DailyDirt: Next-Generation Fission Energy?

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Petroleum prices are relatively low right now, but there are no guarantees that the price of oil will remain low for very long. Progress on biofuels and fusion aren’t great bets for the impatient, but there’s an existing energy source with some serious growth potential: nuclear fission. Okay, we’ve been talking about advances in nuclear energy for a while, too, but the barriers are mostly economic/regulatory, not in the engineering or science.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Next-Generation Fission Energy?”

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Glenn says:

Well, we can either keep consuming the planet till there’s no livable planet left, or we can implement current and next gen nuclear power. All of our existing plants are several generations back in technology. Our power requirements are not going to decrease… ever. Millions of people already die every year due to fossil fuel burning “tech”, yet–of course–the coal, oil, and natural gas industries successfully lobby against new and safe nuclear tech in spite of its safety and efficiency. So, we’re dying… but at least it’s by our own hand. Good on us!

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You mean fission. Fusion is PERFECT for powering things that frequently are involved in accidents, because unlike in the movies, when you lose cooling, fusion simply quits; when you lose containment, fusion just quits; if you accidentally feed too much fuel, fusion simply quits; if you breech the core, fusion just quits. It’s FREAKING HARD to keep fusion going! Which is good for those times when you don’t want it going… like when it’s spread across six lanes of freeway after an accident. You also don’t have lots of radioactive fuel all over everywhere, which is the problem with fission reactors and vehicles.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Fusion is PERFECT for powering things that frequently are involved in accidents,

As long as it doesn’t involve extremely high temperatures or pressures. But if we had really cheap fusion power it would probably make more sense to use it to extract hydrogen from water and then use that to fuel vehicles. Putting a fusion reactor in a car sounds expensive (Mr. Fusion notwithstanding).

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Well, yes, that’s very true. If your accident involves temperatures AND pressures approaching that of the center of the sun, fusion may still pose a problem. 😉

And yes, DIRECTLY powering a vehicle via fusion probably won’t be for a LONG time (may require room temp superconductors). Much more likely is using fusion power to make electricity to charge battery-powered electric cars, or to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for PERFECTLY CLEAN combustion engines, or fuel cells in electric cars as opposed to batteries.

Anonymous Coward says:

Just want to point out that nuclear waste with the same broadness as household waste or industrial waste. Nuclear waste has some kind of radioactive material in or on it. So the term covers everything including spent nuclear material, the decontamination wipes, used protective equipment, and even the equipment when it’s done working.

The kitty litter thing at WIPP is just so much facepalm caused by someone else. Someone thinking they were doing “the right thing” by going green! and not thinking things through and swapping out inorganic absorbent media (clay based kitty litter) for organic absorbent media (wheat based kitty litter). Yep, clay doesn’t burn and wheat does, so when absorbing something that gets hot with time which brand do you prefer? That’s right. If it doesn’t say Gritty Kitty, IT STINKS!

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