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  1. Did either of you guys pick up the interview on the Popular Mechanic podcast with the spokesman for the union of concerned scientists? His assertion that the AP1000 was less safe because it used fewer materials in its containment vessel made me laugh.

    http://media.popularmechanics.com/audio/PopMechShow8COMPLETE.mp3 (near the end)

    PS Thanks for the spoiler alert on RadDecision Shane I had to pull my head phones off quick as I just started reading it.

  2. You mentioned the BWR control rods inserted from the bottom in this podcast. In the BWR I’ve heard described, the control rods actually are designed to default into the reactor. They a sitting on a compressed air feed that will push them into the reactor in case of a drive motor failure. If the pressure is lost in the air line, there is even a gravity-feed tank of boric acid solution above the reactor.

  3. Daniel; I haven’t caught that one. I’ve got 15 subscriptions, and even with 90 minutes of commuting every day, I staill can’t wade through my unplayed shows fast enough! It doesn’t surprise me that UCS is making those claims, though. Go find one of Bernard Cohen’s books where he uses UCS estimates of reactor accident probabilities to prove that, even under _unbelievably_ pessimistic assumptions, fission still beats out coal for safety. Apologies also for the short spoiler notice; one of those things where I just keep blathering on without thinking that I’m ruining the book for people. Apparently I blathered long enough to give you fair warning!

    Jeff; you’re right. I’d forgotten all about the compressed air drive safety rod systems that are used on BWR’s when I was doing my background reading. I’d not thought about them in a while, and it showed on the show. Nice catch. Incidentally, one of the two independent safety systems used in CANDU reactors also uses a pressure-injected neutron poison, though it’s a lot more exotic than boron: gadolinium! It has an absolutely _huge_ thermal neutron adsorption coefficient; CANTEACH has a nice diagram of it, too.

    http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/cnf_sectionD.htm#q2

    http://canteach.candu.org/imagelib/34000-SDS/CANDU_SDS2_Flowsheet.pdf