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Neil

Reduce your carbon footprint - let the train take the strain

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1 hour ago, Nick C said:

From a technical perspective, that's one of the easiest of the problems to solve - There's a type of reactor called a molten salt reactor, which can use as it's fuel, the low-grade Uranium that's left over as waste from conventional reactors - I'm not sure of the exact details, but it's somehow made into a salt (hence the name), which is kept in a molten state by the power in the reactor, and kept in place by a frozen plug.

 

They have the wonderful property that, in the event of a catastrophic power failure (like at Fukushima), the plug melts, and the contents are dumped into a shallow pool, where it solidifies and becomes safe* - so there's no risk of it going critical. The problem, however, is that they can't be used for enrichment, so most governments aren't particularly interested in building them...

 

* or at least, doesn't contaminate the surrounding area!

I know that depleted uranium and plutonium which are recovered using chemical precipitation processes and reused but there are other 'fission fragments' left over which are highly radioactive and cannot be reused in a reactor or for PIT production. These appear to be the problem. 

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19 hours ago, Baby Deltic said:

I know that depleted uranium and plutonium which are recovered using chemical precipitation processes and reused but there are other 'fission fragments' left over which are highly radioactive and cannot be reused in a reactor or for PIT production. These appear to be the problem. 

 

And many tons of irradiated steel, concrete etc. We have (as do the USA & Russia) quite a few decommissioned nuclear submarines which are awaiting very expensive dismantling - maybe they'll never get dismantled and be entombed like the Chernobyl plant.

 

I'm for the molten salt reactor utilising the low grade nuclear fuel NickC mentioned. Let the Iranians make the enriched stuff !!!!!

 

Brit15

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2 hours ago, APOLLO said:

 

And many tons of irradiated steel, concrete etc. We have (as do the USA & Russia) quite a few decommissioned nuclear submarines which are awaiting very expensive dismantling - maybe they'll never get dismantled and be entombed like the Chernobyl plant.

 

I'm for the molten salt reactor utilising the low grade nuclear fuel NickC mentioned. Let the Iranians make the enriched stuff !!!!!

 

Brit15

The molten salt reactor still has a waste tank from what I understand of them. I think they came about as a result of experiments with Thorium salts. Any time you split Uranium or Plutonium atoms you are going to get a pair of smaller nuclei as which are highly radioactive and useless because of it. That's the price you pay for unleashing that energy. Some uranium atoms can absorb neutrons instead of fissioning (238, not 235) and change into Neptunium then Plutonium which can be used in (I think) fast breeder reactors, or for Plutonium Implosion Trigger production in thermonuclear weapons. Some of the 238 can also be used in these weapons aswell.

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