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#376 2021-10-18 22:37:37

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Thanks for the other uses for a Krusty developed molten metal (Sodium) units.

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#377 2021-10-22 20:38:44

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

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#378 2021-10-22 21:36:29

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For SpaceNut re #377

Interesting collection of papers ...

From the one you cited ...

In 2009, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published their Design Reference Architecture
5.0 (DRA 5.0) and stated that surface power on Mars would ideally be through fission power [1]. Their study
indicated that nuclear power, over any other technology, would best allow for in-situ resource utilization (ISRU)
strategies, reduce power system mass, provide continuous high power generation, and have lower overall cost
assuming a complementary lunar system development process.
Decades of work has been done on this issue. In 2001, NASA assessed the performance and masses of Brayton and
Stirling nuclear power systems with intended use in space exploration activities, over a wide range of power levels
[2]. In 2006, they studied 50 kWe stainless steel systems for Mars applications, and compared power cycle options.
A Brayton cycle was shown to have the lowest mass [3].
This study analyzed the power conversion system (PCS) for a fission surface power system (FSPS). The system is
intended to generate a total of 1 MW of electric power for 15 years. A separate study into the design of the PCS
found that using three separate reactors and PCS generating 333 kWe each allow for redundancy and reduce system
mass. Various thermodynamic cycles were considered, leading to the selection of a Brayton cycle. The Brayton
cycle system was then rigorously analyzed with varying levels of regeneration, intercooling, reheating, efficiency,
Proceedings of Nuclear & Emerging Technologies for Space
(NETS) 2016 Huntsville, AL February 22-25, 2016
Paper 6004

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#379 2021-10-23 12:43:33

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

This post is primarily for kbd512 ...

Thanks again for your help estimating power requirements to replace existing fresh water supply for the City of Phoenix with fresh water processed from the Gulf of California.  I saved the posts and printed them, and today I finished going over them slowly.

I'll have to go back to double check, but my impression is that the 4 Gw output of the existing Palo Verde power plant would easily perform the water preparation and delivery service, and have plenty of power to spare.

The existing plant is fully booked (I understand) so a new plant would be needed.

(th)

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#380 2021-10-23 17:26:36

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

https://www.yahoo.com/news/editorial-mi … 00272.html

EDITORIAL: Microreactor plans for Eielson offer a glimpse of a cleaner energy future for Alaska
Anchorage Daily News, Alaska
Sat, October 23, 2021, 6:02 PM
Oct. 23—In a week that saw Alaska's COVID-19 surge continue, firings and a lawsuit within Mayor Dave Bronson's administration, the final knell for any hope of fiscal progress this year in Juneau, and a dozen other high-profile news items, the announcement that the Department of Defense is planning a pilot microreactor program at Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks didn't make many waves. But the miniature power plant could have a big impact on the future of power for Alaska — particularly when it comes to communities outside the Railbelt.

According to military officials, the plan is to design, build and operate a 1-5 megawatt micronuclear reactor at Eielson by 2027. As power plants go, that's pretty small, and as nuclear power plants go, even more so — traditional plants are often in the gigawatt range, 200-500 times the capacity planned for the Eielson minireactor.

Even in the best case, Eielson's pilot reactor won't be online until 2027. But it's gratifying to finally see the ball rolling on new potential energy solutions for our state's far-flung communities, especially ones that could lead to serious reductions in Alaska's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. The Eielson microreactor project is the rare event that should be cause for optimism among rural advocates, climate activists and development boosters alike.

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#381 2021-10-25 07:09:09

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban re topic ... I was happy to see this report ...

https://www.yahoo.com/news/nuclear-reac … 59790.html

Mon, October 25, 2021 4:44 AM
PARIS (Reuters) -French grid operator RTE said next generation nuclear reactors offer an affordable path to shifting the country's energy mix away from fossil fuels and make the aim of carbon neutrality by 2050 achievable.

"Building new nuclear reactors is economically viable, especially as it makes it possible to maintain a fleet of around 40 gigawatts (GW) in 2050," said the RTE in a report that examined the different pathways to meet the expected rise in electricity demand.

Industry and government sources say the report is expected to help inform President Emmanuel Macron's decision to go ahead with plans to build new nuclear plants.

France's nuclear safety watchdog ASN in February cleared more than half of the nuclear fleet to operate for a decade longer than originally planned after maintenance work, as 32-900 megawatt reactors are coming to the end of their lifespan.

France currently has about 62.4 GW of nuclear generation capacity provided by 57 reactors, RTE data showed.

(Reporting by Forrest Crellin and Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Mike Harrison)

Underlying this report is the confidence the people of France can educate enough citizens to support a fleet of reactors of this size.

Few countries would have confidence sufficient to support such an ambition.

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#382 2021-10-30 07:20:48

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

The story at the link below looks interesting and it may be encouraging...

I'll have to come back to it on another system.  I requested "continue reading" but got no response...


https://www.yahoo.com/finance/m/10de857 … neers.html

Former SpaceX engineers founded a company to build ‘climate-friendly, cost-effective’ portable nuclear reactors
Jurica Dujmovic
Sat, October 30, 2021 6:38 AM
Q&A with Radiant CEO Doug Bernauer: 'We are innovating in an industry not accustomed to innovation.'

