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Ozark Sage
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Silver
Re: Fukishima Disaster Holds Lessons for Engineers
Ozark Sage   2/8/2012 4:11:34 PM
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MORE:  Other SAFE nuclear technologies ARE available that have NOT EVEN BEEN CONSIDERED.  They can be stopped, started, have been tested for years, DO NOT POLUTE in any way ARE EXTREAMLY cost effective since they are based on nuclear science and other proven qtantum energy discoveries, not using enriched materials. 

Knowing this to be true is difficult as an engineer to condone the continuance of fision designs and their proliferation of dangerous waste materials.  IT IS TIME TO ABANDON 20th CENTURY ENERGY and LIGHT THE FUTURE NEEDS OF MANKIND WITH  21st CENTURY ENERGY SOLUTIONS. 

Ozark Sage
User Rank
Silver
Re: Fukishima Disaster Holds Lessons for Engineers
Ozark Sage   2/8/2012 2:07:29 PM
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Greg There are SEVERAL geothermal systems in operation especially in Texas and other southern states.  I attended a meeting in the early 2003 or 4 that showed the cost savings of the school system using the technology for over a decade to other greater DFW area school districts.  The  SAVINGS were impressive and included very low maintenance cost yeilding TOTAL 10 YEAR SAVINGS over 45% compared with other local districts.   

Stephen Pflanze
User Rank
Iron
Stirling Cycle Powered Cooling Pumps
Stephen Pflanze   9/1/2011 2:13:40 PM
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Why not use Stirling Cycle Engines that would use the waste heat from whatever is being cooled to power the cooling pumps? Then no diesel fuel or external power would be required.

For new plants the passively safe technologies are the way to go. But are there situations where retrofitting existing reactors or cooling ponds with Stirling Cycle Engines would be a safety improvement?

Greg Stirling
User Rank
Platinum
Fukishima Disaster Holds Lessons for Engineers
Greg Stirling   8/31/2011 4:36:18 PM
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I was not aware of those issues in France.  And remember an expert on CNBC referring to Frances's technology as being safe and without incident.  Apparently there was a spin on that reality and I suspect some management, cost cutting or politics behind the single pump degign... 

Greg Stirling
User Rank
Platinum
Fukishima Disaster Holds Lessons for Engineers
Greg Stirling   8/31/2011 4:21:18 PM
NO RATINGS
 

I have to agree, and this is exactly the technology we need to develop, the pebble bed reactor cooled with helium, the molten salt reactor, which make the best use of the technology while doing as much as possible to mitigate the risk, and reduce hazardous by-products.

Seems like if we can 'put a man on the moon', we can make nuclear power safe and reliable...


 

Hubert
User Rank
Iron
Re: fukishima Disaster: will anybody learn from a disaster?
Hubert   8/31/2011 4:38:09 AM
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Learning from disaster is so obvious we think it is anybody's motto. But when money must flow, learning is second, money is first. Here in France, in 1999, we have experienced a quite Fukushima situation, a big NPP relied on only one pump to survive, politics were on the verge to evacuate the Bordeaux town in a hurry. This was hidden from public for years, revealed only years after because an innocent journalist question to a politic triggered the hidden truth. In France, we know now that numerous NPP designs were undersized regarding lots of aspects, our NPPs are aging and we have no money to dismantle, so we keep them running. Around every NPP arise health concerns, traces of tritium are everywhere, I suppose the situation in USA is the same. Ok, nuclear is lower CO2 than coal, but children cancers are increasing year after year, no need too work in a mine to get disease, it breathes to you directly from the NPP. My conclusion is that learning from disaster is “distance” dependant and vanishes rapidly in time with a good public communication lobbying.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
fukishima Disaster: will anybody learn from a disaster?
William K.   8/30/2011 10:05:39 PM
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WE can count up the very obvious fundamental flaws that led to this disaster. And we can be certain that the culture in Japan will assure that disaster will strike again and again, since there is an unwillingness to point out mistakes, as well as to admit to them.

