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So what do you think of nuclear energy???

Post in 'The Green Room' started by Swedishchef, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    MacMaine: I agree with your points, I never said it was perfect. :) BUt it is A LOT better than standard Uranium water cooled systems we have today. If a storm hits and even if there is a leak, a plug forms and shuts the system down. Did you get a chance to watch the video I posted?? It explains the systems fairly well.

    In Canada there has not been much talk about solar development whatsoever. Perhaps there should be...have the prices of PV cells gone down?

    What the heck is this "conventional split systems" or mini-split systems"???

    Andrew

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  2. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Ok. So a heat pump is like an AC in terms of the hardware. You could make an 'all in one' unit that looks like an AC window unit, but it would put out so little heat that it would be useless.

    Instead, the conventional approach is a 'split system' that looks like a central AC system with an outdoor unit with a coil, compressor and fan and an indoor unit, usually in a basement attached to a furnace, or freestanding in an attic, crawspace or closet, which has a air blower, another coil and ducts that distribute the heat. The two units are only connected by copper refrigerant lines that carry the heat between the two 'split' units. IOW, just like a central AC unit, maybe a little bigger coils/ducts.

    A mini-split is the same technology, a bit smaller, with an indoor unit that is usually wall mounted that blows out heat to a single room, w/o any ductwork. Simplifies the installation.

    Mini-splits are v popular in east asia (and europe), and the engineering on them has improved dramatically in the last couple years making them very efficient. Manufacturers are mostly large asian companies. Conventional split systems are made or distributed by the same outfits that sell HVAC in NA....trane, york, rheem, goodman, etc. The difference in consumer preferences is presumably due to size of home....a mini is perfect for a small flat in Tokyo, but a McMansion in Atlanta would like a bigger system with ductwork. Sadly, the American companies are behind the curve engineering wise...their eff lag their asian competitors. But they are starting to catch up.
  3. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    This is an usual thread... thorium reactors and mini-split HVAC systems.
  4. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Mini splits are also far easier to retrofit to existing construction (especially older construction that predates central heat or in areas that don't typically use force air central heat - hence the Europe/Asia popularity) and fit small spaces and open layouts well where you would only need one centrally located indoor unit.

    For me personally if I ever got one it would be a high velocity system where you snake the hoses through walls... just don't like the look of the air handler hanging on the wall.
  5. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    I want a mini split thorium reactor >>
  6. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    ME TOO!

    Thanks for the info Woodgeek. I didn't know the name of those setups, they have them around here in various places. Mostly the mini splits. Is it possible that a very popular company that makes these would be Misubishi?

    thorium mini-split system has been added to my Christmas list.

    Andrew
  7. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    Indeed. I am no expert on minis, but Mitsu, Sanyo, LG, etc are all in it.

    A nice feature is that some have a continuous throttle, allowing them to give good dehumification in AC mode, useful for a machine thast is sized for a winter (heating) load that is much larger than the summer (cooling) load. My single speed conventional system is just adequate on dehumidification.

    And dude, they're U233 reactors, they just make the U out of thorium!
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Several of the mini-split mfgs also make splits that have a central air handler or package. With this type of installation all you will see indoors are the registers. But so far the most efficient units seem to be the true mini-splits. We almost installed a Sanyo unit of this design, but we would have been one of the first in Western WA and I was unsure about support. Little did I know how quickly the mini-split market would take off here.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Mr Fusion!
    Dunragit likes this.
  10. hemlock

    hemlock Feeling the Heat

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    CANDU reactors use non-enriched Uranium. If you lose the moderator (heavy water in the reactor), the reaction stops. The heavy water is used to slow the neutrons to enable the reaction to occur. This, along with several other emergency shut down systems (and their redundancies) make CANDU the safest reactor going - the most expensive, but the best.
    Nuclear is the only viable option on the table for a sustainable energy source.
  11. pdf27

    pdf27 Member

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    I'd have to check CANDU specifically, but in many reactors removing the moderator/inserting the control rods doesn't actually stop heat production or even reduce it by all that much for the first hour or two - the very short lived decay products are the source of much of the heat, giving you at least enough to melt the core.
    Personally I quite like the UK design of gas-cooled reactor, or rather the concept of it. The implementation was utterly screwed up however and nobody else has adopted them so PWR is the way to go in future :(
  12. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    If it's not cheaper it's not going to work. People didn't dig for coal until they ran out of wood.
  13. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Actually they used it loooong before that. 3-4,000 yrs ago in Wales it was used for funeral pyres and according to Wikipedia it's mentioned in the bible at the time of Solomon. People knew about it, but didn't use it as a fuel because it stunk when burned.
  14. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Surface sources don't count. The act of digging hundreds of feet into the earth for a fuel source is an act of desperation. So are solar panels and windmills. The steam engine came from a need to pump water out of coal mines and transformed the earth, brought us the industrial revolution, surplus food and the weekend, all by accident due to a lack of wood.