The article showed up in full on a modern system ...

There are several significant improvements in the design ... use of helium as a coolant is said to be safe because helium does not become radioactive.  I'd sure appreciate someone investigating ** that ** claim. In addition, the fuel is pelletized so that if some spills on the ground it can just be scooped up.  Power is 1.2 Mw and service life is 5 years.  These figures are remarkably close to my vision of a 1 Mw reactor that would lease for 10 years.

The copy I requested delivered a lot more data than is needed for this post ... I'll try to remove as much as I can ..

Former SpaceX engineers founded a company to build ‘climate-friendly, cost-effective’ portable nuclear reactors
Published: Oct. 30, 2021 at 6:38 a.m. ET
By Jurica Dujmovic

Q&A with Radiant CEO Doug Bernauer: ‘We are innovating in an industry not accustomed to innovation.’

Radiant is moving forward with plans to bring small nuclear reactors — also known as “micro reactors” — to market.

The shipping-container-sized units are capable of operating independently from the electric grid to supply highly resilient power for critical loads under normal and emergency conditions.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company was founded by a group of former SpaceX engineers, one of whom is Radiant’s CEO, Doug Bernauer. (Tesla’s TSLA, +3.43% Elon Musk founded SpaceX.) I discussed with him micro reactors’ potential, challenges and the future of the company, as well as Kaleidos, its 1.2-megawatt (MW) nuclear reactor.

MarketWatch: Could you tell us a few things about yourself and the company? Why did you move from colonizing space — one of SpaceX’s aims — to nuclear energy?

DB: I worked at SpaceX for 12 years, working on a wide variety of research-and-development projects. I joined SpaceX to help with the mission of colonizing space, which I still believe is one of the noblest causes, worthy of dedicating a life’s work. During the course of my time at SpaceX, I came to understand that you can only effectively turn Mars into a frontier with nuclear power. I began to study nuclear technology and found that portable nuclear generators could actually be a climate-friendly, cost-effective replacement for diesel generators on Earth. Portable generators can power remote islands and villages, and can provide backup power for life-saving applications like in hospitals or disaster-relief scenarios. Portable reactors could revolutionize the nuclear industry.

MW: What exactly are the portable reactors you’re developing?

DB: We’re developing Kaleidos, a 1.2MW reactor, or enough power for about 1,000 homes. The units are designed to last around five years, but the exact duration depends on the variability of the demand. After five years, the units are shipped back to the factory and can have the core replaced three times for a total of four core loads.

MW: How accessible will your reactors be to the general public in terms of price and regulations? Is this something small townships, or even a group of households in remote areas, could invest in on their own?

DB: Accessibility to the general public would only happen after deploying many units and proving safety with those earlier customers. The first customers are in off-grid, remote areas and power will be provided through utilities. Generally, the units are affordable, but they need a large enough community — at least hundreds of homes — to achieve efficient outputs.

MW: Other than providing electricity for households, where do you see Radiant reactors being used?

DB: Electricity generation, portable and scalable, can save lives, so it could replace diesel for hospitals or disaster relief. Any off-grid location, especially in cold regions, needs reliable power generation for the same reason. The military certainly operates in remote and off-grid locations.

MW: People generally consider nuclear energy quite dangerous. What are the risks of having one such reactor in a vicinity of a household? How different are they compared to conventional water-cooled reactors?

DB: These units aren’t going to be used in anyone’s backyard; they will only be installed by utilities where there is full public support. We use a meltdown-proof TRISO fuel, consisting of poppy seed-sized capsules surrounding tiny grains of fuel.  These particles can’t melt, and if they were dropped on the ground, they could be easily scooped up. We also use helium coolant, which uniquely doesn’t become radioactive. A helium leak would be insignificant, while the existing water-cooled reactors and new molten salt reactor leaks would both be hazardous and with potential to contaminate the ground.

MW: Do your products come in different shapes and sizes? Can we expect smaller reactors that could, perhaps, provide enough energy for a single household?

DB: You would never see a fission reactor for a single household; it would not be affordable with today’s technology. The shielding required doesn’t scale down at the same rate as the power level, so even a very small reactor is still extremely heavy. Scaling further down would only make sense to provide power in locations which are very expensive to reach with other power sources, such as space due to launch costs.

MW: Aside from (possibly) fighting the public perception of these devices, what other challenges are you facing as you launch a revolutionary product such as this one?

DB: We are innovating in an industry which is not accustomed to innovation. Materials sourcing and regulations still under development are challenges. A primary challenge we are facing is attracting enough experienced nuclear design engineers. We will revolutionize the industry, but we need experienced engineers to sign on so we can bring this technology to the world.

MW: How do your reactors compare to, say, a solar power plant that provides the same amount of power?

DB: Our unit takes up less space and can generate all the time, day or night, cloudy or clear. The solar plant would need battery backup to have similarly dispatchable power, which would lead to a very costly approach.

MW: How close are you to releasing your product on the market?

