[ RadSafe ] [NucNews] Which nuclear technology has future?

George Stanford 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 
reasons (see 
<http://skirsch.com/politics/ifr/O'Leary%20Problems.pdf>).  Japan's 
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 
>academic exercise!
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.
      --  George

  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.

      --  George


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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