What do you do with the waste? – Kirk Sorensen’s answers

Gordon McDowell, the film maker who produced Thorium Remix, has released some additional mixes of material gathered for that production effort. One in particular is aimed at those people whose main concern about using nuclear energy is the often repeated question “What do you do with the waste.”

Many people who ask that question think that it is a trump card that should end all conversation and let them win the hand. I used to play bridge and enjoyed it when I could “no trump” a smug contestant who thought he had a winner. Kirk’s discussion below is one example of how that can be done in the nuclear energy field.

My friends who like the Integral Fast Reactor have another answer. I am pretty certain there are dozens of other good answers to the question – the primary obstacle to implementing them comes from the nefarious forces that LIKE raising (artificial) barriers to the use of nuclear energy.


On another note, I want to point to a story published in the evening of October 12, 2011 on the Wall Street Journal web site titled WSJ: Fluor Buys Stake In Reactor Maker NuScale Energy. I am happy to see that NuScale has found a suitable, deep pockets investor with a lot of nuclear plant engineering and construction experience.


One more short note. Jay Hancock, a writer for the Baltimore Sun, has taken note of some of the work published on Atomic Insights regarding Exelon’s decision to destroy the Zion Nuclear power station rather than allowing it to compete against existing power plants to increase the supply and decrease the price of electricity.

On October 8, 2011, Hancock published a column titled State should pull plug on Constellation-Exelon deal that explored whether or not it would be beneficial for Marylanders to allow a company like Exelon to own a dominant number of electrical power generation facilities in the state.

One of the pieces of evidence that has convinced Hancock to oppose the proposed merger is the way that Exelon has acted with regard to the Zion nuclear station. He recognizes that the company has adequately demonstrated a history of using market power to drive up prices and profits at the expense of customer interests.

Additional reading related to Exelon bear hug attempt:

EDF Asks Maryland Regulators To Block Exelon-Constellation Merger

Update from Hyperion Power Generation Chief Operating Officer

Yesterday morning I wrote a post titled Where is Hyperion Power Generation headed now? By the time I was ready for a lunch break, I had received an email from the Chief Operating Officer of Hyperion Power Generation offering to fill me in on some of the details that he was able to make public. […]

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Letter from the Editor: RTGs, Batteries That Last and Last

It is almost as if NASA, ever cognizant of the need for taxpayer support of its programs, put this useful device “in the closet”, using it when necessary but maintaining an unofficial policy that technical details were best kept from public view.This issue was inspired by a request from one of our Internet readers for […]

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Nuclear Batteries: Tools for Space Science

The Apollo missions to the moon are famous for heroic astronauts, exciting first steps and incredible pictures that fired the imaginations of a whole generation of scientists, engineers and school children. Mixed in along with the hoopla about sending men into space on huge, fire spewing rockets, however, was some serious science. Each time the […]

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Earth Bound RTG Systems: Uses Closer to Home

Tiny, milliwatt capacity RTGs found a home inside the chests of middle aged people in countries like France, Russia and even the United States. These devices – about the same size as a AA battery – were designed to power cardiac pacemakers. Not all of the RTGs that have been produced have been designed for […]

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RTG Heat Sources: Two Proven Materials

Strontium is not associated with nuclear weapons and has never been called the most deadly element known to man. There is a precedence in the United States for widely licensing small quantities of sealed Sr-90; it is used in some aircraft ice detection systems.Essentially all RTGs that have been produced have been designed for long […]

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Cassini: Near Term Use of RTGs

The only planned use of RTGs in the US space program in the near term is the unmanned, 1997 Cassini mission to explore Saturn. The Cassini spacecraft will be powered by three General Purpose Heat Source Radioisotope Thermal Generators (GPHS RTGs) each designed to provide 276 W of electrical power at the beginning of the […]

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Really Cool Stuff: Batteries That Last for Decades

Atomic energy provides an amazing source of concentrated power. The potential applications that have been proposed are widely varied. There is room for unlimited innovation and creativity. Imagine what it would be like to have a battery that could provide power for several decades without recharging. Sounds almost like science fiction. Fact, in this case, […]

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