Jim Hansen on nuclear power

Is nuclear fission going to make a comeback and plug the gap in our energy needs? Will nuclear fusion ever become energetically viable?

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biffvernon
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Post by biffvernon »

stevecook172001 wrote:
Plutonium is precisely the kind of nuclear material that falls between the two stools I mentioned. It does not exist in nature (or at least, it exists in infinitesimally small amounts) because it would have long since decayed to nothing. The only kind of nuclear material we find in nature is far longer lived and so far less radioactive than plutonium. That's the point

On the other hand, very short lived material that would exist after several processing iterations would be far more radioactive than plutonium, but far shorter lived..

for someone who so often chooses to employ the cheap rhetorical tactic of claiming that other posters do not understand how "complex" a given topic is (as you have already done here), your lack of understanding of basic nuclear physics is laughable. Either that, or you just can't help responding Pavlovian-style to any arguments about nuclear power that do not strictly comply with your own a-priori irrationally based conclusions about it.
So maybe we should define just which isotope of plutonium we are talking about before using phrases such as short-lived or long-lived.

There are 15 isotopes of plutonium. Pu233 has a half-life of 20 minutes. Pu244 is 80 million years while Pu239, which features a lot in the nuclear industry, has a half-life of 24000 years. And therein lies one of the many problems. And then there are all the other radioactive elements. Sorry Steve but it really is all a bit complicated.
Little John
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Post by Little John »

biffvernon wrote:
stevecook172001 wrote:
Plutonium is precisely the kind of nuclear material that falls between the two stools I mentioned. It does not exist in nature (or at least, it exists in infinitesimally small amounts) because it would have long since decayed to nothing. The only kind of nuclear material we find in nature is far longer lived and so far less radioactive than plutonium. That's the point

On the other hand, very short lived material that would exist after several processing iterations would be far more radioactive than plutonium, but far shorter lived..

for someone who so often chooses to employ the cheap rhetorical tactic of claiming that other posters do not understand how "complex" a given topic is (as you have already done here), your lack of understanding of basic nuclear physics is laughable. Either that, or you just can't help responding Pavlovian-style to any arguments about nuclear power that do not strictly comply with your own a-priori irrationally based conclusions about it.
So maybe we should define just which isotope of plutonium we are talking about before using phrases such as short-lived or long-lived.

There are 15 isotopes of plutonium. Pu233 has a half-life of 20 minutes. Pu244 is 80 million years while Pu239, which features a lot in the nuclear industry, has a half-life of 24000 years. And therein lies one of the many problems. And then there are all the other radioactive elements. Sorry Steve but it really is all a bit complicated.
I am well aware that plutonium has a number of isotopes. You really are quite tiresomely smug without any foundation whatsoever. Do you actually realize how egotistically fragile this makes you look Biffernon?

Apart from minuscule quantities in the crust, all plutonium is man made. The extremely short lived variety, despite being highly radioactive, is of no long term concern because it is short lived. The relatively long lived variety is of great concern because is is not so long lived as to have a concomitantly low level of radioactivity but is sufficiently long lived to not be able to forget about after burying it given its relatively high level of radioactivity. As I have repeated numerous times, this is precisely the kind of nuclear waste that falls between those two stools I mentioned.

Until you can actually engage like a grown up on this topic, were done B.
Last edited by Little John on Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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clv101
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Post by clv101 »

stevecook172001 wrote:You do realise that presentation is an argument for the feasibility of fast reactors (in particular, the molten salt fast reactor), don't you?
Only technically. There's lot going for them, except that they are more complex and more expensive than the thermal reactors which are already looking too complex and expensive.
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JohnB
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Post by JohnB »

clv101 wrote:There's lot going for them, except that they are more complex and more expensive than the thermal reactors which are already looking too complex and expensive.
Even compared to a power station, and waste storage that no one seems to any sort of long term solution to?
John

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