    We will need a revolutionary energy source to get us past where we are at, otherwise the economy will not grow. Oil is never going to run out, but we will never find sufficient reserves to push our living standards higher. Nuclear can be that source, and its safer than any other source of power. Problem I see is there isn't a lot of money to be made in $.000002/kwh electrical rates.
  15. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Hey, we were promised power so cheap we wouldn't need meters (I'm almost old enough to remember...) Now I'm mad. I even went to Hanford to see what I could do about it, but I couldn't make it happen.;lol

    I now have dwindling hopes for fission. It can be safe. It could be made a lot cheaper. But, don't underestimate the public perception, the "not in my back yard" problem but mostly the waste issue. It's a huge problem. Having seen the ugly side of fission at Hanford, I'm pretty disenchanted.

    Now, fusion is a fascinating project and should continue. (Incidentally, successful fusion reactors could solve the whole fission waste issue. They could be an ideal transmutation device. Poof, actinides gone). Don't hold your breath, though. It's so far off...
  16. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    Related to Hanford: I saw a documentary once about folks living downwind of Hanford in a very rural area....they all thought thyroid cancer was just a normal part of life...and then death.
  17. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Don't get me started. I grew up in Spokane in the 50's and 60's and it was quite controversial. Spokane was usually not exactly downwind, but we got a lot of our milk from dairies that were and cows ingested I-131 by the ton. I-131 releases were minimized by the government because making WGPu (weapon grade) was considered a national security priority, and causing a little thyroid cancer in the general public wasn't about to stop that. The whole thing stunk. The story of Hanford and the technical aspects of the whole Project is fascinating, but it sure has a dark side.
  18. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I agree btuser: the "not in my backyard" syndrome is a problem. It even is with oil! Who wants an oil well dug within 2 miles of their house? Not many people, that's for sure. It's ok as long as it's not in my view or my backyard.

    Check out these pictures of the Alberta oilsands. http://images.workabove.com/-/galleries/oil-sands-images/industry Most of the oil imported by the US comes from there...

    There's no perfect solution, simply a difference on opinion of the best solution.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    It still is controversial. The holding tanks have leaked at times into the Columbia. Study after study is done, then emergency remediation, then more more kick the can down the road because of the huge costs involved. WA state has had to sue the Fed to get this moving. It is now, yet both technical and financial problems remain.

    http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2014001657_hanford23m.html
    http://www.hanford.gov/page.cfm/HanfordCleanup
  20. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I spent the 90's there and saw little (real) progress. I don't know if it will ever go away (cynical remark). The cleanup issue is separate from the downwinder thing (and with more long-term implications), but it all goes to the fact that the "prize" of Pu production way trumped any environmental considerations (if there were any at all). The Cleanup sure has pumped up the local economy, though!>>
  21. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I didn't want to come off as being completely anti-nuc power. I still think that, as Rick (fossil) pointed out, you darn well can make a safe nuc plant (and the Navy does know how, at least small ones) . Certainly the industry has learned from past mistakes, as tragic as some were, and the problems are not completely insurmountable IMO. But there is a lot to do about the waste problem, and we're just not there yet.
  22. Ehouse

    Ehouse Minister of Fire

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    You (we) darn well can, but we darn well won't. The cover up, fudge inspection, outsource safety ( and accountability, see Woodgeek's chilling [to me] anecdote above), collateral damage, kick the can down the road paradigm is the law of the land, and until we change that, the concentration and centralization of any large scale energy production is a disaster waiting to happen.

    Ehouse
  23. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    The bottom line as I stated when the thread started is the issue of dealing with the spent fuel from a fission reactor. I haven't yet read of a practical, working long term (for many millenia) solution. In the meantime just the US is creating 2000 metric tons of the stuff a year. I think we need to move on and put our focus on fusion.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/a...waste-lethal-trash-or-renewable-energy-source
    raybonz likes this.
  24. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

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    I thought the dry cask approach had a lot of promise. The casks need just passive air circulation for a couple centuries to stay cool, but then can go to a geologic repository. High level waste only. The volume to be stored is a few hundred m^3 (say a few hundred refrigerator-sized casks) per year for the US N-plant fleet.
  25. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Dry cask seems to be the way things are leaning right now, at least for the interim. They've got to get that stuff out of the pools as soon as possible. What to do with them afterwards is still a problem. It's still controversial whether it's best to put it in geological vaults like Yucca or keep them on surface (for a while), but it is clear that no proposal is perfect or foolproof.

    The dry casks now being built to receive stuff from the pools are probably only good for 50-100 years depending on who you talk to. Not to say they couldn't be built better, of course.

    I kind of like the idea of injecting the stuff into subduction zones, myself. Somehow I think that may be a bit impractical at this point...

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