A new age in nuclear power? - Page 2 - Miata Turbo Forum - Boost cars, acquire cats.

Welcome to Miataturbo.net   Members
 


Current Events, News, Politics Keep the politics here.

Reply
 
 
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 08-31-2010, 08:08 PM   #21
Elite Member
iTrader: (11)
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 2,982
Total Cats: 10
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Braineack View Post
i DO NOT want the government involved, the market should evolve naturally.
The problem with this is that people are stupid and greedy. I'm not saying that the government doesn't do it's fair share of stupid things, or that every private individual will sell nuclear material to terrorists. It's just not worth the risk.

Government involvement will mean less chance of a couple of greedy individuals selling nuclear equipment and fuel to the highest bidder. The gov. won't cut corners on security to cut costs. The military will be used as a line of defense.

Greedy stupid people + evil stupid people = not good

I'm PRO nuclear. Let the building of reactors begin.
miatauser884 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2010, 09:07 PM   #22
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Round Pond, ME
Posts: 711
Total Cats: 18
Default

Another subject dear to my heart

I was a cost engineer for the AE/CM on WPPSS(pronounced "whoops," even before the irony became clear) Units 3 & 5 back in the early 80's. It's often called "the last of the big nukes," since there haven't been any more US projects started since ours was ****-canned. To say the whole thing was a cluster-**** is like saying the Atlantic is tending toward damp. There are plenty of folks to blame - I'm sure I have a share. But what totalled the project was the cost. And the cost. Plus the cost.

Did I mention the cost?

Built to current(then and now - post-TMI and Mt St Helens and Northridge) safety standards the cost was roughly $6 Billion per reactor in 1980 dollars. I don't know what that is in today's dollars - $15 B perhaps?

When the project finally tanked for lack of funding, the investors all took a serious corn-holing(my current boss lost $50K on bonds), and the local economy took an enormous hit as well. The project failure was estimated at the time to cost Greater Seattle something like 50,000 jobs, permanently.

Now figure out how you're going to re-coup a $15 Billion investment over a projected 30-year life cycle, while repaying investors interest at an alarming rate, since nuclear power has such a ferociously bad ROI history(to say nothing of bad PR due to media hysterics), and you realize that fossil-fuel looks like a more promising business model.

I thought the article sounded interesting, if a little hyperbolic. But thorium is still nuclear, and in the US at least nuclear is still(ta-daa!)radioactive.

To make this really go forward, you need an organization that can pour billions of bucks down a black hole, with only a vague promise of success and little hope of a payback. Sounds like the gubmint to me.

Can you say deficit?
I knew you could.
xturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2010, 10:20 PM   #23
Elite Member
iTrader: (21)
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 5,686
Total Cats: 559
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Back when nuclear power was first being talked about, it was supposed to be "Too cheap to meter" (Lewis L. Strauss, chairman U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, September 16, 1954)

Trouble is, I think ole' Louey was only looking at the technical aspect of the problem, and not the political one. What if nuclear reactors in the 250-500MWe range were built in a mass-production environment and type certified rather than site certified? My guess is that while electrical power might still merit metering, the end-user cost would be a fraction of what it is today. And that doesn't even account for the secondary and tertiary costs of not having nuclear power; environmental impact from fossil fuels (and the money spent on it), dependence on foreign energy supplies (and the costs, both direct and military of that), R&D spent on blue-sky renewables that will never be economically viable, etc.

And there you have given your own reasoned answer why it will not happen. It all comes down to money, and the bilking of the sheeple.

If somone (in this case the utilities) can't make loads of money, it's done. The pols who are in the pockets of the utilities will block it, citing the typical scare tactics. They don't want to solve the problems, just make it look like they are trying. The "problems" are their business, and the excuse to tax and spend.
rleete is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-31-2010, 10:23 PM   #24
Boost Pope
Thread Starter
iTrader: (8)
 
Joe Perez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Delicious and Moist.
Posts: 26,324
Total Cats: 1,922
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by xturner View Post
Did I mention the cost?
Ask yourself why the cost is so high?

Let me give you an example. When you want to buy a new car, does Mazda send a crew of assemblers and a pile of materials to your house to build the car in your driveway? No. They have a factory where they build a bunch of cars all the same, and then ship them to people.

And does the NHTSA come out to your house, take your car, and crash it into a barrier in a few different ways to make sure it's safe? No, they did that already, to a representative sample of cars that came of the same line as yours, and validated the model as safe.


