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American teenager designs compact nuclear reactor

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posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 08:02 PM
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Of course, you are technically correct. I am trying to explain it so the regular Joe can understand why the molten salt reactor is safer than traditional nuclear reactors. The fuel left over is significantly less dangerous than the old style reactors.


Much cleaner: as a full recycle system, the discharge wastes from the reactor are predominately fission products, most of which have relatively short half lives compared to longer-lived actinide wastes. This can result in a significant reduction in the containment period in a geologic repository (300 years vs. tens of thousands of years).




posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 08:04 PM
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reply to post by TheComte
 

Perhaps. But shorter half life = higher radioactivity.
The thought of thousands of these units is not comforting.
edit on 3/1/2013 by Phage because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 08:09 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


Why? What do you foresee happening? An MSR cannot meltdown like they do now. There could be no Fukijima with a MSR.

Interesting talk about the energy in general and the thorium MSR. Skip to 5:30 for thorium msr:



edit on 1-3-2013 by TheComte because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 08:52 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


The thought of thousands of these units is not comforting.

But just think of all the personal nuclear bombs we could make from all the spent fuel. It would render the neighborhood safe from crime because of the Mutually Assured Destruction. Detente in the hood.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 08:54 PM
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reply to post by TheComte
 

Thorium reactors are still in development.

In the video his estimate is 20 years.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:05 PM
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reply to post by intrptr
 


No. You cannot use the remaining fuel for weapons.

And yes, the guy in the video says 20 years for North America. China, India among others are developing it now. This technology is proven and doable. Of course there are bugs to be ironed out. But considering they built and operated one back in the 50s, it shouldn't be too hard to work it out. The problem is no one wants to spend the money to develop it. Not in North America anyway.

en.wikipedia.org...

In the end, we'll probably end up buying the finished reactors from China.

edit on 1-3-2013 by TheComte because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:51 PM
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reply to post by purplemer
 


Well I hope he can handle the sorry state of The United States Patent Office.
Because that is where the Bottleneck Clusterf...resides currently.
Lawyers,Bankers, and Corporations infect the Hallowed Ground of Inventors and Creators.

Blessings to You and the Young American Inventor.

S&F



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 09:59 PM
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reply to post by Phage
 


It's a molten salt reactor operating on a brayton cycle (gas). Therefore, the only place for sodium would be in the a intermediate loop between the molten salt and the gas. This is not mentioned in the source.

In any case, a working reactor using this design would cost a massive amount of money to develop, it is not a new idea, and as far as I know a brayton cycle reactor has never operated before. Therefore, I don't see this kid will get very far, although perhaps he will eventually join with another company that will.

Also with a capacity of 50 to 100 megawatts, it would hardly be on every block. Perhaps the biggest advantage of such a design would be that utilities could incrementally add capacity instead of having to spend 6 billion dollars and ~7 years on an 1100 megawatt AP1000.

What to do with the waste? Store it, as it is being stored now.


reply to post by Phage
 


U-235 is fissionable as is Pu-239. Neither are products of nuclear fission. Pu-239 is bred in most current reactors from U-238. If U-238/Pu-239 capture several neutrons then they usually form higher actinides which can be burned in fast reactors, but not thermal reactors.

The only waste that is innate to nuclear power are fission products, like Cesium-137.

edit on 1/3/13 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 10:18 PM
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I'm already mourning this kid's potential future contributions.
As soon as he gets laid for the first time the ideas will halt.
Will someone please castrate him to keep him productive?



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 10:54 PM
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We WILL see small home power units soon. Trust me, they're already being tested.



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 10:56 PM
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Originally posted by Wildmanimal


Well I hope he can handle the sorry state of The United States Patent Office.
Because that is where the Bottleneck Clusterf...resides currently.
Lawyers,Bankers, and Corporations infect the Hallowed Ground of Inventors and Creators.


