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Climate change solved? Small scale nuclear generators
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grufty jim
grufty jim
1978 posts

Edited May 20, 2009, 16:06
Re: Climate change solved? Small scale nuclear generators
May 20, 2009, 16:05
handofdave wrote:

Self contained systems that use passive methods of reaction control.

I don't know enough about this technology to give a considered critique. So I'm flagging this post in advance as a "first thoughts / first impressions" thing.

And on that basis... yikes!

Thousands of little nuclear reactors encased in concrete, scattered all over the world and maintained and secured by the lowest bidder.

First of all, this commits us to a heavily industrialised future (i.e. one in which uranium mining and processing is done on a scale that rivals the modern oil industry) which I'm not sure is a sensible decision.

Secondly, the waste management issues just give me the head-staggers. It's one thing having a few secure, essentially semi-militarised, locations where the waste is produced and stored. Even that is problematic. But to handle such a distributed network with a reasonable guarantee that none of the stuff ever ends up in the local reservoirs?

Thirdly, I'm always worried when the person selling the technology creates a huge straw man regarding security. What's he trying to distract us from?

'You could never have a Chernobyl-type event - there are no moving parts,' said Deal. 'You would need nation-state resources in order to enrich our uranium. Temperature-wise it's too hot to handle. It would be like stealing a barbecue with your bare hands.'

What exactly about "stealing a barbecue with your bare hands" would have prevented the September 11th hijackers doing so if it was part of their mission? See, for me the security risk of these things is a dedicated bunch of nutters -- perhaps the owners of a local concrete supply company? -- who don't care about getting their hands burnt. It's just possible that there are people willing to expose themselves to a lethal dose of radiation as they drain the waste into the local water-table.

The whole thing is fraught with the kind of "What Ifs" that just don't enter the equation when you recommend a combination of renewable energy and a reduction in consumption.

But I'd be interested in having those "What Ifs" answered and I'll look out for more information on this over the coming months should it start to gain credibility. Maybe this is the magic space dust we've been waiting for.

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