transmutation (engineering question)

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by orcot, Dec 22, 2021.

1. orcotValued Senior Member

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Say a kardashev 1 civilization decided to turn it's radioactive nuclear waste into essentialy inert elements.

Can it do so with existing technology without making more radioactive waste?
Can it do so with the powers a Kardashev 1 civilization would posses?
(A karshave 1 civ) converts 2kg of matter/s into electricity that is 179751035747 Megajoules/sec (calc)
or (31540000 sec a year) 5.67E24j a year.

Say they only want to spend 1% of their output on this project 5.67E22 joules annualy
let's argue that by then theirs 24 000 000 tonnes (200 times todays annual production).

Could it be done and asusming no scientific advances in transmutations how much energy would you have to throw ad these uranium atomes to make them decay? Would they occasionaly bounce of or pass trough and hit the container walls causing more radio active elements?

Let's assume that by this era fission is no longer in use for energy production except in negligible niche cases.

would this waste be radium or would it need to be turned into lead?

bonus question: do you believe the final solution with nuclear waste will be a final storage and then simply "forgetting abouth it" or do you believe we will treat it in some way to manipulate it's decay (radiation release)

PS earth today uses 580 million terrajoules that is 5.8E20 joules

Last edited: Dec 22, 2021

3. exchemistValued Senior Member

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11,201
What's a kardashian or carshave civilisation, or whatever it is?

5. DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardashev_scale
Defines a civilization by how much energy it can leverage: a planet, a star, a galaxy

Here it is in nutshell form:

We are type zero i.e. we are not yet on the scale.

(Hm. The scale uses Roman numerals - which doesn't have zero -which means we can't even be considered.

)

Anyway, the OP is asking if a civilization that can harness the entirety of its planet's resources can transmute their radioactive waste.

Last edited: Dec 22, 2021

7. DaveC426913Valued Senior Member

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At first blush, it would produce a lot of inert waste and heat, both of which won't go away unless you find a place to send them.

8. orcotValued Senior Member

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Yeah sorry for not including the defintion of the kardashev scale I tought I inserted the link
Wouldn't inert waste be a good thing?

(this came from a discussion with someone that energy consumption went from well basickly this (see link) graph to today my argument was that within 150 years it could very well be we once again outproduce a 100 -1000 times more energy compared to today).

So I wondered would zapping it with enough neutrons and alpha partickles be enough to speed up the process. It would not suggest zapping them until all the matter is converted into energy but until it reaches something stable like lead (definitly not pure energy)

9. exchemistValued Senior Member

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You don't convert matter into energy, though some can be converted to radiation. There is no such thing as "pure energy". That is Star Trek, not science. Energy is just a property of matter and radiation.

What I imagine you are thinking of is a series of fission reactions that split heavy radioisotopes into stable, or near-stable, lighter elements. No doubt, with unlimited resources, such a thing could be possible. But it would be very fiddly, bearing in mind the huge number of separate nuclear reactions that would be required. Such a civilisation might find it more convenient to expend their energy on the simple, though quite energy-intensive, process of launching radioactive waste into space, on a trajectory that takes it into the sun.

10. orcotValued Senior Member

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I wasn't suggesting turning them into complete energy,
more like bombarding them with alpha particles using a cyclotron (or anything that works really)
sort of a reversed breeder reactor that doesn't care abouth net energy gain, simply accelerating decay to a manageable timescale.

11. exchemistValued Senior Member

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What makes you think that bombarding them with -particles will do that? As I say, I suspect each radioisotope would need its own tailored reaction scheme - different bombarding particles or nuclei, different energies - to convert it to something safe. So very fiddly to do.

12. RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

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this is way outside my knowledge level
but this sentence i understand

if your energy to speed up decay comes from renewables like solar wind & wave.
then its all a positive gain on dropping fossil fuel
nuclear is i guess kinda like a fossil fuel

wild speculation thought

what if you included it in rocket body material which get re-entry burned

can you add some amount to it & keep it safe ?

& would burning it up in re-entry work or just cause radioactive rain

technically

profit dictates value of rocket ship cargo

why not nuclear waste that is then fire into the sun to burn up ?
is the value the same ?
not if people can dump it for free & pollute the earth while making profits

greed stands in the way

imagine the final launch
of the space shuttle with its cargo hull filled with nuclear waste
with cameras fitted
live feeds
& is remote launched & remote flown into the sun
& recorded all the way in light & sound radar all other types of sensors

look at how many sun spots there is at the moment
imagine the scientists who would want a super close up satellite sweep as it crashes into it

most important solar cycle now in human civilization
this one will decide the fate of the species

Last edited: Dec 24, 2021
13. orcotValued Senior Member

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3,488
I might very well be, I imagen large solar cells in orbit but it might be something else (it isn't really that inportant for the tought experiment just that it creates no radioactive waste)

let's not get into that this derails conversations and isn't really the point.

basickly yes, burning it up in the upper atmosphere would cause for more problems then leaving it as is.
nuclear waste sort of has a stigma accidents could potentially happen terrorist could potentialy get a hold of it.
Also I can see the public being willing to pay for it to make it dissapear, if transmutation is used (transmutation is a weird word but it's basickly just the combination of fussion and fission the sun for example is a transmuter more specifickly a fussion transmuter, a nuclear reactor is a transmutor more specifically fission).
Ones the device is set up and studied in might then in the future perhaps be used to harvest anti matter for rocket ships, I'm not sure what people would do with 10 000 times todays energy budget but storing it into anti matter and letting the public pay for it's construction/development and pocketing the commercial applications seems like a human thing to do.

Maybe they eventualy turn al the HLW (high level waste) into a golden fence. It's more costly energy wize but transmutation uranium will probably turn into lead and turning lead into gold speaks to the imagination (more power is required tough) and it proves you can transmutate large quantities into stable elements.

14. RainbowSingularityValued Senior Member

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7,110
profit reverse engineering

the profit margin rules the total quantity required as greed defines a need for greed

so large quantities is used to legitimize greed

when the difference is defined as energy in energy out
it is defined as war against the ruling elite fossil fuel money

climate change will fix it for good

science has gone faster than society culture
society culture is still almost 100 years behind science

society cant catch up to get ahead of climate change

end result is check mate win to climate change

unless new moves are made with new rules

the rules are defined by greed
the circle is complete

because society chases greed

... what is being traded ?
what is being traded is the time factor that industry greed has already stolen
if industry does not give back what it stole with money
the outcome is check mate to climate change

transmutation of energy
transmutation of human civilization

the fools gambit
the fools gambit is being convinced to provide a solution that maintains all the greed platforms
time is money
money is time
money is now time which industry greed owns
it must give back what it stole as money to build alternative energy & combat climate change

you cant win by giving industry greed more power
or more money
it already has all the money& power