Lol . Thats a nice one.
The kid aint gonna get very far. Isnt it



posted on Mar, 1 2013 @ 11:30 PM
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reply to post by TheComte
 


This technology is proven and doable.

Sorry dude. Big difference between that and "operating". Let alone track record for safety and capacity. Nice pipe dream. This genius kids proclaimed invention is a lark too. Its ooh, safe and cheap and personal, blah blah blah. Nice commercial for more nuclear power.


Since it would be new it would have to be proven out. That costs even more down the road in adjusted dollars. It's still nuclear...

Edit to add: Haven't we had enough of that? For a 1000 half lives?
edit on 1-3-2013 by intrptr because: additional...



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:00 AM
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Eighteen-year-old Taylor Wilson has designed a compact nuclear reactor that could one day burn waste from old atomic weapons to power anything from homes and factories to space colonies.

The American teen, who gained fame four years ago after designing a fusion reactor he planned to build in the garage of his family’s home, shared his latest endeavor at a TED Conference in southern California on Thursday.


Everything seems to point to the fact that Mr Wilson has re-invented small Molten Salt Reactor (that's a bit snarky; I know nothing of what he may have brought new to the idea, so I'll keep an open mind).

Current technology is for solid fueled reactors in high-pressure vessels, so as to keep the water coolant/heat transfer medium liquid at temps far above the boiling point; water transfers heat more efficiently there. High pressure is costly, and solid fuel is costly, because it collects fission products (call it ash) as it "burns", which poisons further fission. After only 2% of the fuel is burned, it has to be reprocessed; currently, that means thrown away (into the spent fuel pool) and replaced with new fuel.

The MSR defeats these two problems. An MSR operates at low pressures; just enough pressure to move the liquids as needed. It needs some temperature, enough to melt the fuel, but that's not much above the temps that a water reactor runs at anyway. The fuel, being melted fluorides of the fissionables (uranium, plutonium and thorium), can be continuously drawn off, stripped of fission products, charged with additional fuel, and fed back in. Control is maintained by inserted rods, just as it is for the water reactor. In addition, in emergencies or for extended down times, the fuel is drained into safe storage. There are no fission products to keep it hot like solid fuel, no spent fuel pools, and to restart the tank is heated to the melting point and the fuel pumped back into the reactor. Voila. You can safely shutdown for St Patty's day, then bring it back online on Wednesday morning even with hang-overs.

Advantages are that all the fuel is burned; current pool waste is 90% unburned fissionables and activated transuranics, not very radioactive but scary, because they last forever. The MSR burns all that, and it doesn't care whether the fissionables were mined, milled by Rocky Flats/Pantex, or drawn dripping from a cooling pool, or any combination. All are treated equally. There are also disadvantages, but the chief one is that the technology is unexplored as compared to solid fuel reactors.

Other small buried local reactors can be easily googled; here is one:

Hyperion Reactor


quoted from phage:
A mini sodium cooled reactor on every block. Great idea.

Um. What happens to all the spent fuel?



quoted from purplemer:
We put them in a rocket and fire them at the sun... That should work....maybe


No. The waste is only about 10% of that of current day reactors. It has a much short decay time (300 years for the bulk of it), and some of the products have commercial uses, like Pu-238. NASA loves the stuff for Radioisotope Thermal Generators (like on Curiosity), and it's getting rare. Today's waste is tomorrow's diamonds.


quoted from phage:
The products of nuclear fission include 235U and 239PU. Both radioactive but not fissionable.

Once the amount of fissionable fuel falls below critical mass the chain reaction stops and no power is produced. But there is still radioactive material remaining.

Normally inert materials (including the body of the reactor itself) become radioactive through neutron bombardment.


Actually, Pu-239 is fissionable plutonium (the common kind, used in almost all bombs). U-235 is fissionable "enriched" uranium, the other major bomb component. Pu-239 is "sorta" a waste product, the result of U-238 (common uranium, aka depleted uranium) bombarded by neutrons, as in a reactor. That is, in fact, how plutonium is manufactured at Hanford.

