Let's talk about something other than Brexit and the gay club shootings.
The UK's Small Modular Reactor Competition
"The UK government has launched a competition to select a design of a
small modular reactor (SMR) for future deployment in the UK. The idea
behind SMRs is that they can be factory built and stamped out like
aircraft and transported to location on the back of a truck. With
thirty-three companies / designs on the shortlist, this looks like the
process could take a while to complete"
An interesting read. The idea of lots of small reactors distributed
widely is appealing. It gives redundancy, means that spares for only
one type of reactor needs to be held, and training is simplified.
(='.'=) systemd: the Linux version of Windows 10
Of course te reactors are generally 'sealed fir life' so its pretty hard
to actually get he material out without some pretty specialised kit, and
you would either have to do that onsite, or steal the whole 1000 tonne
And if you start dismantling a scrammed reactor, you have better be
quick or very protected, cos the gamma is gonna fry you in an hour
To ban Christmas, simply give turkeys the vote.
I'm pretty relaxed about terrorists taking on either a full sized or a
small modular reactor. Knocking any power station off the grid is pretty
easy of course, but I reckon there are far softer targets around than a
reactor pressure vessel (or other sensitive parts). And I think we can
be reasonably sure that anyone googling too assiduously for details will
These were used in desert regions where solar panels with back
up batteries suffered from dust problems. I went to a lecture on them in
the 60s. Also used in spacecraft for deep space long journeys where
solar panels could not generate enough power.
Bulb wattages vary widely. Here's a big one of 3 kW
http://tinyurl.com/hdbxwl5 . But modern LED arrays probably use much
less. But in older lighthouses, you also needed to supply the power
for turning the huge (and technically and aesthetically rather
beautiful IMO*) Fresnel lens systems**. Although the bigger ones
typically weighed several tons, they floated on a bath of mercury so
actually required very little effort to turn them once the initial
inertia had been overcome***. In older, manned lighthouses, this was
manpower, literally. The lighthouse keepers would regularly (every few
hours) have to wind up a falling-weight system that rotated the lens
(think Grandfather clock), but later, on unmanned lighthouses the
power had to come from another source, usually electric, from diesel
generators and batteries IIRC.
* Images here http://tinyurl.com/z2kpsu8 The bigger and heavier ones
stand several feet high.
** A rotating lens system was essential, to give the appropriate
number of flashes per minute that identified the particular
lighthouse, rather than just switching the lamp on and off repeatedly,
which as we all know, shortens the life of the bulb dramatically. The
Fresnel lenses were very efficient at gathering the maximum amount of
light from the bulb and focusing it where needed. Ranges were
typically 20 miles or so, depending on lighthouse height, bulb power
and atmospheric conditions.
*** There used to be the national lighthouse museum run by Trinity
House in Penzance some years ago, and they had several in a range of
sizes. The biggest floated in a mercury bath and could be turned with
one finger. But Trinity House closed the museum in 2005 and I think
the collection was broken up and dispersed. An absolute tragedy and
Although they are described as lighthouses, the vast majority of the
Soviet nuclear powered lights were little more than navigation beacons.
There is one that often appears in photos, which does have all the
gubbins of a full blown lighthouse and that has radiation warnings, but
it also has diesel generators and large fuel tanks, so the reactor was
obviously not there to run the light. Perhaps it ran a backup system to
call for attention if the main power failed.
Not a very powerful light bulb, though, according to the figures on WP.
Even allowing for it flashing on and off, so it's not powered all the
time, you are looking at a couple of hundred watts, maximum.
True, indeed. So, I don't see how one of these generators could produce
anything like enough power? They seem to be in the range 10-100 watts.
Solar power makes more sense nowadays, even with redundancy built in to
allow for degradation due to dust build up.
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