Repeat for commercial aircraft, tilt-up buildings, surgical instruments, pharmaceutical products, MRI machines, construction machinery, locomotives, naval boilers, etc.



The reason that nukes are so bloody expensive goes directly to the methods used to build and certify them. Let Westinghouse and B&W come up with a couple of small, modular reactor designs that can be factory-built, type certified, shipped complete and deployed in clusters. Build 'em all under one roof, with one set of tooling, one QA department, stick 'em in a box, ship 'em to the site, bolt 'em together and off you go. Oversee the processes, validate each unit during and after deployment, but keep it reasonable.

It's gotta be more cost effective to do all the welding, fitting, x-raying, etc under a factory roof in a central location than to go on-site and do it all there every single time.
Joe Perez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 12:13 AM   #25
Elite Member
iTrader: (9)
 
TurboTim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chesterfield, NJ
Posts: 6,485
Total Cats: 248
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
Lol, please tell me you already knew that? Grinding them should be done with a mask on....
Nah didn't know that and I don't always use my P100 mask when welding. I got some of the other type of electrodes today.
TurboTim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 02:04 AM   #26
Boost Pope
Thread Starter
iTrader: (8)
 
Joe Perez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Delicious and Moist.
Posts: 26,324
Total Cats: 1,922
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboTim View Post
I got some of the other type of electrodes today.
The ceriated ones (with the orange band?)



Did a bit of googling earlier, and it seems that Babcock & Wilcox have already stolen my idea about pre-fab modular reactors. Every single damn time I think I've come up with something cool...
The B&W mPower reactor, with its scalable, modular design, has the capacity to provide 125 MWe to 750 MWe or more for a 4.5-year operating cycle without refueling, and is designed to produce clean, near-zero emission operations.

A single B&W mPower™ nuclear reactor module inside its own independent, underground containment.




Four B&W mPower™ nuclear reactors configured as a 500 megawatt nuclear power plant.




Figures that it'd be a ******* BWR design. Freaky little bottom-loaders...
Joe Perez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 08:56 AM   #27
Elite Member
iTrader: (9)
 
TurboTim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chesterfield, NJ
Posts: 6,485
Total Cats: 248
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
The ceriated ones (with the orange band?)
Nah I went with the 1.5% Lanthanated type after reading a page on Miller's site. Something about the ceriated style not being as good as lanthanated at the current I weld manifolds.
TurboTim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 12:13 PM   #28
Senior Member
iTrader: (14)
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Tinley Park, IL
Posts: 1,488
Total Cats: 0
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post
Let Westinghouse and B&W come up with a couple of small, modular reactor designs that can be factory-built, type certified, shipped complete and deployed in clusters. Build 'em all under one roof, with one set of tooling, one QA department, stick 'em in a box, ship 'em to the site, bolt 'em together and off you go. Oversee the processes, validate each unit during and after deployment, but keep it reasonable.
This makes absolutely too much sense so it probably will not happen. Plus it's entirely too simple and the government wont approve because it's not complicated enough for them to be able to skim off the top.
lordrigamus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 12:16 PM   #29
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Round Pond, ME
Posts: 711
Total Cats: 18
Default

The B & W design sounds interesting. So does this one:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1...ina&topic_set=

I think that the local political/PR problems are likely a deal-breaker. I occasionally had to cross anti-nuke picket lines to get to work - remember, "Nuclear power is thalidomide forever!"

While the old-fashioned actual design and construction methods were really expensive, it was the evolutionary nature of NRC regs that really were the killers. With TMI, our Unit 3 went from 70% complete to 30% practically overnight - double redundancy in safety and control systems had to become triple redundancy, for example - after they were completed. Then Mt St Helens erupted, and knocked us back another 5 or 8% - do you have volcanic ashfall abrasion factored into safety-related cooling systems..... Then, what accommodations have been made to deal with a commercial aircraft strike(20 years before 9/11). The **** goes on and on. We went from a 1982 on-line projection to 1988.

No matter how ingenious your engineering, a stupid and fearful public working through feckless politicians can kill any progress.
xturner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 01:29 PM   #30
Boost Pope
Thread Starter
iTrader: (8)
 
Joe Perez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Delicious and Moist.
Posts: 26,324
Total Cats: 1,922
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by xturner View Post
The B & W design sounds interesting. So does this one:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1...ina&topic_set=
Yeah, helium-cooled pebble bed reactors have been around for quite a while. They're just about 100% passively safe, have a perfect operational record, and nearly a 100% availability factor as the pebbles are constantly rotated through the core so that it never, ever needs to be shut down for refueling.

