One common and plausible argument against nuclear power is that it is too slow. The evidence offered is recent interminable builds in the US and Europe. But is this inherent in the technology? This post examines the American, French, and Japanese record. It turns out that there is no technical reason why a nuclear plant should require any more time than a coal plant to build. On the other hand, the whole learning curve concept for power plants appears to over-rated. Those who are betting on the learning curve to markedly reduce current exorbitant nuclear costs and endless build times, […]
There is a new book out, The Leak by Robert Crease which describes another screw up of which I was unaware. It is a textbook example of how not to handle a release of radioactive material. This post is brief summary of the incident and some musings on what we should learn from it. The paper assumes a background equivalent to reading Why Nuclear Power has been a Flop.
This is an old but excellent paper on used nuclear fuel. Some good graphics and brings together a bunch of useful calculations. The health hazard numbers are based on LNT which massively over-estimates risk at low dose rates. I disagree with Professor Cohen on the need for deep geologic disposal. We need to keep this valuable fuel where it will be easily accessible for use in breeder reactors.
To avoid further global warming, the consensus is we must get rid of fossil fuel and soon. Given these instructions, an engineer will ask, what does that imply? What am I being asked to replace? This post attempts to answer that question.
This is the first of a three part series entitled An Engineer Looks at Global Warming. Engineers are trained not to take sides. They are trained to understand the problem before proposing a solution. They are trained that in coming up with a solution everything is a trade-off. Every alternative worth investigating will have plusses and minuses, benefits and costs. This training goes against some of our most basic tribal instincts and is not always successful. But it does give an engineer a different perspective than most. Engineers solve problems by asking questions. This series asks three questions about global
A conservationist view of nuclear waste Spent nuclear fuel is a potentially valuable source of electricity, power for deep space probes and pacemakers, and uniquely effective, cancer killing drugs. After a few hundred years, it is no more dangerous than any other highly toxic poison. Only a sinfully wasteful society would treat such a bountiful ore as a disposable nuisance
In a recent Bulletin of Atomic Scientists article, M. V. Ramana has questioned the viability of molten salt reactors. This note is the Gordian Knot Group’s response.
This document describes the GKG (Gordian Knot Group) Grid Model. It is not a user’s manual. Rather it attempts to outline the model’s assumptions and limitations, and serve as a reference to which the GKG analyses based on this model can refer to avoid repeating this description in each of those studies.