DB: We expect to hit markets in 2028. We’ve raised over $3 million to date and have received awards from DOE (Department of Energy) and DoD (Department of Defense). We’ve gone from three people a year ago to 14 today; we’re hiring rapidly. We have built a control drum, an advanced simulator and will release a demonstration in the next few months.

We should have a fueled demonstration in five years. Radiant will always be a portable nuclear reactor developer. In 10 years we should have 25 units built and operating and be working on another design. We currently have no planned future products — we are focused on our Kaleidos reactor development solely. Portable reactors could be used anywhere humans want to be. Power-generation sources are the root of life support — if you have power, you can purify water or air and grow food.

MW: Thank you, Doug. This was very interesting and highly informative.

There you have it. What’s your take on portable nuclear reactors? Do you see them as a hazard or the future of clean energy? Let me know in the comment section below.
About the Author

Jurica Dujmovic
Jurica Dujmovic is a columnist for MarketWatch. He is a business publisher, consultant, designer and gamer. Follow him on Twitter @JuricaDujmovic.
Conversation3 Comments
Matt F
1 hour ago

Cool idea but I'm not sure about the name of the reactor. Collide-us?

MICHAEL RAY
24 minutes ago

All of those nuclear engineers that you are trying to hire? They currently work for GE!!

MICHAEL RAY
22 minutes ago

See the BWRX-300 SMR :-))

Reply
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#383 2021-10-30 08:21:53

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

This post is about separation of Deuterium from Protium in sea water imported to make fresh water for a customer group.

Deuterium is already a valuable substance, and it's value will increase dramatically as soon as fusion researchers achieve break even with Deuterium-Deuterium reactions.  it may even increase in value if the Deuterium-Tritium reaction is achieved, although the amount of Tritium may be a limiting factor.

The inquiry is connected to an ongoing initiative in Arizona, to explore possible duplication of the Palo Verde fission plant to make fresh water. It turns out that important and significant ground work has already been done by a Binational organization in (about) 2019.

Electrolytic Separation Factor of Protium and Deuterium | Nature
www.nature.com › letters

Electrolytic Separation Factor of Protium and Deuterium. P. R. ROWLAND. Nature volume 218, pages 945–946 (1968)Cite this article.
Improvements in electrocatalytic separation of hydrogen isotopes

www.sciencedirect.com › science › article › pii

A remarkable improvement in the separation factor for isotopic substitution between protium and deuterium during alkaline water electrolysis has been ...
on the electrolytic separation factor of hydrogen and deuterium

www.researchgate.net › publication › 270758746_ON_THE_ELECTROL...
In book: Recent Research Developments in Electrochemistry (pp.257-300); Chapter: ON THE ELECTROLYTIC SEPARATION FACTOR OF HYDROGEN AND DEUTERIUM ...

Solubility and Separation Factor of Protium-Deuterium Binary ...
www.tandfonline.com › ... › List of Issues › Volume 33, Issue 6
Palladium membrane has been studied for sepration and purification of hydrogen isotopes because of its large permeability. In order to consider permeation ...

Missing: rowland p electrolytic nature 218
Nuclear Science Abstracts
books.google.com › books
... ELECTROLYTIC SEPARATION FACTOR OF PROTIUM AND DEUTERIUM , Rowland , P , R , ( Atomic Energy Establishment , Winfrith , Eng . ) . Nature ( London ) , 218 ...

GAS CHROMATOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS IN THE ...
www.osti.gov › biblio › 4498010-gas-chromatographic-characteristics-sepa...
... GLUCOSE/ separation of deuterium and protium forms of trimethylsilyl derivatives of, gas chromatographic characteristics in; DEUTERIUM/effects on ...

My perspective on the Phoenix Water initiative is that ** every ** molecule in the sea water stream has value and should be harvested for sale on the open market.  The key to the success of this position is the availability of sufficient power (ie, energy supply) to permit the required physical and chemical investments.

Outputs would include:
Deuterium
Fresh water (Protium and a mixture of elements to insure palatibility)
Sodium metal for sale
Chlorine gas for sale
Bromine
Magnesium
Other trace elements
Some Carbon harvested from carbohydrates that may be present
Other items I've missed

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#384 2021-10-30 08:26:51

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

This post is about the limited supply of Tritium in the United States ...

A fusion economy dependent upon a supply of Tritium might falter if present trends continue ...

[fusion]
The United States has not produced tritium since 1988, when the Department of Energy's (DOE's) production facility site in South Carolina closed. Immediate tritium needs are being met by recycling tritium from dismantled U.S. nuclear weapons.

Fact Sheet: Tritium Production. - Nuclear Regulatory Commission

www.nrc.gov › docs

About Featured Snippets
People also ask
Where can we get tritium?
Who manufactures tritium?
Can you get tritium?
How much is tritium worth?

Commentary: The looming crisis for US tritium production
www.defensenews.com › opinion › commentary › 2017/03/06 › comment...

Mar 6, 2017 · Tritium, an isotope of hydrogen, is an essential component in all U.S. nuclear weapons and bombs. It is radioactive with a decay half-life ...
US Tritium Production for the Nuclear Weapons Stockpile
lynceans.org › all-posts › u-s-tritium-production-for-the-nuclear-weapons-s...

