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Wed Mar 11, 2020, 12:21 PM

The countries building miniature nuclear reactors

Small-scale nuclear reactors are starting to be developed around the world. Proponents say they are a safer and cheaper form of nuclear power. But will they keep up with renewables?


Proponents say the time is ripe for this new wave of nuclear reactors for several reasons. First, they maintain that if the global community has any hope of slashing CO2 emissions by mid-century, new nuclear technologies must be in the mix. Second, traditional nuclear power is beset with problems. Many existing plants are ageing, and new nuclear power construction is plagued by substantial delays and huge cost overruns; large-scale nuclear power plants can cost more than $10bn (7.6bn). Finally, advocates say that as supplies of renewable energy grow, small modular reactors can better handle the variable nature of wind and solar power as SMRs are easier to turn on and leave running.



Once you are committed to nuclear power you don't really need renewable energy.

Small mass-produced nuclear power plants might be a better alternative to wind energy which requires a substantial commitment to nimble natural gas power plants, hydro, and other sources of back-up power with hugely damaging environmental footprints.

Without very substantial fossil fuel inputs so-called renewable energy schemes cannot support the high energy industrial consumer economy many affluent people now enjoy.

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Arrow 7 replies Author Time Post
Reply The countries building miniature nuclear reactors (Original post)
hunter Mar 11 OP
Miguelito Loveless Mar 11 #1
rampartc Mar 11 #2
hunter Mar 11 #5
rampartc Mar 11 #7
CentralMass Mar 11 #3
abqtommy Mar 11 #4
hunter Mar 11 #6

Response to hunter (Original post)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 12:32 PM

1. Renewable energy sources

are only ones where fuel comes to you. Does not require mining, drilling and refining/enrichment.

Nuclear is too expensive and too slow to build, and I am still waiting for an explanation as to who will watch (and pay for) waste storage for multiple times the existence of human civilization.

I am using fusion power right now. It is delivered over 93 million miles in 8 minutes. Yesterday it generated 80kWh at my house, powering my home and my car, with the excess being used by my neighbors.

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Response to hunter (Original post)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 12:35 PM

2. every neighborhood could be a mini chernobyl

and nuclear waste still takes a few years to become safe (PU239 is like 24,000 years and some are much longer). we really don't know what to do with the waste we already have.

may as well dilute the skill levels of the operators and disperse the vulnerability to sabotage and terrorism.

other than that, i'mm all for it.

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Response to rampartc (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 04:42 PM

5. Many components of fracked natural gas waste have a half life of forever.

Not enough care is taken to insure these toxic wastes are kept out of fresh water supplies.

The volume of these toxic wastes far exceeds the volume of nuclear waste, especially in comparison to the amount of energy generated. That's enough reason to reject natural gas even if we disregard the dangers of greenhouse gasses.

There is enough natural gas in the ground to destroy the world's environment as we know it. It's best we leave it in the ground.

The problem with wind and solar power is that the wind doesn't always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine.

Currently the only economical solution is to burn fossil fuels to pick up the slack. (Giant pumped hydro projects are another possibility but those too have their own very damaging environmental footprints.)

We have to examine the entire energy mix. Even if an economy is getting sixty percent of its energy from wind and solar (which no modern economy has achieved) fossil fuels are still far, far worse than nuclear power, even considering occasional accidents.

Small nuclear power reactors would undoubtedly be clustered, sharing security and operators. One major advantage is that small nuclear reactors could be mass-produced and delivered on site in a way that one-off multi-gigawatt plants with huge reactor vessels cannot be.

The solution to the greenhouse gas problem is to ban fossil fuels on some reasonable time scale and see how it all shakes out. Some cultures will accept nuclear power, others won't. Even those that don't will probably be unwilling to live in societies that reject all the benefits of high energy industrial economies. They'll import goods and synthetic fuels manufactured with nuclear power.

If we continue to use fossil fuels the first world civilization in human history will inevitably collapse. Our world economy, which everyone reading democraticunderground participates in, is a very brittle thing.

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Response to hunter (Reply #5)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 04:48 PM

7. fracked natural gas is, predominantly, flared off

eliminating the step of being useful.

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Response to hunter (Original post)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 12:58 PM

3. I hope that they have thought about security for these sites.

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Response to hunter (Original post)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 01:49 PM

4. Sounds to me like somebody's wanting to sell these miniature nuclear reactors...

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Response to abqtommy (Reply #4)

Wed Mar 11, 2020, 04:43 PM

6. Beats selling fossil fuels...

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