There is radioactivity left, but it is in the fission products like I-131, K-40, Cs-137 and other nasties. In an MSR they are removed incrementally, continuously, and never build up. It is nasty because it has high intensity, but therefore low half-life, therefore it decays away to background within about 300 years.

The thing that stops normal reactors is poisoning by fission products, not the consumption of the available fuel.

Your last statement about neutron activation of the reactor is certainly true.


quoted from intrptr:
Haven't we had enough of that? For a 1000 half lives?


No, because:

xkcd



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:03 AM
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I don't know but I wouldn't think at this time, in America,the people really need a preset weapon for a terrorist to play with.I thought sodium was clean energy,then again I'm a former soldier now an artist,they're distracting.



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:21 AM
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reply to post by purplemer
 


I may be reading this wrong. But he wants to use weapon uranium as fuel. Does it him read him anyone else see problem this?


I had read a article where they used helium instead of his conventional materials and it was much safer.

From what I have read solar and wind is still cheaper.
edit on 2-3-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)
edit on 2-3-2013 by Grimpachi because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:23 AM
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How exactly do these " teens " keep finding new crap? Where do they get the labs, time, and funds to research and develop whatever they are trying to ... develop?

I don't understand what I'm missing. I have a combined 3.9 GPA and close to having two degrees at 22 years old and a semi-active member of Mensa. I mean what the hell. Why I haven't invented anything? I cannot be that dumb.

------

I just don't see, how simple this teen made it sound, that a company / university that receives millions of dollars a year hasn't researched what this boy has discovered.

Either there is a conspiracy, the tech doesn't work, or our scientist / researchers / post-grads are dumb as hell.
edit on 2-3-2013 by milkyway12 because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:45 AM
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reply to post by Hijinx
 


Wiki says Endevour was $1.7billion to build and around $1.5 Billion per mission.
en.wikipedia.org...

Canada says, its own nuclear waste management costs around $24 Billion.
www.cbc.ca...

As it stands, Canada could build 1 Endeavour and do 14 Endeavour launches, per year on its current nuclear waste expenses.

Consider, that a rocket fired with a one way trip into the sun would be considerably cheaper than a Endeavour. Its a 1 way rocket that doesn't need to sustain crew and return, safe!

This would bring the cost down considerably, lets say $1.5 down to $1.0 Billion per flight, that's being generous too! So, it now becomes more like 20, maybe 21 rocket launches per current nuclear waste expense.

Seems logical to me?... why wouldn't it work?






edit on 2-3-2013 by Agit8dChop because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:49 AM
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reply to post by Agit8dChop
 




Seems logical to me?... why wouldn't it work?

How much does the waste weigh?
Think dollars/pound.



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:53 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


yeah, no doubt it will be expensive.. but, maybe its a cost worth paying to incinerate this stuff, safely!

Also, if all the nations got involved with this, think of the technological advances we would achieve with so much money pumped into the design and innovation of rocketry and space.

edit on 2-3-2013 by Agit8dChop because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 2 2013 @ 12:57 AM
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reply to post by Phage
 


A single fission of most fissile elements that are used as fuel puts out around 200 MeV of heat. Therefore a given number of fissions will generate a certain amount of heat, and generate a certain amount of fission products. Therefore it could be said a 4500 megawatt (thermal) PWR would create the exact amount of fission products as a 4500 megawatt fast reactor, or 4500 megawatt Molten Salt Reactor. The difference is the fast reactor or molten salt reactor, assuming full reprocessing, will not produce any actinides, only fission products. Therefore, unless a FR or MSR produces worse fission products than a PWR, then the short term radiotoxicity will be reduced slightly and the long term radiotoxicity will be essentially eliminated, as compared to a PWR.
edit on 2/3/13 by C0bzz because: (no reason given)





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