing they won't explain is how these same "bungling incompetents" managed to build nuclear power plants so efficiently, so rapidly, and so inexpensively in the early 1970s.
This process came to be known as "ratcheting." Like a ratchet wrench which is moved back and forth but always tightens and never loosens a bolt, the regulatory requirements were constantly tightened, requiring additional equipment and construction labor and materials. According to one study,4 between the early and late 1970s, regulatory requirements increased the quantity of steel needed in a power plant of equivalent electrical output by 41%, the amount of concrete by 27%, the lineal footage of piping by 50%, and the length of electrical cable by 36%. The NRC did not withdraw requirements made in the early days on the basis of minimal experience when later experience demonstrated that they were unnecessarily stringent. Regulations were only tightened, never loosened. The ratcheting policy was consistently followed.
The increase in total construction time, indicated in Fig. 2, from 7 years in 1971 to 12 years in 1980 roughly doubled the final cost of plants. In addition, the EEDB, corrected for inflation, approximately doubled during that time period. Thus, regulatory ratcheting, quite aside from the effects of inflation, quadrupled the cost of a nuclear power plant. What has all this bought in the way of safety? One point of view often expressed privately by those involved in design and construction is that it has bought nothing.
Clearly, the regulatory ratcheting was driven not by new scientific or technological information, but by public concern and the political pressure it generated. Changing regulations as new information becomes available is a normal process, but it would normally work both ways. The ratcheting effect, only making changes in one direction, was an abnormal aspect of regulatory practice unjustified from a scientific point of view. It was a strictly political phenomenon that quadrupled the cost of nuclear power plants, and thereby caused no new plants to be ordered and dozens of partially constructed plants to be abandoned.
Three mile island was a pretty bad disaster for the USA,
Regulatory ratcheting is really the political expression of difficulties with public acceptance. In an open society such as ours, public acceptance, or at least non-rejection, is a vital requirement for the success of a technology. Without it, havoc rules.
It is clear to the involved scientists that the rejection of nuclear power by the American public was due to a myriad of misunderstandings. We struggled mightily to correct these misunderstandings, but we did not succeed.
By the mid-1980s the battle was over. Groups that had grown and flourished through opposition to nuclear power went looking for other projects and soon found them. Many of them learned to distinguish between trivial problems and serious ones like global warming and air pollution. Some of them have even made statements recognizing that nuclear power is a solution to some of those problems.
The regulatory ratcheting, of course, has not been reversed. But the nuclear industry is now developing new reactor designs that avoid most of the problems this regulatory ratcheting has brought. It is relatively easy to accommodate regulations in the initial design stages. Moreover, the new designs go far beyond the safety goals that drove the regulatory ratcheting. The nuclear industry absorbed the message that the public wants super-super safety, and they are prepared to provide it. The next chapter describes how this will be done.