What climate change is not

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by billvon, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    While the design of Chernobyl was faulty (it was fail positive) with a power failure creating a runaway reaction, that was not the reason for the explosion

    Staff mindset and stupidity was the cause

    Our last assignment for Associate Diploma Occupational Health and Safety was to write a Accident Report on Chernobyl. Pissed off they didn't fly us out there for onsite check

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    . Would loved to have seen Elephant Foot

    Small reactors can be built (fail negative) using billiard ball sized units with radioactive specks inside, in large numbers to produce power

    If the power to the reactor is lost, it just shuts down (fail negative)

    While power output is not massive the reactors only take up a small footprint of real estate so can be built to service areas of cities

    Go nuclear

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  3. billvon Valued Senior Member

    That was the reason it went prompt critical and exploded.
    Right. But with exactly the same level of stupidity, a BWR or PWR (US designs) would not have exploded. You would have had a pressure spike, the primary loop would have vented into the containment, and the reaction would have shut down.
    All PWR's and BWR's have a negative void coefficient, and will shut down if they lose cooling (i.e. the reaction will stop.) However, after the reactor is started, isotopes with short half-lives are created, and the decay heat of these isotopes is significant; enough so that you need cooling to avoid melting the core.

    The small reactors you're talking about deal with that by having a high ratio of surface area to core volume, so they can passively radiate away the decay heat. So even if active cooling is completely lost, nothing melts. But in both cases the reactors are shut down and there's no significant reactivity.
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  5. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Agreed there.
    We can do both. France reprocesses their spent fuel and reuses it. We have a spent fuel storage facility here that is ready to go, and remains closed only due to political machinations - because nuclear foes fear a safe storage location.
    We do know how to deal with it. We just don't want to.
    They are far cheaper than coal when all the not so hidden costs are included for both.
    They are more expensive than renewables - but can produce power at night. Thus both are needed.
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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    We have no such thing. We have a spent fuel disposal facility whose expense and risk of employment have always been and continue to be seriously underestimated by nuclear power proponents,

    who refuse to learn from history and experience. https://www.businessinsider.com/kitty-litter-nuclear-waste-accident-2016-8?op=1
    And we hit bottom - the Donald Trump objection to solar power plants. "The sun doesn't shine at night" - that from professionals.
    Embarrassing, to say the least.

    Renewables are cheaper than nukes, even without an honest accounting of risk - just straight up bang for buck.
    They are also faster on line, and easier to decentralize. That's the takehome.
    Eventually that cycle runs out, and the remaining unusable waste has to be dumped somewhere - along with the tens of thousands of tons of construction and demolition debris, and various other sources of essentially permanent (thousand year plus) radiation hazard from nuclear power.

    Apparently some of France's spent nuclear fuel has been ending up unsecured in the ocean, for example, notably (because undeniable, as in officially documented, an unusual circumstance) under the prime fishing grounds adjoining Somalia and its neighbors. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_disposal_of_radioactive_waste

    The role of organized crime (in France's case Italian and Eastern European) in the clandestine dumping of nuclear waste is of course not part of official reality, so nuclear power proponents omit it from their risk analysis - in techworld, if the tech is sweet enough (GMOs, AI, nuclear power), reality becomes what is officially reported by government and industry reps That's how the techies get "0" for the casualty figures from Fukushima and TMI and so forth.

    They will even believe China's PR guys, Russia's, India's, Pakistan's, Halliburton's, Bechtel's, - - - essentially, anybody who tells them what they want to hear.
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

    It was on track to be opened three years ago. Then Harry Reid pulled in political favors to have it shut down. This was entirely a political decision. Per the GAO, "the closure was for political, not technical or safety reasons."
    It doesn't. Bizarre that you would argue that.
    Yes they are. They are not able to provide baseload power. Nuclear is cheaper overall for that.
    Correct. And overall you end up with less nuclear waste from all that than you end up from a coal power plant.
    How many people have died?

    Again, let's compare with actual facts. Coal ash pond dike failures have killed dozens when the dikes failed and drowned people in toxic waste.
    Outrageous! That would never happen with renewable energy.
    Sting operations reveal Mafia involvement in renewable energy

    Anthony Faiola
    January 22, 2013

    PALERMO, Italy — Inside a midnight-blue BMW, a Sicilian entrepreneur delivered his pitch to the accused mafia boss. A new business was blowing into Italy that could spin wind and sunlight into gold, ensuring the future of the Earth as well as the Cosa Nostra: renewable energy.

