SCIENCE 101 - CHICKEN LITTLE'S JOURNAL > Comments on Nuclear Waste and Breeder Reactors - Myth and Promise

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...please go to my consolidated comments for my response.

posted by arGee on November 30, 2003 at 9:03 AM | link to this | reply

You must be reading David Brin...same disposal ideas.

I was truely priviliged to attend an unclassified tour of a company called, at the time, Atomics International in the early Seventies, both their plant in the San Fernando Valley and their reactor test site in the Santa Susana Mountains. They were just getting going on practical developement of testing fast breeder reactors, and their medium was going to be liquid sodium. They were running into some very significant engineering problems regarding fabrication and applications of designs and materials to handle the sodium, as well as the rest of the design, and that was gong to eventually cause them to throttle back that avenue of inquiry. I imagine thirty years has brought changes in the state of the art, but it is a turn towards an avenue with greater risks.

Lately, also, the state of the art regarding smaller, remotely-guided submirsibles seems to be making deep trench operations relatively inexpensive and, using optical cables, not leaving as big an EM footprint as the old fashioned radio and manned jobs would; this could help us, but it could also help bad guys who really wanted to raid our dump. If we start dropping huge concrete slugs full of vitrified nuclear wastes into the Marianas, we will probably need to stand guard with the USN indefinitely,but the immediate threat of diversion of these materials would be nil once they were dropped, er, jettisoned (sorry, USAF speaking).

By the way, regarding the alpha source in your smoke detector, wouldn't want it inhaled, ingested, or stuck my skin for any long period.

PS: Scientific American had a very sobering article which points out that Russian nuclear wastes are hugely more dangerous than our are to the world's safety.

posted by majroj on November 27, 2003 at 11:37 PM | link to this | reply

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