Jan 12, 2020 · In its current state, the U.S. nuclear weapons complex is struggling to deliver an adequate supply of tritium to meet the needs specified by ...
Future supply of tritium for U.S. nuclear weapons in doubt - IPFM Blog
fissilematerials.org › blog › 2010/10 › future_supply_of_tritium_
[/fusion]

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#385 2021-10-30 19:02:03

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Sorry Louis, from th article

Former SpaceX engineers founded a company to build ‘climate-friendly, cost-effective’ portable nuclear reactors

During the course of my time at SpaceX, I came to understand that you can only effectively turn Mars into a frontier with nuclear power.

I began to study nuclear technology and found that portable nuclear generators could actually be a climate-friendly, cost-effective replacement for diesel generators on Earth. Portable generators can power remote islands and villages, and can provide backup power for life-saving applications like in hospitals or disaster-relief scenarios. Portable reactors could revolutionize the nuclear industry.

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#386 2021-11-02 10:31:52

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/roma … 18542.html

Reuters
Romania to work with NuScale on small nuclear power reactors
Tue, November 2, 2021, 10:54 AM
BUCHAREST, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Romania will partner with American company NuScale Power to build small nuclear reactors as part of its efforts to boost low-emission power sources, the White House said on Tuesday.

The country's sole nuclear power producer, state-owned Nuclearelectrica, currently has two 706-megawatt reactors, which account for roughly a fifth of Romania's power.

The company plans to add two more reactors. In 2020, it signed an agreement with U.S. construction and engineering firm AECOM which will lead an $8 billion project to add two reactors at Romania's nuclear power plant on the river Danube and refurbish one of its existing units.

"The United States and Romania will announce today plans to build a 'first-of-a-kind' small modular reactor (SMR) plant in Romania in partnership with U.S. NuScale Power, bringing the latest civil nuclear technology to a critical part of Europe," the White House said.

The agreement will include a 12-module NuScale plant, it said.

Glad to see support for new US technology outside the US.

(th)

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#387 2021-11-05 16:30:27

Mars_B4_Moon
Member
Registered: 2006-03-23
Posts: 4,351

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Why the promise of nuclear fusion is no longer a pipe dream

https://www.sciencefocus.com/future-tec … er-future/

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#388 2021-11-05 17:35:52

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Thank you to Mars_B4_Moon for showing the link to this article ...

https://www.sciencefocus.com/future-tec … er-future/

Choosing a fuel
Instead of just using deuterium as the fusion fuel, ITER will use deuterium mixed with tritium, another hydrogen isotope. The deuterium-tritium blend offers the best chance of getting significantly more power out than is put in. Proponents of fusion power say one reason the technology is safe is that the fuel needs to be constantly fed into the reactor to keep fusion happening, making a runaway reaction impossible.

Deuterium can be extracted from seawater, so there’s a virtually limitless supply of it. But only 20kg of tritium are thought to exist worldwide, so fusion power plants will have to produce it (ITER will develop technology to ‘breed’ tritium). While some radioactive waste will be produced in a fusion plant, it’ll have a lifetime of around 100 years, rather than the thousands of years from fission.

At the time of writing in September, researchers at the Joint European Torus (JET) fusion reactor in Oxfordshire were due to start their deuterium-tritium fusion reactions. “JET will help ITER prepare a choice of machine parameters to optimise the fusion power,” says Dr Joelle Mailloux, one of the scientific programme leaders at JET. These parameters will include finding the best combination of deuterium and tritium, and establishing how the current is increased in the magnets before fusion starts.

I decided to highlight this section of the article, because an initiative is underway to try to find support for the idea of building a nuclear fission reactor to deliver fresh water to Arizona (and Mexico) using sea water as input.

I am attempting to steer the initiative toward making sure that Deuterium is harvested from the flow from the Sea of Cortez.

The Deuterium will not be used immediately, because fusion is not yet viable, but I think chances of break even are good, and whoever has a stash of Deuterium (as would be the case in Arizona) is a prime candidate for construction of the next fusion reactor.  Whoever has a running start with fusion has an excellent chance of providing increased income for the residents of the State.

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#389 2021-11-05 17:46:15

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

Re: Nuclear power is safe

I am also wondering if using He3 would benefit the activity to get the heavy water to fuse.

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#390 2021-11-05 19:15:25

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

It is possible that Calliban is tied up with work, family and other obligations.

I would ** really ** like to see a response to your question about the place of Helium3 in the fusion landscape.

On the ** other ** hand, if one of our existing members is interested in doing a bit of reading on this subject, and would be willing to package information so it will fit in a NewMars post, that would certainly be welcome.

(th)

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#391 2021-11-05 20:02:38

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

Re: Nuclear power is safe

hydrogen has one proton
deuterium also has one neutron
tritium has two neutrons

so their ion masses are heavier than protium, the isotope of hydrogen with no neutrons.

When deuterium and tritium fuse, they create a helium nucleus, which has two protons and two neutrons.

Helium-3 is a light, stable isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron (the most common isotope, helium-4, having two protons  and two neutrons in contrast

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#392 2021-11-05 20:49:24

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For SpaceNut ... following up on your Post #391

https://www.energy.gov/science/fes/arti … n-isotopes

This article is dated March 2021.

