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  1. Their leftovers might need to be stored for a while while the supply chain for the newer technologies is scaled up, but eventually, the strategic stockpile of material will be accessible for them to use when ready.

    Steve Aplin says that Canada has ~2 million used CANDU fuel bundles in storage, with roughly 0.38% Pu each.  At 19.2 kg UO2 per bundle I make that about 130 tons of plutonium total, enough to make 3 breeder-configuration fuel loads each (1 in use, 1 cooling, 1 reprocessing) for about 17 S-PRISMs.  That’s something north of 5 GW worth.

    At a breeding ratio of 1.22, consumption of 0.3 tons HM per year and a total fissile inventory of 7.3 tons per unit, I get a growth rate of about 0.9%/year based on natural increase; this would add enough new fissiles to start a new unit in about 6.5 years at the beginning.  Continued operation of the CANDUs would accelerate this, of course.

    If Transatomic can come through with a unit taking fuel at 1.8% fissiles, the used CANDU fuel could be concentrated to make roughly 6900 tons of fuel for that particular MSR.  At roughly 1.25 ton/GW-yr, the SNF would supply about 5500 GW-yr.

  2. “It encourages technology transfer from the National Labs to the private sector and the use of high performance computing and simulation.”

    Of all the impediments to commercial nuclear power in the US, this would not make the top 10.

    I would include:

    Poor construction project management.
    Dysfunctional regulatory structure.
    Entrenched anti-nuclear activists in state PUCs and legislatures.
    Tone deaf NSSS vendors.

    I would rather see money spent by the DOE go towards an accelerated NuScale pilot or cloning a good existing operating plant.

    1. Almost forgot:

      A business model where the customer pays for and shoulders all the risk for a prototype.

      Great way to have the customers beat a path to your door to get the new mousetrap.

  3. This article was a largely positive one. From the article:

    “I hope the plan includes an evaluation of the possibility of reviving the already built Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF). It meets the described criteria and should be able to on line quicker than any facility needing to be designed and built from scratch.”

    I hope this idea is adopted.

    Since the facility was designed with “the best of 1960’s technology,” there may be some benefit in applying knowledge that has been gained in the last 50 years. Instrumentation and control systems changes are one such example.

    Perhaps it could be retrofitted to actually produce electric power. This would certainly give a better “sell” for future pilot plants.

    When they shut it down there was talk of using it to produce medical isotopes. This could be one valuable mission for a revived FFTF. Saving lives is another great “sell.”

  4. Seasons Greetings All, but —

    The local New York City media here is going nuts over Indian Point’s tripped circuit break yesterday, all anxiously reporting that the fuel rods slammed down (just) in time and (thank God if they’re honest) there are no recorded radiation leaks and oh yea, this is another reason why Indian Pint needs nine-inch nails instead of an extension. ANS and NEI and other nuclear organs, this is your calling!! They laugh off lone uncertified pro-nuke callers like me! Get on the horn with NYC media and straighten them out with their Fukushima comparisons! Again, you can have the best whiz-bang reactors on the drawing boards but they’ll mean squat if the FUD-ified public doesn’t want ANY nukes! Don’t let the public wonder why anti-nukers never get rebutted or countered!

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

  5. It will be enlightening to see how the vote on HR 4084 shakes out. Might go far to settle the issue of partisanship in regards to NE. Of course, no matter how the vote goes, many here will be unable to to perceive the results from outside their tunnelled world view that is based on division, and prejudice, above all else.

    I see Chuck Schumer is advocating for keeping Fitzgerald running.

  6. Rod, I am looking forward to your design of the roll each player should play and fund: NRC, DOE, New government entity, gov labs, innovator/developer, private investors, public investors (stock), and any others.

    The organization of a prototype park is interesting to think about. How do we keep first-of-a-kinds safe enough? How do we share expertise and the expense for that expertise?

    Your experience should shed valuable light on this subject.

    1. @poa

      Thank you for the pointer. I don’t follow fusion very much; here is an article that includes some numbers that support my belief that “fusion is the energy of the future, and it always will be.”


      Nine years of construction; 20 months of testing; 1,000,000 assembly hours; several months of additional testing before switching to “actual investigation object” plasmas; a milligram of material heated for 1/10th of a second; highest temp of 1,000,000 K minimum required temp for fusion 13,000,000 K

      In other words, this is a long way from a device that will produce useful energy.

        1. I grew up with a Time-Life book which included a short section on a Stellarator.

          It was published in the 1960’s.

        2. Kinda Pentz Gunter also drinks water, eats food and breathes air. I suspect there are a number of other things upon which we agree, but I’m sure those three are common ground.

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