[ RadSafe ] [NucNews] Which nuclear technology has future?
gstanford at aya.yale.edu
Mon Jul 2 00:13:19 CDT 2012
Dear Dr. Parthasarathy:
Thanks for your note. It raises some interesting thoughts. I
intersperse some comments below.
At 10:06 PM 7/1/2012, parthasarathy k s wrote:
>Dear Dr Stanford,
>Who will spend money for the developmental efforts? Uranium is
>cheaply available. LWR is not certainly the best; but it is readily
>available. Funding for R & D on newer technologies will have to come
>from the Government. I recall your comments that IFR technology is
>more completely developed compared to the breeders.
GSS: (a) Actually, the IFR IS a breeder -- or else a net burner of
Pu, or an "isobreeder," depending on its loading.
(b) LWRs and IFRs are not competitors, since the IFR runs very nicely
and synergistically at the back end of the LWR cycle. As you say, the
LWR is not now threatened with a uranium shortage -- although uranium
mining is arousing growing opposition from environmentalists. Its
main problems are the accumulation of (4%-5%) used fuel and its
plutonium, and the growing need for enrichment capacity with the
concomitant proliferation worries.
(c) Funding for developmental efforts? The IFR development was
almost complete when it was terminated (in 1994) for non-technical
offer to finance the finishing touches was rejected by the US government.
(d) For a possible source of non-governmental funding, see the
recent story from the UK at <http://snipurl.com/245oafp> (note that
the PRISM is an IFR).
>My friends who are deeply involved in Fast Breeder Reactor
>development (500 MWe capacity) tell me that they will be able to
>sell electricity at a cost comparable to that from Indian PHWRS. In
>India, price of power is by law administered by the Central
>Government. In the case of nuclear power the Atomic Energy Act 1962
>gives Central Government an enabling provision to decide power
>tariff. So talking about the cost of power in India is only an
GSS: (a) If you quiz your friends further, I think you will find
that they see metal-fueled fast reactors (perhaps IFRs) in India's future.
(b) The General Electric Company (actually GEH -- GE-Hitachi) agrees
that IFRs (PRISMs) can compete successfully in the market (even
without a carbon tax), once the licensing pains and the
first-of-a-kind expenses are behind them.
>Will there ever be a breakthrough in technology which may lead to
>power too cheap to meter? It happened in communication technology.
>In the 70s those who do not have a telephone in India will have to
>book a call at a telephone exchange to talk to another subscriber a
>few hundred miles away and wait for his turn. Now there is an
>explosive growth in mobile phone technology. Fifty years ago we did
>not think that we would be able to carry a telephone exchange in our
>pocket.Telephone service between India and USA has almost become too
>cheap to meter!
>Can we expect similar developments in energy production?
GSS: Yes (in my opinion). IFRs extract more than 100 times as much
energy from the uranium ore as LWRs do. "Too cheap to meter," of
course, does not mean "free." Like your telephone example, what it
means is that the fuel will be so cheap that the fixed infrastructure
costs overwhelmingly dominate the calculation, and the cost of
installing and reading meters will not be justified. The customer's
power bill will depend only on the capacity of his
connection. Matter of fact, the keepers of LWR spent fuel will
probably be willing to pay to have the stuff taken off their hands,
and the raw-material cost for IFR fuel will be negative.
From: George Stanford <gstanford at aya.yale.edu>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing
List <radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Sunday, 1 July 2012, 19:10
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] [NucNews] Forest Service Approves Grand
Canyon Uranium Mine Despite 26-year-old Environmental Review
Actually, guys, we could indeed "mine" the DU that we've
already accumulated, as Peter suggests, and we probably will (but it
will take a while to get going). Using the plutonium from used LWR
fuel as the essential catalyst to get started, fast reactors such as
the IFR and its ilk (PRISM, TWR, 4S, etc) can power the world for
centuries on the uranium that's already been mined -- and with no
more uranium enrichment needed, ever.
At 08:17 PM 7/1/2012, Maury wrote:
We need also advocate the early cessation of automobile production ....
On 7/1/2012 8:51 PM, Peter G Cohen wrote:
The continued mining of uranium is a symptom of the profound sickness
of our government and the corporations it serves, well demonstrated
by our preference for death over life. All mining should be stopped
worldwide. We can mine the huge deposits of DU on the premises of
every nuclear plant.
By continuing to mine, we are saying that money is more important
than life, that we don't care about God's Creation, that our own
lives are expendable in the pursuit of money. We prostrate ourselves
before the Golden Calf!
We must DO something! --Peter G Cohen
On Jun 26, 2012, at 11:00 PM, Ellen Thomas wrote:
*Forest Service Approves Grand Canyon Uranium Mine Despite
26-year-old Environmental Review*
June 26, 2012, by the Center for Biological Diversity
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