    “Uncle Vincenzo,” implored the businessman, Angelo Salvatore, using a term of affection for the alleged head of Sicily’s Gimbellina crime family, 79-year-old Vincenzo Funari. According to a transcript of their wiretapped conversation, Salvatore continued: “For the love of our sons, renewable energy is important. . . . It’s a business we can live..."

    . . .

    “The Cosa Nostra is adapting, acquiring more advanced knowledge in new areas like renewable energy that have become more profitable because of government subsidies,” said Teresa Maria Principato, the deputy prosecutor in charge of Palermo’s Anti-Mafia Squad, whose headquarters here are emblazoned with the images of assassinated judges. “It is casting a shadow over our renewables industry.”
  9. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    And my point about the gullibility of nuclear power advocates is conveniently illustrated, without any effort on my part.
    In nuclear power world corrupt people doing things for political reasons absolves nuke proponents of any need to account for the risks of nuclear power. When some politician closes a nuke waste site for political reasons, that shows the actual nonpolitical physical risk of using the site is low - they really believe that.
    Nobody knows.
    Neither does anybody know how many are likely to die in the future from the effects of that aspect of nuclear waste disposal.
    But only a fool would say "0".
    What's your argument? You did seem to be arguing that competent waste handling reduced risk, above - arguing that incompetent waste handling increases risk and should be figured into a risk evaluation, would seem to follow.
    The nuclear proponent now presents organized crime's involvement in renewable energy, for some reason. Brain damage, maybe.
    He's apparently hallucinating some kind of argument from me favoring coal over nuclear, or just trying to avoid the contents of my posts altogether. What does coal have to do with a comparison of renewables with nukes, or a cost evaluation of nukes, or anything else in my posts here?

    Takehome: To the nuclear power advocate, the entire discussion is a propaganda fight that threatens their sweet technology for no good reason. They recognize no discussion of cost or risk beyond competing PR claims, and anything that works to win the propaganda fight they view as a legitimate contribution. They aren't arguing well because they aren't arguing at all - they are promoting, advertising, etc.
    Apparently storage does not exist in the nuclear proponent's world.
    Nor does risk evaluation figure into the cost of nuclear power, which would make it very high - "overall" especially.
    Risk is "imaginary" until after the disaster, in nuke world - see posts above, for that specific and explicit claim.
    It isn't.
    As was pointed out above, explicitly: they don't correct their history when the facts come out.

    That specific claim is straight up rightwing media feed dishonesty from a while ago. It was all over the propaganda sites, made its way into the headlines, and took a long time to correct in the public record (the correction never got the distribution the well-financed lie enjoyed).

    And of course for some reason we're talking about coal again.

    BTW: If anyone can account for the repeated presentation of coal stuff here (and gas stuff, etc) without impugning the presenters, feel free to enlighten the thread - because its optics so far are both ugly and predicted (by me, explicitly, above) but only via denigration of the intellectual integrity of nuke advocates in general. A different explanation would be welcome.
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

    And in the reality-based community, a politician making an entirely political decision to cancel a project - is a political decision, not a safety or science based decision.
    [Neither does anybody know how many are likely to die in the future from the effects of that aspect of nuclear waste disposal.
    But only a fool would say "0".[/quote]
    Right. And only a fool would say a demonstrated death toll from coal is preferable to an imaginary death toll from nuclear power.
    I am quite happy to be called brain damaged by a guy who thinks the sun shines at night, and doesn't understand basic math. It's like being called a misogynist by Donald Trump. I take it as a compliment.

    You brought up the Feynmann report before. Let me excerpt a segment from that:

    "An estimate of the reliability of the solid rockets was made by the range safety officer, by studying the experience of all previous rocket flights. Out of a total of nearly 2,900 flights, 121 failed (1 in 25). This includes, however, what may be called, early errors, rockets flown for the first few times in which design errors are discovered and fixed. A more reasonable figure for the mature rockets might be 1 in 50. With special care in the selection of parts and in inspection, a figure of below 1 in 100 might be achieved but 1 in 1,000 is probably not attainable with today's technology."

    To translate that to today's discussion:

    Some people think that that figure should be 1 in 1000. There's no basis for that.
    I agree with Feynmann, who puts the figure closer to 1 in 50. If you wanted to say it's 1 in 25, sure, we could go with that.
    You think it should be 1 in 2 because you are scared of solid rockets. And every other one MIGHT blow up!