But I can point out that the very first huge mistake was designing and building a system that required outside power to run the cooling system. That is especially dumb considering that the ocean, a natural source of cooling, was right there. All that would have been required would be to build the cooling system low enough to allow gravity feed of cool water. Designing the inner loop to use natural convection would be the other part of the plan. These are the way it should have been, which would have allowed the reactors to keep running. Of course they might have cost a bit more, but they would not have failed because of los of poower. But refusing to point out an error of a manager made certain that nobody ever considered the option.

Lyngengr
User Rank
Iron
Not enough what-ifs were asked
Lyngengr   8/30/2011 7:23:01 PM
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It is interesting to read all the comments regarding the problems at Fukishima.  Keeping in mind the design of these reactors probably predates the birth of most of us, the true take-away from this mess is that not enough "what-ifs" were asked.  For instance, what-if a 40 ft high tidal wave hit these reactors, what would happen?  How about a 50 ft wave?  What about a 100 ft one?  And what-if all the electrical power was lost at these reactors, what would happen?  Clearly, if these questions were asked in the design phase, significant changes would have been made.  Probably the best recommendation is to not put these reactors so close to a known active fault line.

Of course, the best design for nuclear power plants is one that can stand a complete disruption of cooling flow and still survive.  I refer those who are interested to an article in August 2011 issue Mechanical Engineering Magazine, page 53 (available online), in which Lee Langston describes a pebble bed reactor cooled with helium that can survive a loss-of-coolant incident.  There are other designs, such as molten salt reactors (see May 2010 issue of Mechanical Engineering) which are low pressure, also do not suffer from loss of coolant problems, and most significantly, do not create radioactive materials with essentially infinite half-lifes and the associated disposal problem.

Clearly, there are better alternatives to the antiquated reactors at Fukishima.  As engineers, we should demand that self-sufficient energy sources consider all alternatives, including nuclear, but with a clear understanding of potential benefits and problems.  It is our job to make sure all the "what-ifs" are asked and properly answered.

Greg Stirling
User Rank
Platinum
Fukishima Disaster Holds Lessons for Engineers
Greg Stirling   8/30/2011 5:26:32 PM
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I agree Micha,

We Should tap into Geothermal - what are we waiting for!  Perhaps the technology to develop a little further.  And tidal power generation makes perfect sense, but there are those who oppose the same due to environmental considerations.  To that I say boo hoo.  Good news, is I see solar power going up at schools and public facilities as well as homes.

France relys heavily on nuclear power, and we don't hear about disasters from the technology there.

We need to do whatever we can do to generate power since fossil fuels release CO2 and will not last forever...

Micha
User Rank
Iron
Nuclear power will always threat our health any way we look at it
Micha   8/30/2011 4:39:29 PM
NO RATINGS
 

Nuclear power is the most expensive way of producing steam... its the most expensive and dangerous steam engine out there... and dealing with the wasted rods and other radioactive waste is not safe for our health either, there are many dumpsites which are done poorly, and they are waiting for us one night in a dark alley...

I just don't see how we can ever design and build fail safe power plants no matter how they are operating...

So we better build power plants that when they will fail, no harm will happen to humanity, and we will just need to build new ones...

There are already great ideas how to harness mother nature to give as much power as we need forever, there is heat below our feet where ever we are, we just need to dig it out, and there are ways to dig only 2Km instead of 5Km and get to boiling temp of certain fluids, which can create steam at 60C in a closed circle...

If this power plant ever breaks, we will fix it, or build a new one, and no one is hurt.

There are ways to harness the oceans' tides and lows, and get all the power we need, of course these systems will be big, but again with no danger to our lives. and if they break, we will fix them without hurting anyone on the planet...

Nuclear power will show us time after time that it is not benevolent for life, and the prices in health and other costs will get higher and higher specially with the earth changes which are accruing now more and more...

I think these two power sources will prove to be better and more efficient than wind and solar power plants because they can operate 22/7 as long as we have the moon, and as long as we have heat inside our planet...

The future will belong to safe power plants which will depend on nature...

I am for starting now with these future ways of getting all the power we will ever need... and with out paying with our health...

Thank you,

Micha Eizen

 

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