There are actually a bunch of really cool designs out there. The CANDU is another. It uses heavy water, and splits the core into hundreds of individual channels rather than one big pot, and is basically the peanut-oil engine of nukes- it'll run on damned near anything- unenriched uranium, spent uranium fuel from other reactors, plutonium from decommissioned bombs, etc. IOW, it actually consumes nuclear waste.


Still, I'd be willing to settle for an advanced enriched PWR or BWR design. They're conventional enough for the NRC to wrap its head around, we have the manufacturing capability to churn 'em out en masse, and their operating characteristics are well known, so the learning curve will be shorter.
Joe Perez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 02:03 PM   #31
Elite Member
iTrader: (9)
 
TurboTim's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Chesterfield, NJ
Posts: 6,485
Total Cats: 248
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by xturner View Post
The B & W design sounds interesting. So does this one:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1...ina&topic_set=
Article is from 2004.
"Wu and his backers aim to have a full-scale 200-megawatt version of HTR-10 by the end of the decade"

I wonder how this chinese pebble reactor idea turned out?
TurboTim is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 05:18 PM   #32
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Burlington, VT
Posts: 419
Total Cats: 0
Default

I'm pro-nuke, as long as it is illegal for a for-profit company to manage the plant.

In VT, we have a nuke plant that is past the end of it's design life time. So the local utility sold it to Entergy. Entergy buys past end of life nuke plants and then files to extend their operating permit and to run them at 130% of the original design capacity.

This is probably ok, given that these plants are heavily over engineered. It's the other project motives that are a tad scary. They also filed to distribute as a dividend all the money they were required to put aside for storage of spent fuel as well as the money they were required to put aside for decommissioning the plant.

Bottom line, if a company is for profit, it will always make profit based decisions, not safety based decisions. The risks of failure are small with a well operated plant, but if the profit motivation is strong enough, you can screw up the best engineered plant!
jbresee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-01-2010, 05:55 PM   #33
Elite Member
iTrader: (2)
 
fooger03's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Columbus, OH
Posts: 4,132
Total Cats: 187
Default

what are the alternatives to 'for-profit' ownership? I'm certainly not going to step aside and let the government run these, and there is no such thing as a "non-profit" organization which has a product to sell...every 'employee' of a non-profit organization is going to make decisions based on how much it's going to increase THEIR salary.

Before you know it, these non-profit nuke plants will be run by unions. Unions are ALWAYS "for profit"
fooger03 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2010, 01:44 PM   #34
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,454
Total Cats: 80
Default

Remember there is nothing wrong with "for profit" as long as the gov't doesn't step in, play favorites by writing certain laws, effectively starting yet another protection racket, so that real free market competition can exist.

Last edited by JasonC SBB; 09-02-2010 at 02:08 PM.
JasonC SBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2010, 01:52 PM   #35
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Burlington, VT
Posts: 419
Total Cats: 0
Default

Great question fooger!

In general, I'm opposed to the government being involved in most things. Nuke power may be the place to make an exception.

The military has managed to operate many nuke plants with a (relatively) clean record for many years. They also have the ability to acquire the budget necessary to follow the required processes.

The problem with profit based companies is the it is the fiduciary responsibility of the board of directors to maximize shareholder value. If they fail to do this, they get sued.
Maximizing shareholder value eventually will conflict with safety. It always does.

If you want an interesting example of this in practice, look at the business case for the Alaska oil pipeline. The environmentalists were opposed to this pipeline because they feared a spill was probable. They were wrong, at least at first. As long as the oil fields were producing, BP conducted adequate maintenance on the pipeline and they had very little trouble with leaking oil. Turn the clock forward to the last 5 years, and you'll see that there have been several serious leaks in the Alaska pipeline. Why? Because BP stopped maintaining it as the oil fields passed their peak production levels. It no longer maximizes shareholder value to invest in the pipeline given the rate of oil production decline. So they stopped running the pig down the pipe to clear it out over 3 years ago, and they've virtually stopped all upgrade and maintenance efforts. And now it bursts on a regular basis. The profit motive is too strong, you can't give someone a nuke plant and tell them the most important thing is to generate profit.
jbresee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2010, 02:10 PM   #36
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,454
Total Cats: 80
Default

Solution is to jail execs who knowingly cut corners and cause spills.
No conflict with the free market there.
JasonC SBB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2010, 03:10 PM   #37
Elite Member
iTrader: (12)
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Hermosa Beach, CA
Posts: 2,575
Total Cats: 11
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Perez View Post

Chernobyl didn't help either. That one genuinely was a catastrophe, and again, mostly the fault of poor reactor design.