    So what should we choose? Should we replace the rockets that have been demonstrated to blow up 1 out of 50 times with ones that have been demonstrated to blow up 1 out of 10 times? Just because some idiot thinks that the real number from his imagination is 1 in 2?
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Yep. Did you have some kind of relevant point you forgot to post there?
    Agreed. If anybody ever says that, we can all hold hands and call them fools. Meanwhile, the only poster comparing coal to nukes here is you.
    And it slides to outright trolling - the stupid stuff.

    That's typical among nuclear power advocates, and rightwing media inhalers generally. Their arguments suck, because they aren't arguing - they're advertising, promoting, propagandizing, etc.
    Nowhere in this thread has any post of mine resembled any of that in any way.
    My opinion? In the short run we should choose to not launch in cold weather, when the O-ring erosion is more severe. Longer term we should redesign the seal or the rockets if possible - the O-ring erosion is a clear hazard. If we can't, we should keep the obvious danger in mind - it's not "imaginary", and it does bear on decisions such as taking schoolteachers on publicity rides. It's likely to bite us, sooner or later - we want to minimize the damage.

    And we should insist, as Feynman explicitly recommended, on accurate assessments of risk rather than happytalk bs based on having escaped the worst by luck. A series of near catastrophes the experts never saw coming is evidence of danger, not safety; high risk, not low risk. In cost calculations, these risks are not "imaginary"; a cost estimate that omits them is a childish fantasy.

    Based on theory, calculation, research, history, and experience, then, nuclear power is very high risk. That adds substantially to its cost, which is already higher (bang for buck) than some other power sources - especially a couple of renewable options, which thereby become better investments than nukes. We should make the better investments.
  12. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member


    Mind set and stupidity

    Short version
    • the backup power for Chernobyl was a bank of batteries
    • NOT a back up generator
    • bank of batteries take time to come on line
    • generator quicker
    • if a main generator fails some power is still being produced as it winds down
    • however this power is a little erratic
    To overcome this they were looking for ways to smooth the erratic power output
    • they developed a circuit board to do that
    • the board could be tested on ANY generator winding down
    • Chernobyl was chosen
    As noted the board was to smooth out out the erratic power from a winding down generator

    The staff at Chernobyl had to induce a fault to cause main generator to slow

    Staff induced a fault
    • main generator began to slow
    • before the board could come into play
    • emergency shutdown procedures in place in Chernobyl came into play
    • came a period where the staff began to disable the shutdown procedures
    • eventually....
    You know the rest

    • stupidity - testing a board on main generator at a nuclear reactor when it could have been tested on ANY generator winding down
    • stupidity + mind set - disable emergency shutdown until unrecoverable situation reached

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  13. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member


    That level of stupidity and mind set any reactor would explode

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  14. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    I'd posit the bolded portion as, by far, the cheapest and the safest alternative, yet it hardly ever seems to be a part of any discussion. Why is that?

    Sure, people--and Americans, especially--aren't terribly amenable to radical change, but it does happen.. Sometimes. For the most part, people don't drive drunk anymore. People seem to be adapting to the phasing out of plastic bags in supermarkets. And so forth.

    Moreover, as concerns energy consumption, Americans are by far the worst offenders, and yet, households in pretty much every other affluent nation get by with literally a fraction of household energy consumption--and they're hardly "freez(ing) in the dark." I don't hold an especially favorable opinion of my fellow country-folk (I think "fat, stupid and lazy" is mostly an apt description), but even I still think they're, at least, capable of learning how to get by without doing 12 loads of laundry a day (or whatever the hell it is that they're doing to account for the totally wack levels of energy consumption --I honestly haven't a clue. Total mystery.)

