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  1. Integral Fast Reactor’s Proposed Salt Waste Management System

    Oh, great, just what I need… ANOTHER must-read paper!

    (just kidding)

  2. Rod – thanks for this post and the podcast. The name and method rang a bell with me, and sure enough, Darryl Siemer presented a talk at TEAC 12 that Gordon McDowell videotaped and posted: Darryl Siemer – Vitrification of Sustainable Nuclear Fuel Cycle Radwastes . It runs about 24 minutes. Darryl is incredibly engaging.

    I have a suggestion for an Atomic Show – I think you should have Gwyneth Cravens and Gail Tverberg for a discussion of Gail’s work on energy and the economy on her blog ourfiniteworld.com. Gail is active as poster and commenter on her blog as well as at theoildrum.com. (And probably more that I’m not aware of.)

    I’d like to see a discussion around her post Our Energy Predicament in Charts in which she presents the predicament and, at the end of the post, lists her “requirements for a fuel to fix our current predicament”. The section doesn’t have a direct link, so here’s the list:

    Abundant – Available in huge quantities, to meet society’s ever-growing needs.

    Direct match for current oil or electricity – Needed to avoid the huge cost of building new infrastructure. Electricity needs to be non-intermittent, to avoid the cost of mitigating intermittency. We also need an oil substitute. This oil substitute theoretically might be generated using electricity to combine carbon dioxide and water to create a liquid fuel. Such substitution would require time and investment, however.

    Non-polluting – No carbon dioxide or air and water pollution.

    Inexpensive – Ideally no more than $20 or $30 barrel for oil equivalent; 4 cents/kWh electricity. Figure 15 shows wage growth has historically occurred primarily below when oil was below $30 barrel.

    Big energy gain in the process, since it is additional energy that society really needs – This generally goes with low price.

    Uses resources very sparingly, since these are depleting.

    Available now or very soon

    Self-financing – Ideally through boot-strapping–that is, generating its own cash flow for future investment because of very favorable economics.

    I think you know what went through my mind when I read this. Gail doesn’t seem to be antagonistic to nuclear fission but she also seems to hold common, unexamined views of fission; after the list, she continues:

    It is interesting that when M. King Hubbert originally made his forecast of the decline of fossil fuels, he made his forecast as if an alternative fuel would become available in huge quantity, by the time of the decline. His original idea (in 1956) was that the new fuel would be nuclear. By 1976, his view was that the new fuel needed to be some version of solar energy.

    I’ve finished reading ‘Power to Save the World’ (shame on me for being slow to read it) and I think that Gwyneth could help Gail start on her journey to understanding, since the book is all about Gwyneth’s journey.

    I think that sparks would fly during the conversation.

    Thanks for lazy cheapskate as well! It’s certainly a dramatic and attention getting expression, right up there with your (I’m paraphrasing) radioactivity is the poop, radiation is the pong. I haven’t had a chance to work the paraphrase into a discussion yet, but I’m sure I’ll manage it.

  3. Rod,

    When I saw your reference to engineers and the “Lazy Cheapskate approach” to problem solving, I have to share something.

    I’m a computer geek, and sometimes software developer. There is a VERY similar philosophy in the world of software development: The Three Virtues of a Programmer:

    “According to Larry Wall(1), the original author of the Perl programming language, there are three great virtues of a programmer; Laziness, Impatience and Hubris

    Laziness: The quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful and document what you wrote so you don’t have to answer so many questions about it.
    Impatience: The anger you feel when the computer is being lazy. This makes you write programs that don’t just react to your needs, but actually anticipate them. Or at least pretend to.
    Hubris: The quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won’t want to say bad things about.”

    (1) (Programming Perl, 2nd Ed.)

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