[aprssig] (OT) Nuclear Energy
scott at opentrac.org
Thu Sep 20 10:42:58 CDT 2007
The standard answer here is thorium and breeder reactors. Not simple or
cheap, but it's a solvable problem, and I have more faith in that than
commercially viable fusion at this point.
As for proliferation concerns with fuel reprocessing, if I remember
right there are ways of doing that that'll yield materials not suitable
for bombs. Of the top of my head, I think an excess of plutonium 240
renders the fuel unusable for bombs due to spontaneous fission. It's
very difficult to process it for weapons use - not impossible, but it's
easier to monitor and regulate.
And in the long run, maybe the world as a whole is safer with a few more
nukes out there if it keeps a few billion tons of carbon dioxide out of
the atmosphere and reduces the need for coal mining and fighting over oil.
But we're getting a little off-topic...
Rick Green wrote:
> Even Nuclear isn't the 'silver bullet'. Uranium is a finite resource,
> and is subject to production limitations, Peaking, and decline, just as
> any other mineral resource.
> From an article on theoildrum.com today:
> " the (current) world uranium reserve will be gone in the time range
> between 2030 and 2040, meaning that we must anticipate developing
> speculative resources. A 7 GWe reactor needs 180 tons of uranium/year.
> And the 371 GWe production from 439 reactors adds up to a need for
> 67,000 ton/year. With a 1 2% growth for 20 years, this will lead to a
> need for between 51 and 130,000 tons of uranium. The reserve is thus
> going to run out in less than 50 years."
> ...and that's just running the current reactors, which are producing
> only 15% of the world's current energy needs. Clearly, if we were to do
> a massive ramp-up of reactor construction, we would run out of minable
> ore even faster, possibly before we could even double the current
> capacity, certainly before we could expand it six-fold!
> Read theoildrum. The economics for biofuels, nuclear, solar, wind, etc,
> all have limits, and no one can possibly supply more than a fraction of
> our energy needs. So it's clear that the first step is conservation,
> and shifting from growth-based to sustainable steady-state economics.
> And then develop multiple potential energy sources, in parallel.
> Where did this thread start? Wasn't it something about deprecating the
> use of RELAY???
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