OT: Wind Generation Follow-up

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Don Klipstein wrote:

My response to the lament of "We have no plan for securing the waste!" is "We have no plan because we don't NEED a plan right now."
There are several schemes for storing nuclear waste: rocket it into the sun, vitrifying it (as you said) and dumping it into the Marianas Trench or a salt dome, bury it in the Saraha Desert, send it all to Detroit, etc.
Point is, we don't HAVE to make a decision today - we've got time. Between now and the time when a decision is required, a better solution may pop up, maybe a strain of bacteria that eats plutonium.
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I think the issue of storing nuclear waste is a real and serious one. But.... on the other hand, the same crowd that is bitching about the nuclear waste is also tellling us that we'll have a worldwide calamity of biblical proportions in less than a hundred years from global warming if we continue to burn fossil fuels.
In which case, one would think that if they were sincere and intellectually honest, they would be all in favor of expanding nuclear power immediately. It's far from perfect, but with zero CO2 emissions, it looks pretty good to me. The environmental extremists position is kind of like a guy dying of thirst in the desert, refusing to drink some water that is available in a plastic bottle because it might have some trace amounts of bisphenol in it.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The reason for at least going ahead w/ Yucca Mtn (over Harry Reid's populist objections) is that the current spent fuel pools at all the plants are filling up (and have had to be expanded and storage compacted just to keep plants operational). They need more space and it's absolutely asinine to keep making more storage at all the individual plants for another 30 years or more. For one thing, these elements are aging and prone to developing cladding leakers, etc., that just causes more widespread contamination issues when scattered all over the map at the individual plants than if were consolidated in a location designed for the purpose.
On the other point going forward, I agree wholeheartedly. I've often said that the current filings of (last time I looked) 27 (+/-) licensing applications for new nuclear units on the NRC docket will smoke these turkeys out and reveal them for their real purposes. If they fight them indiscriminately as in the past on every possible basis they can dream up it will unveil them as primarily obstructionists irregardless of the environmental buzzwords.
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On 2/19/2011 8:35 AM, dpb wrote:

I'm of the opinion that the waste of today could be the fuel of tomorrow. Many years ago did anyone consider that a landfill would become an important source of fuel? :-)
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote: ...

It could be but that's not the current working definition of "retrievable". One could do much less complex storage than the Yucca Mtn site and still recover the material for subsequent reprocessing.
Of course, political reasons have prevented any possibility of that in the US although at present prices and availability of U, there's no economic incentive anyway.
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On 2/19/2011 11:10 AM, dpb wrote:

If I remember what I read right, U.S. reactors are operating on reprocessed Soviet Union era nuclear weapons material.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote: ...

A small fraction of total so far, but yes in general concept. The HEU is being blended down to the much lower ( 3% U-235, a roughly typical max) fuel assembly enrichments for commercial reactors.
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On 2/19/2011 12:31 PM, dpb wrote:

It's like a lot of things, I'm sure things like ore that was discarded in the past because it wasn't considered rich enough for older less efficient extraction processes will wind up being raw material for the future just like everything else we throw away.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote: ...

No clue what you're thinking of; there's more high-grade (as that goes) U ore than we could use at current rates in thousands of years even w/o recycling or the downblending of weapons-grade material.
It (the downblending) is more about the removal of the weapons material from stockpile than anything else altho the reduction in required additional SWUs for commercial fuel is a secondary benefit.
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On 2/19/2011 11:28 PM, dpb wrote:

I was thinking in generalities, not necessarily uranium ore but perhaps nuclear waste may one day be a raw material. I'm almost certain that the landfills of today will be a mined resource in the future.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote: ...

As commented on before elsewhere in the thread, it _could_ be now except for mostly political motivation that prevents it. (Carter edicted that NRC was not allowed to act on the GE license application for a reprocessing facility and killed the breeder project in his misguided "war on nuclear proliferation" wherein his confused thinking he confounded commercial nuclear power with weapons production.
That halted any chances of reprocessing in the US entirely although at current demand/cost, however, it wouldn't be economic anyway. AFAIK, those places that began recycling fuel have ceased owing to the economics not being favorable; it is afterall, while eminently doable, a complex process requiring all remote handling. Probably the most cost-effective first use would be as a secondary heat source if could get the activist anti's to allow transport more easily to central location(s); following that there are isotopes that are industrially and/or medically useful.
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On 2/19/2011 11:49 PM, The Daring Dufas wrote: ...

Perhaps; perhaps not in the sense you're _probably_ thinking of in that the historical mishmash of stuff will (imo) likely continue to be expensive even in the future to reprocess effectively. Later locations that have segregated more carefully, perhaps.
But, the future is already here for some things like methane gas recovery for either resale or on-site or commercial generation.
<http://www.epa.gov/lmop/projects-candidates/profile/sewardcountyandnationalbe.html>
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On 2/21/2011 1:54 PM, dpb wrote:

<http://www.epa.gov/lmop/projects-candidates/profile/sewardcountyandnationalbe.html>
My older brother was once involved in coalfield methane recovery. It's interesting stuff and I know there are some plants running on methane from landfills. That might work better if waste haulers separated all biomass from other garbage and dumped it in specific landfills used like a giant compost heap. Methane could be produced and fertilizer mined from the same pile. I'm trying to think of a way it could be done.
TDD
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On 2/21/2011 1:54 PM, dpb wrote:

<http://www.epa.gov/lmop/projects-candidates/profile/sewardcountyandnationalbe.html>
Your link is broken, I'd really like to see it. Check out:
http://tinyurl.com /
TDD
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On 2/21/2011 2:52 PM, The Daring Dufas wrote: ...

<http://www.epa.gov/lmop/projects-candidates/profiles/sewardcountyandnationalbe.html>
NB: Somehow the "s" in "profiles" got losted...
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On 2/21/2011 5:57 PM, dpb wrote:

<http://www.epa.gov/lmop/projects-candidates/profiles/sewardcountyandnationalbe.html>
COOL! Thanks, I'm an information junkie at times. :-)
TDD
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On 2/21/2011 8:48 PM, The Daring Dufas wrote:

Well, if you're really interested in a little more than "there's a project", here's presentation slides Mike gave at a conference that shows some of the details of the extraction and collection systems (as well as some other projects)--
<http://www.jgpress.com/biocycleenergy/pres_tue/Tabor_bcre10pdf_s.pdf
Here's the link to page w/ Mike's bio info from the same conference web page--
<http://www.jgpress.com/biocycleenergy/speak_n_w.html
--
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On 2/22/2011 8:57 AM, dpb wrote:

Wow, that's a fantastic use of what was once considered useless garbage. :-)
TDD
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wrote:

Currently there are plans and prototypes of nuclear reactors that are 300 time more efficient than present design, safer, cheaper to build, waste only needs to be contained for 100 years instead of 1000s can use present waste for fuel. As a matter of fact these are the basically the same liquid metal designs that were originally touted back in the beginning of the nuclear program. We just know how to make them work now,
Jimmie
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JIMMIE wrote:

That's a pretty fair exaggeration of benefits possible... :)
3X a nominal 30% thermal efficiency would, indeed, be quite an advancement. :)
Liquid metal is still a tough coolant and quite unforgiving. I don't expect any full-scale implementations in my lifetime (which, altho the future expectancy ain't what it was when went to work putting Oconee-class reactor design to bed and licensing, hopefully it is still some time a'fore it's all over... :) )
I'm reminded of the fusion folks when I read the LMFBR booster stuff, unfortunately. "Just wait 20 years now and ..."
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