It appears to be written for a high school level reader.

The claim that I find interesting is the prediction that deuterium/tritium reactions will become favored in future.

The Impact
Future fusion reactors will use a 50-50 mix of two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium. These isotopes will fuse together into helium atoms and release large amounts of energy. Current fusion tokamaks use only deuterium because it is easier to acquire and handle than tritium. To enable future reactors, researchers need theoretical modeling of the behavior of hydrogen and deuterium-tritium fuel, not just of deuterium fuel. This knowledge will help them plan for the shift in reactors from deuterium fuel to deuterium-tritium fuel. The new modeling will also aid fusion science researchers work toward more efficient future fusion reactors.

Deuterium can be extracted from ordinary sea water.

Per Wikipedia:

Deuterium has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in 6420 of hydrogen.

Tritium, on the other hand is rare at present because it is made by either fission or fusion reactors.

This next item is from ITER...

About 6,630,000 results (0.61 seconds)
Tritium is a fast-decaying radioelement of hydrogen which occurs only in trace quantities in nature. It can be produced during the fusion reaction through contact with lithium, however: tritium is produced, or "bred," when neutrons escaping the plasma interact with lithium contained in the blanket wall of the tokamak.

Fuelling the Fusion Reaction - ITER
https://www.iter.org › sci › FusionFuels

So, it might turn out that relatively abundant Lithium can be converted to tritium in a reactor, and the tritium can be extracted and used to continue the fusion reaction with deuterium.

It would appear (to me at least) that a fusion reactor complex is going to be doing some industrial scale element processing to sustain itself.  Inputs would be deuterium from sea water and lithium from mines (competing with battery manufactures).

Ah ha!  Used lithium batteries might be "mined" for lithium for fusion reactors.

Now ** there's ** a use for batteries i'll bet Louis hadn't thought of.

(th)

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#393 2021-11-09 08:29:21

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban ... following up on your new topic on the need for abundant energy to meeting the growing needs of the human population....


tahanson43206 wrote:

For Calliban re new topic ...

First, congratulations on opening this (in my opinion) important new line of discussion!

My immediate reaction was to think of your Nuclear is Safe topic.

It is highly UNLIKELY that you had time (or the opportunity) to read my recent post on the article in Analog that estimates the total number of nuclear plants needed to take on the entire global energy supply challenge.

That is most definitely an interesting alternate future, with the caveat that the production of waste would require a solution to the disposal problem.

I am recommending use of the subduction process conveniently offered by the planet itself.  Nuclear waste would flow into the mantle, where the natural process of radioactive decay would blend seamlessly into the existing nuclear reactions already occurring in the core.

This is a business opportunity for someone.  However, the population of the Earth appears to be filled with individuals who are not up to the challenge.

(th)

We need to find individuals who can take a leadership role in the present time.

The opportunities are (obviously) significant.  The risks of failure are commensurate.

Few are qualified to tackle the challenges that face the human population.

(th)

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#394 2021-11-09 15:13:52

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,083

Re: Nuclear power is safe

tahanson43206 wrote:

The story at the link below looks interesting and it may be encouraging...

I'll have to come back to it on another system.  I requested "continue reading" but got no response...


https://www.yahoo.com/finance/m/10de857 … neers.html

Former SpaceX engineers founded a company to build ‘climate-friendly, cost-effective’ portable nuclear reactors
Jurica Dujmovic
Sat, October 30, 2021 6:38 AM
Q&A with Radiant CEO Doug Bernauer: 'We are innovating in an industry not accustomed to innovation.'

The article showed up in full on a modern system ...

There are several significant improvements in the design ... use of helium as a coolant is said to be safe because helium does not become radioactive.  I'd sure appreciate someone investigating ** that ** claim. In addition, the fuel is pelletized so that if some spills on the ground it can just be scooped up.  Power is 1.2 Mw and service life is 5 years.  These figures are remarkably close to my vision of a 1 Mw reactor that would lease for 10 years.

The copy I requested delivered a lot more data than is needed for this post ... I'll try to remove as much as I can ..

Former SpaceX engineers founded a company to build ‘climate-friendly, cost-effective’ portable nuclear reactors
Published: Oct. 30, 2021 at 6:38 a.m. ET
By Jurica Dujmovic

Q&A with Radiant CEO Doug Bernauer: ‘We are innovating in an industry not accustomed to innovation.’

Radiant is moving forward with plans to bring small nuclear reactors — also known as “micro reactors” — to market.

The shipping-container-sized units are capable of operating independently from the electric grid to supply highly resilient power for critical loads under normal and emergency conditions.

The El Segundo, Calif.-based company was founded by a group of former SpaceX engineers, one of whom is Radiant’s CEO, Doug Bernauer. (Tesla’s TSLA, +3.43% Elon Musk founded SpaceX.) I discussed with him micro reactors’ potential, challenges and the future of the company, as well as Kaleidos, its 1.2-megawatt (MW) nuclear reactor.

