General Discussion

ATW: The ultimate solution to the nuclear waste problem
timelike01 at 7:38AM, April 2, 2008
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ATW – accelerator transmutation of waste – is a promising technology that I have considerable fascination over. ATW could make possible artifically-induced stablization of radioisotopes within a relatively short timescale. I would definitely call it the technological miracle of the last and current century. Back when I was in college, I interviewed a physicist about the possibility of speeding up radioactive decay. He responded angrily with the insistance that speeding up radioactive decay will always be impossible. Then a few years later – in the mid-1990s – I learned about ATW from an edition of the American Chemical Society's magazine. That particular edition seemed to express the view that ATW is bound to be perfected relatively soon. What a considerable contrast!

Anyway, more ATW info can be found at: http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/pa/science21/ATW.html.
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:30PM
ozoneocean at 8:56AM, April 2, 2008
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One thing I don't get… How much energy does the process take and where does it come from?

I mean, most high level nuclear waste is produced by power generation, isn't it? But presumably, to preform this process, you need more power. And when the whole problem is really the need for more power to start with, and that's the only reason we still contemplate something as dangerous and problematic as nuclear power, it just seems that you're chasing your tail a bit.

Eh, maybe you could do the transmutation with non-polluting solar… Since the process probably doesn't require a constant load like normal commercial power usage, it'd be ideal. That'd bypass the tale chasing.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Product Placement at 2:01PM, April 2, 2008
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You realy should start reading these things to the end Oz.

The process actually produces energy. More then what is required to start the procces to begin with so it's esentially a secondary powerplant using the same fuel. If this could be added to every nuclear plant, the plants would make more power and produce less waste. Talk about win-win.

I read about this few years ago and I'm wery happy to see that it's still on the drawing board. The biggest problem that this project is facing today is that the initial cost of building these treatment centers is wery high but as long as people look towards the fact that what they have is at a solution to what to do with the nuclear waste and the fact that in the long run the money will come back through energy sales then it shouldn't pose that much of a problem.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 2:49PM
ozoneocean at 1:30AM, April 3, 2008
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I did indeed read it, as I ALWAYS do before commenting, but missed this little bit…
Because plutonium releases energy as it is destroyed by fission in the waste burner, the process can power itself. Only a fraction of the energy is needed to supply the ATW system; the rest can be sold to power companies, offsetting ATW development and construction costs.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
bongotezz at 6:39AM, April 3, 2008
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ozoneocean
that's the only reason we still contemplate something as dangerous and problematic as nuclear power, it just seems that you're chasing your tail a bit.


actually nuclear power is safer than mining coal for coal plants.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
ozoneocean at 7:14AM, April 3, 2008
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Not if you get a Chernobyl… :)
Don't be fooled, that can happen anywhere. Accidents in a coal mine might kill at most a hundred or more. Nuclear accidents can kill as many, cause the land for miles around to be unusable for decades, cause birth defects for decades, cause people for thousands of kilometres around to get badly sick, -depending on the winds. ;)
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Insizwa at 8:36AM, April 3, 2008
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The plant in Chernobyl was a dry nuclear plant. Very unsafe to begin with. Nearly every power plant now is a wet nuclear plant which is way more safer though it's still not 100% foolproof. Though I agree that it's way safer than coal mining.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:01PM
ozoneocean at 8:50AM, April 3, 2008
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Insizwa
Though I agree that it's way safer than coal mining.
well I could say that mines with bad accidents tend to be old style shaft mines. Open pit mines are much safer. :)
-and you can and do mine Uranium both ways… just as dangerously lol!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:30PM
Marguati at 9:41AM, April 3, 2008
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Insizwa
The plant in Chernobyl was a dry nuclear plant. Very unsafe to begin with. Nearly every power plant now is a wet nuclear plant which is way more safer though it's still not 100% foolproof. Though I agree that it's way safer than coal mining.

Well, I remember this… the leak led to neither harm nor threat, but it hasn't been the only nuclear ‘accident’ in the last years. As safe as nuclear plants can be, the consequences of a severe accident are just too terrible to take the risk. Just my 2 eurocents, anyway.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:51PM
Product Placement at 2:54PM, April 3, 2008
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The problems with nuclear power plants is that it takes a long time for them to power down. If there's a risk of a meltdown you can't just pull the plug and it goes cold on the spot. It can take hours. Even so, like what happened in chernobyl, a chain reaction could cause the reactor to overload. That is less likely to happen in more modern reactors though. We are currently entering the third generation of nuclear reactor technology. Those reactors are described as passivly safe where the reactors are specificly designed to prevent chain reaction and shuting them down is more automatic than before. They also have on the drawing board what they call forth generation reactors that are more efficient, produce less waste and are suposedly safer than third gen. It's worth note that chernobyl reactors were clasified as second gen.
Those were my two cents.
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This space for rent.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:49PM

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