The role of nuclear power in a low carbon future

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Given the period within which the first two units were constructed, one would think they would have had a better handle on cost estimates, but then you look at the Bruce units and you realize this was an industry-wide issue. Were we really that daft or was the idea to pitch a low price to get things rolling and then once the project was in motion and the real cost came out, the project was too far along to pull out of? If I was a cynic, I'd be inclined toward the latter ;)
This is actually what is going on for all large project these days in developed nations. Opposition, environmental studies, financing, delay half way into projects, inflation, etc. It is pretty much expected in most large infra project that you are better paying as you go for variable cost and don't bother building infrastructures anymore (i.e. toll road, flying planes instead of passenger rails, spend more money on SUVs and fuels instead of fixing potholes, fixer upper instead of teardown and rebuild).
 
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I have not read all of the replies here but........has any one brought up Thorium.From my limited laymans research it is a a much better fuel than Uranium.A half life comparable to the age of the universe.....no waste.I think a pebble bed thorium reactor would be basically endless energy production.Just replace moving parts as they wear out.India and a few other countries have constructed reactors already.Here in North America we seem wedded to the Uranium industrial complex.This would seem to be a better alternative.
 
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This is actually what is going on for all large project these days in developed nations. Opposition, environmental studies, financing, delay half way into projects, inflation, etc. It is pretty much expected in most large infra project that you are better paying as you go for variable cost and don't bother building infrastructures anymore (i.e. toll road, flying planes instead of passenger rails, spend more money on SUVs and fuels instead of fixing potholes, fixer upper instead of teardown and rebuild).
Yes, these are first world problems. We’ve lost our pride in getting projects done. What we need are a few more incidents where the lights go out before the proper attention is paid to the issues. Millions of people in India would love to have electricity.
 
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Yes, these are first world problems. We’ve lost our pride in getting projects done. What we need are a few more incidents where the lights go out before the proper attention is paid to the issues. Millions of people in India would love to have electricity.
I wouldn't call it "lost our pride", but it is always more expensive to keep everyone happy than to just dig up the habitats of an endangered frog and hire thugs to kick out squatters. It just means there's a cost to our quality of live.
 
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I have not read all of the replies here but........has any one brought up Thorium.From my limited laymans research it is a a much better fuel than Uranium.A half life comparable to the age of the universe.....no waste.I think a pebble bed thorium reactor would be basically endless energy production.Just replace moving parts as they wear out.India and a few other countries have constructed reactors already.Here in North America we seem wedded to the Uranium industrial complex.This would seem to be a better alternative.
Yeah we have, the summary of what I heard from OVERKILL and others are:

1) We need to spend money on the research and the risk of being the #1 to market when we already have a good enough Uranium design
2) We need to breed Th into fissile before we can use it, complicating the design.
3) We want to sustain the existing U235 industry instead of letting them starve and die, because Th is liquid fuel instead of solid fuel rod, so no money is in it for the existing industry
4) The weapon industry may want to keep U based design as the priority so in case we need to we can breed warhead, you cannot breed warhead with Th design.

This is why India and China are doing Th, and nobody else in the world is.
 
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So we're trading short term pollution for extremely long term pollution, but the greens never see beyond their nose.

Gates is pushing MSR and MSR like reactors that reduce the amount of waste by 99%

The high energy waste that is produced becomes useful for passive nuclear and degrades to a lower risk in a shorter time than traditional spent fuel.

In the future spent fuel might become a valuable resource to dig back up for reuse.

Out of all the options nuclear is one of the better ones even if it costs more
 

OVERKILL

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I have not read all of the replies here but........has any one brought up Thorium.From my limited laymans research it is a a much better fuel than Uranium.A half life comparable to the age of the universe.....no waste.I think a pebble bed thorium reactor would be basically endless energy production.Just replace moving parts as they wear out.India and a few other countries have constructed reactors already.Here in North America we seem wedded to the Uranium industrial complex.This would seem to be a better alternative.

There's a ton of hype around thorium and a lot of it is mythology.

- A thorium fuel cycle definitely produces waste
- Thorium is more abundant than uranium, that's why there was originally interest in it. There are many places that do not have significant uranium resources. Canada is not one of those places, yet amusingly, we are one of the only countries that has demonstrated a functional thorium fuel cycle, and this is in an existing reactor design (CANDU).
- There is still an obscene amount of uranium. Technically, the supply is likely endless if we include seawater extraction.
- Many 4th gen reactor designs are capable of using existing spent fuel, either directly or as a blend. The CANDU can also do this (See: Qinshan)
- Thorium is not fissile, it is fertile, that means that it needs to be blended with something else to sustain fission. We tested both uranium and plutonium with thorium in the CANDU as a "proof of concept" however, there was no desire to take it beyond proof of concept given our abundance of uranium and, as @PandaBear noted, the existing infrastructure.

That being said, India copied the CANDU after we sold them the Douglas Point design, so they could quite easily put that into practice. However, some of the newer reactor designs (4th gen) will better utilize the fuel elements, resulting in less in the way of waste product.

With existing solid fuel reactor designs, the waste is ridiculously easy to manage. With a liquid or molten fuelled reactor like one that uses salts, the used fuel will be much more difficult to manage, so it will be interesting to see how that's handled. This presents a challenge even if the overall storage period requirement is greatly reduced. The Moltex SSR for example, which is designed to run on spent CANDU fuel, projects the final waste product having a required storage life of 200-300 years (molten salt fuel), so we'll need to figure out how that's handled. Existing fuel bundles are just stacked in casks presently, which works quite well, as a solid has nothing to leak.

"Nuclear twitter" calls the guys that are crazy over thorium the "thorium bros". They pitch it as the universal answer to anything, despite there being no operating thorium fuelled reactors in service. Despite many of the theories, this isn't a conspiracy, it's simply that the uranium fuel cycle is already established and easier.

Personally, I'm more interested in the breeder reactors that Russia is actively constructing to consume existing waste stores than I am in thorium. This is actually a solution to something we are dealing with presently: used fuel. That allows further utilization and reduction in overall volume. I think that's a far more logical pursuit than a thorium fuel cycle for the West at this point.
 
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I don't think Th is the universal answer to everything, but money "almost" is. So far from wikipedia at least I know molten salt reactor has problem dealing with 1, 2, 1.5 pool design that looks like a plumbing mess, and I am wondering what happen to the molten stuff after fission, do they fell out of suspension and clog somewhere? Wonder why don't they put the "liquid Th" fuel inside a rod like the enriched U and then replace them as needed.

Moltex SSR is awesome, I was always wondering why don't they already have something like that.
 
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