MarketWatch: Could you tell us a few things about yourself and the company? Why did you move from colonizing space — one of SpaceX’s aims — to nuclear energy?

DB: I worked at SpaceX for 12 years, working on a wide variety of research-and-development projects. I joined SpaceX to help with the mission of colonizing space, which I still believe is one of the noblest causes, worthy of dedicating a life’s work. During the course of my time at SpaceX, I came to understand that you can only effectively turn Mars into a frontier with nuclear power. I began to study nuclear technology and found that portable nuclear generators could actually be a climate-friendly, cost-effective replacement for diesel generators on Earth. Portable generators can power remote islands and villages, and can provide backup power for life-saving applications like in hospitals or disaster-relief scenarios. Portable reactors could revolutionize the nuclear industry.

MW: What exactly are the portable reactors you’re developing?

DB: We’re developing Kaleidos, a 1.2MW reactor, or enough power for about 1,000 homes. The units are designed to last around five years, but the exact duration depends on the variability of the demand. After five years, the units are shipped back to the factory and can have the core replaced three times for a total of four core loads.

MW: How accessible will your reactors be to the general public in terms of price and regulations? Is this something small townships, or even a group of households in remote areas, could invest in on their own?

DB: Accessibility to the general public would only happen after deploying many units and proving safety with those earlier customers. The first customers are in off-grid, remote areas and power will be provided through utilities. Generally, the units are affordable, but they need a large enough community — at least hundreds of homes — to achieve efficient outputs.

MW: Other than providing electricity for households, where do you see Radiant reactors being used?

DB: Electricity generation, portable and scalable, can save lives, so it could replace diesel for hospitals or disaster relief. Any off-grid location, especially in cold regions, needs reliable power generation for the same reason. The military certainly operates in remote and off-grid locations.

MW: People generally consider nuclear energy quite dangerous. What are the risks of having one such reactor in a vicinity of a household? How different are they compared to conventional water-cooled reactors?

DB: These units aren’t going to be used in anyone’s backyard; they will only be installed by utilities where there is full public support. We use a meltdown-proof TRISO fuel, consisting of poppy seed-sized capsules surrounding tiny grains of fuel.  These particles can’t melt, and if they were dropped on the ground, they could be easily scooped up. We also use helium coolant, which uniquely doesn’t become radioactive. A helium leak would be insignificant, while the existing water-cooled reactors and new molten salt reactor leaks would both be hazardous and with potential to contaminate the ground.

MW: Do your products come in different shapes and sizes? Can we expect smaller reactors that could, perhaps, provide enough energy for a single household?

DB: You would never see a fission reactor for a single household; it would not be affordable with today’s technology. The shielding required doesn’t scale down at the same rate as the power level, so even a very small reactor is still extremely heavy. Scaling further down would only make sense to provide power in locations which are very expensive to reach with other power sources, such as space due to launch costs.

MW: Aside from (possibly) fighting the public perception of these devices, what other challenges are you facing as you launch a revolutionary product such as this one?

DB: We are innovating in an industry which is not accustomed to innovation. Materials sourcing and regulations still under development are challenges. A primary challenge we are facing is attracting enough experienced nuclear design engineers. We will revolutionize the industry, but we need experienced engineers to sign on so we can bring this technology to the world.

MW: How do your reactors compare to, say, a solar power plant that provides the same amount of power?

DB: Our unit takes up less space and can generate all the time, day or night, cloudy or clear. The solar plant would need battery backup to have similarly dispatchable power, which would lead to a very costly approach.

MW: How close are you to releasing your product on the market?

DB: We expect to hit markets in 2028. We’ve raised over $3 million to date and have received awards from DOE (Department of Energy) and DoD (Department of Defense). We’ve gone from three people a year ago to 14 today; we’re hiring rapidly. We have built a control drum, an advanced simulator and will release a demonstration in the next few months.

We should have a fueled demonstration in five years. Radiant will always be a portable nuclear reactor developer. In 10 years we should have 25 units built and operating and be working on another design. We currently have no planned future products — we are focused on our Kaleidos reactor development solely. Portable reactors could be used anywhere humans want to be. Power-generation sources are the root of life support — if you have power, you can purify water or air and grow food.

MW: Thank you, Doug. This was very interesting and highly informative.

There you have it. What’s your take on portable nuclear reactors? Do you see them as a hazard or the future of clean energy? Let me know in the comment section below.
About the Author

Jurica Dujmovic
Jurica Dujmovic is a columnist for MarketWatch. He is a business publisher, consultant, designer and gamer. Follow him on Twitter @JuricaDujmovic.
Conversation3 Comments
Matt F
1 hour ago

Cool idea but I'm not sure about the name of the reactor. Collide-us?

MICHAEL RAY
24 minutes ago

All of those nuclear engineers that you are trying to hire? They currently work for GE!!

MICHAEL RAY
22 minutes ago

See the BWRX-300 SMR :-))

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(th)

TH, very interesting.  In answer to your question, He4 has negligible absorption cross section to neutrons and has high binding energy per nucleon, making it difficult to break down in any way.  So it does not activate to any significant degree.  That could be useful as it means turbines, primary coolant loops and blowers don't need to be shielded in the way they must be for boiling water reactors.  Hot helium gas could be contaminated by gaseous fission products, so won't necessarily be entirely non-radioactive.  This may make direct handling of primary circuit components challenging because of beta emissions, which can cause skin burns if exposure isn't carefully managed.  But from the description you link, it sounds like a Triso type fuel will be used which should retain fission products even at high temperatures.

