[aprssig] (OT) Nuclear Energy

Scott Miller 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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