.



Not really, it was 100% human error. They were stress testing the reactor, and ignored mutiple warnings from it. Furthermore, they prevented it from shutting itself down more than once.

It was stupid that it ever happened.

go nuke power.
cardriverx is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-02-2010, 05:30 PM   #38
Boost Pope
Thread Starter
iTrader: (8)
 
Joe Perez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Delicious and Moist.
Posts: 26,324
Total Cats: 1,922
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbresee View Post
I'm pro-nuke, as long as it is illegal for a for-profit company to manage the plant.
I have mixed feelings here as well.

True, the Navy has an excellent track record of managing their nukes, and they certainly have more reactors, operated under more stressful conditions, and run by better trained engineers and operators, than the private energy sector.

OTOH, I don't like the general idea of the Fed owning things.

There's a part of me that wants to believe that private owners would be motivated by the knowledge that if another TMI were to happen, it would set the whole process back another 30 years, if it didn't kill it outright. But then there's another part of me that knows first-hand how large corps work, and sees that this has already happened many times in the petroleum business.



Quote:
Originally Posted by cardriverx View Post
Not really, it was 100% human error.
It wasn't 100% anything. Like most great industrial catastrophes, it was a comedy of many errors.

And it wasn't a stress test, it was a coast-down test. IOW, they wanted to see if the inertia of the turbine could provide enough power to hold up the control systems until the gennys came on in the event of a trip concurrent with a loss of offsite power.

So, contributing factors:

The operators at the panel during the test weren't fully briefed or trained on the specifics of the test. Cause: The test was delayed due to a request from the grid controllers, since another plant experienced an unscheduled outage. As a result, the operators who had been fully trained were off-shift by the time the test happened.

During the lead-in to the test, the operators brought the reactor down into an operating region where it was relatively unstable. This could be considered operator error, but the reality is that the RBMK reactors in general are wickedly unstable at very low power outputs.

However:

The RBMKs have a positive void coefficient. This means that as coolant in the core boils to steam, reactivity goes UP, not down. So once the reactor starts to overheat, it very rapidly accelerates towards meltdown all by itself. All western reactors have negative void coefficients. This is 100% design engineering stupidity.

The control rods had large graphite tips which displaced coolant without absorbing neutrons as they were inserted. So a SCRAM (or any rod insertion) actually causes power to very briefly increase before decreasing, due to the aforementioned positive void coefficient. This is bad engineering.

There was no containment building. None. Just a flimsy metal shed to keep the rain out. Bad engineering.

The moderator was made of graphite. Graphite is flammable as hell, to the point of being explosive under the right conditions. Questionable engineering, given the other conditions surrounding the design.
Joe Perez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2010, 01:52 AM   #39
Senior Member
iTrader: (3)
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Port Orchard, WA
Posts: 620
Total Cats: 4
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonC SBB View Post
Solution is to jail execs who knowingly cut corners and cause spills.
No conflict with the free market there.
The problem there is you're policing it AFTER there's been a disaster... which in the case of nukes could have fairly grave consequences.

I'm all for nuke power, just very torn on who best to run it.
Rennkafer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-03-2010, 02:11 AM   #40
Elite Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 6,454
Total Cats: 80
Default

It's a deterrent.
JasonC SBB is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Project Gemini - Turbo Civic on the Cheap Full_Tilt_Boogie Build Threads 58 12-13-2017 10:04 PM
Back to Stock Part Out!! Turbo Parts, MS2 Enhanced 01-05, Suspension, and MOAR! StratoBlue1109 Miata parts for sale/trade 16 10-02-2015 10:39 AM
Nuke Mars! Joe Perez Current Events, News, Politics 8 09-30-2015 05:41 PM
WTB 90-97 miata low profile headlight kit DonPlatt WTB 0 09-25-2015 03:57 AM


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 01:54 PM.