Small, high temperature reactors like this can have very simple passive decay heat strategies that rely on thermal radiation out of the vessel wall much as we have discussed before.  This has the advantage of being low cost and effectively idiot proof.  If you walk away from the thing and leave it running, you can rely on a combination of passive DHR and negative thermal temperature coefficient to keep it safe without any operator involvement.  This becomes difficult to achieve as operating power levels exceed a few tens of MW thermal, but easy for reactors producing just a few MW of heat as these engineers are planning for.  Sometimes, small is beautiful.  Incidentally, 1.2MWe is exactly the power level needed for a Starship propellant plant on Mars.  I'm thinking that probably isn't a coincidence.


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#395 2021-11-09 15:30:37

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

For Calliban re #394

Thank you for taking up the Helium as a coolant question ...

Your closing observation caught my eye.   I wonder if these folks split off as a separate company to address the refueling requirement.

***
Here is an indication a few sensible people are left in the UK Government:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/rolls-royce- … 45937.html

As part of a "10-point plan" to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reach a target of net zero by 2050, the government has said nuclear power provides a "reliable source of low-carbon electricity" and that it is "pursuing large-scale nuclear", while also looking to invest in SMRs.

Tony Danker, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said the investment for Rolls-Royce was a "hugely promising milestone for a technology that can not only boost the economy but help deliver a greener and more secure energy system overall".

Meanwhile, Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, added the funding sent a "huge signal to private investors that the government wants SMRs alongside new large-scale stations to hit net zero".

Nice to see this!

(th)

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#396 2021-11-16 08:25:01

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

The article at the link below reports on work of a pair of MIT graduates who've been working on small fission reactors for some years. The article reports that they have made excellent progress, and have designed a 1+ megawatt reactor that sounds very similar to the concept I've been thinking about earlier in the forum archive.

Their company would own the reactors, they would last for 10 years, and the company would swap them with newly refurbished ones.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/generation-n … 18783.html

easy.”You can’t just excuse away the thing that’s at the center of all of it, which is it’s just a hard technology to build,” says Jaczko, the former NRC chair. “It’s difficult to make these plants, it’s difficult to design them, it’s difficult to engineer them, it’s difficult to construct them. At some point, that’s got to be the obvious conclusion to this technology.”

But the equally obvious conclusion is we can no longer live without it. “The reality is, you have to really squint to see how you get to net zero without nuclear,” says Third Way’s Freed. “There’s a lot of wishful thinking, a lot of fingers crossed.”

A New Generation of Nuclear Reactors Could Hold the Key to a Green Future
Andrew Blum
Tue, November 16, 2021 7:00 AM

Andrew Blum
Tue, November 16, 2021 7:00 AM

A rendering of an Oklo Aurora power plant Credit - Courtesy Oklo/Gensler

On a conference-room whiteboard in the heart of Silicon Valley, Jacob DeWitte sketches his startup’s first product. In red marker, it looks like a beer can in a Koozie, stuck with a crazy straw. In real life, it will be about the size of a hot tub, and made from an array of exotic materials, like zirconium and uranium. Under carefully controlled conditions, they will interact to produce heat, which in turn will make electricity—1.5 megawatts’ worth, enough to power a neighborhood or a factory. DeWitte’s little power plant will run for a decade without refueling and, amazingly, will emit no carbon. ”It’s a metallic thermal battery,” he says, coyly. But more often DeWitte calls it by another name: a nuclear reactor.

But DeWitte plans to flip the switch on his first reactor around 2023, a mere decade after co-founding his company, Oklo. After that, they want to do for neighborhood nukes what Tesla has done for electric cars: use a niche and expensive first version as a stepping stone toward cheaper, bigger, higher-volume products.

(th)

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#397 2021-11-16 09:27:10

Calliban
Member
From: Northern England, UK
Registered: 2019-08-18
Posts: 2,083

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Good post TH.  I will read through in more detail this evening.  As a general principle, there are scale economies in nuclear systems that work against very small units.  For example, a nuclear powerplant using a large PWR, would normally employ around 500 people.  If reactor power is scaled up from 1000MWe to 1500MWe, the plant would still employ a similar number of people and its component supply chains would be no more complex or expensive.  This wouldn't be economically affordable for a much smaller unit like this.  One of the concerns about moving to small modular PWRs is that staffing and supply chain costs for the reactor will not scale down with reactor power.  However, more rapid construction will greatly reduce capital costs and some scale economies can still be gained by clustering multiple smaller units on a single site.

For the reactor concept considered here, with power levels of 1.5MWe, the idea appears to be distributed energy generation.  Deploying a large staff base will not be economically affordable, but is probably not necessary either.  Very small reactors like this can be very simple in design, relying on natural heat loss for decay heat removal and negative temperature coefficients for reactivity control.  The reactor plant and generator set would arrive on the back of a truck in either one or two pieces.  There is no requirement for lengthy construction involving enormous components.  The unit is installed ready constructed.  The reactor would be placed in a pit, which would absorb radiated decay heat through its walls and attenuate gamma radiation.  Most likely, the entire set up would take no more than a few weeks for site preparation and commissioning.  The reactor would be started by a trained operator and would run automatically until shutdown without any operator intervention.  This sort of strategy is possible in very small metal cooled reactors, because passive heat removal and natural self-controlling feedbacks are capable of maintaining the powerplant in a safe state.  The units will have plant safety cases that are largely pre-written, with radiological consequence assessment being carried out to adjust the safety case for local population density, seismic and external hazard conditions.

Such units would likely be clustered together to power container ships and military vessels, with perhaps single units powering freight locomotives.  A unit like this could also provide for the district heating of a small town.

Neutron leakage is a problem with very small reactor cores.  It tends to neccesitate more fissile material per MW of thermal power.  That is an economic problem, though not necessarily an unworkable one.  By using metallic fuels with high heavy metal atom density, total fissile inventory can be kept down, although enrichment levels need to be high.

A 1.5MWe (3MWth) reactor, with a 10 year core life, would contain only 0.3% of the fission products of a 1000MWe light water reactor.  The radiological consequences of fuel damage is therefore much lower and arguably less likely due to  the highly reliable passive safety features of the plant.  One might argue that total risk from 1000x 1.5MWe nuclear reactors, is lower than that of a single 1500MWe reactor plant.

Last edited by Calliban (2021-11-16 09:40:03)


"Plan and prepare for every possibility, and you will never act. It is nobler to have courage as we stumble into half the things we fear than to analyse every possible obstacle and begin nothing. Great things are achieved by embracing great dangers."

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#398 2021-11-16 20:24:01

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

Re: Nuclear power is safe

Bill Gates venture picks Wyoming city for sodium nuke plant

Bellevue, Washington-based TerraPower will build its Natrium plant in Kemmerer, a southwestern Wyoming city of 2,600 where the coal-fired Naughton power plant operated by PacifiCorp subsidiary Rocky Mountain Power is set to close in 2025.
Kemmerer, located about 130 miles (210 kilometers) northeast of Salt Lake City, is a destination for fossil enthusiasts at nearby Fossil Butte National Monument and privately owned fossil quarries.

The project will employ as many as 2,000 people during construction and 250 once operational in a state where the coal industry has been shedding jobs.

Proponents of the project featuring a sodium-cooled fast reactor and molten salt energy storage say it would perform better, be safer and cost less than traditional nuclear power.

If it’s as reliable as conventional nuclear power, the 345-megawatt plant would produce enough climate-friendly power to serve about 250,000 homes.

The high heat-transfer properties of sodium will allow the Natrium plant to be air-cooled. That will enable the plant to be quickly shut down in case of an emergency, and the absence of emergency generators and pumps will save on costs, Levesque said.

“The use of liquid sodium has many problems. It’s a very volatile material that can catch fire if it’s exposed to air or water,”

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#399 2021-11-18 20:34:03

tahanson43206
Moderator
Registered: 2018-04-27
Posts: 11,368

Re: Nuclear power is safe

From OilPrice.com

https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/tiny … 00916.html

NuScale plans to have their first module operational by 2029 with the remaining Idaho units on line the following year. In addition to power generation, these reactors can be used for district heating, desalination, and other process heat applications. The company's website stated they would be “ready to provide modules to clients by 2027.” Like their competitors in the UK they are aggressively targeting international clients hoping to develop a substantial export business.

It’s difficult to gauge the appetite for new nuclear power generating facilities. Huge cost overruns have made a mockery of nuclear technology’s initial promise—too cheap to meter. Instead, it’s become too expensive to matter. But NuScale is offering nuclear power at a relatively affordable price, rapid construction, and passive safety features. This is not a “Power Point Reactor” as some have disparagingly referred to designs that are years if not decades away. If there is a demand for new base load nuclear NuScale certainly appears to lead the pack. But we might have to wait eight years to find out.

By Leonard Hyman and Bill Tilles for Oilprice.com

This article compares and contrasts the Natrium design and the NuScale design.

NuScale comes off sounding safer and potentially less expensive.

(th)

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#400 2021-11-18 20:59:10

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 26,353

Re: Nuclear power is safe

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NuScale_Power

https://www.nuscalepower.com/

https://www.fluor.com/projects/nuscale- … or-nuclear

small modular reactor (SMR) we have talked about as built and assembled in factories, then transported to the site for final installation.

Our SMR technology, the NuScale Power Module™, generates 77 megawatts of electricity (MWe), resulting in a total gross output of 924 MWe for our flagship 12-module power plant. We also offer smaller power plant solutions in four-module (308 MWe) and six-module (462 MWe) configurations, though others will be possible. With an array of flexible power options, NuScale is poised to meet the diverse energy needs of customers across the world.

reactor-module.ashx?w=700&rev=04ad8bf0af854cd6954ed316482371fc&hash=22CACDF4C03C77B924385AE34746CDF6

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