    So why is conservation so seldom presented as a viable option? It's also, in a sense, far the easiest alternative, being as it literally involves either doing less or doing nothing.
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  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    You know how Malthus said, the more food we grow, the more people we'll make to outgrow the food supply?
    We do the same with energy. One kind of energy production gets us in trouble, we make more energy with some other substance that will get us into trouble later on, and just keep demanding more energy and more and more and more...
    what we never do
    is say
    enough packaging, enough plastic toys, enough idiotic electronic devices, enough pictures of cats and body parts, enough half-time spangles,enough explosions, enough fun, enough fast food delivered even faster; fast enough, big enough, tall enough, powerful enough, rich enough
    never enough
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  16. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Storage is not the same as recycling to a benign and/or environmentally beneficial state.
    Storage is just a cop out from the responsibility of developing poisoness substances and not knowing what they are doing...
    The world already has a serious problem with land fill waste... and that aint going to go away any time soon.
    It is like building a car with out any brakes.
    There are still places around the globe that are more or less permanently irradiated (dead spots) that we have no idea as to how to rectify...most of them classified no doubt especially in Russia and China.

    Promoting Nuclear energy as a long term fix with out long term solutions for its inherent problems is insane.
    Learn how to clean up the mess at Chernobyl and maybe it is worth talking about...
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2020
  17. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    Learning how to harness tidal power in an effective way would give you energy 24/7 and could even be environmentally friendly...just need to learn how to.
  18. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Nope, sorry. BWRs / PWRs cannot go prompt-critical due to a LOCA. Look up "negative void coefficient."
  19. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Sure, you could do that. That's a low energy density source so you would have to destroy a LOT of coastlines to make much energy, and of course it is by definition not 24/7.
  20. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    Do not know much about those reactors. Are you saying that they are like the billiard ball reactors that even with all safety procedures disabled they cannot form a critical mass?

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  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

    ?? Conservation and efficiency improvement is the primary reason that our per capita energy use has gone down 25% since 1978, even with more and more always-on devices in US homes. We can do much more, of course - but it has both been part of the discussion and part of government policy. Here at the local big-box hardware stores they are selling LED light bulbs for some absurdly low price ($2 for a 60 watt equivalent) as the result of government incentives. Energy Star ratings have pushed appliance efficiencies higher and higher, and new buildings all have occupancy sensors for lights and HVAC and are much better insulated. So it's slowly changing.
    To solve the "mystery" part, some ideas:

    When we got our latest house it averaged 30kwhr/day. Now we are down to 11kwhr/day (household loads, minus EVs) without making any drastic changes. More efficient refrigerator, employing third party DR programs, LED lighting, switches on parasitic loads etc.
    It is pushed quite often. Google Amory Lovins and his concept of "negawatts." There's a link - "tips for energy conservation" - on our utility's home page. It's not as big/sexy as solar or nuclear, so it doesn't get the headlines as often. But especially utilities are realizing that conservation programs like DR are much cheaper than building new power plants.
  22. billvon Valued Senior Member

    Almost all reactors out there go critical via thermal neutrons - neutrons that have been slowed down by a moderator. A large number of these are delayed neutrons, neutrons that are released milliseconds to minutes after the fission event. This is a good thing for several reasons. One is that since the power ramps up and down over a time range of milliseconds to minutes, it's possible to move control rods at human-comprehensible speeds (i.e. seconds) to control the reaction, which was a very important factor early on in reactor research, A second is that if you lose the moderator the reaction usually slows down.

    Nuclear bombs, on the other hand, use prompt neutrons - the neutrons that result instantly from fission of a uranium or plutonium nucleus. Since bombs don't generally use moderators, they are also high energy neutrons that have not been slowed by a moderator. These neutrons are released so quickly, and go so fast, that a nuclear bomb can detonate completely in less than a microsecond. As you can imagine, it would be very hard to get control rods back into a reactor that fast, which is why this sort of prompt-criticality is reserved for weapons.

    When you see a high school science book with that "billiard ball" diagram, it is talking about that prompt-criticality.

    So let's say you have a reactivity excursion in a BWR or PWR reactor - the power increases for some reason. If it's minor, then the reactor's power surges, more steam is generated and the pressure goes up. The control system inserts the control rods over the course of a few seconds and the reaction slows down. If the pressure surge is large, then the relief valve opens and vents some coolant into a capture area (or the containment vessel if that fails.)

    But lets say the rod drive fails. Now the reactor generates more and more power. The water around the core starts to boil. This leads to large steam voids where there is no moderator. Since the reaction needs that moderator to slow down those neutrons to keep the reaction going, the reaction slows down. That effect is known as a "negative void coefficient." As long as you keep the coolant flowing the core is still OK, and as soon as you get the rods reinserted (or, worst case, dump neutron poisons into the coolant) the reaction shuts down.

    The Chernobyl reactor was designed with a positive void coefficient. It had enough other moderator (graphite) that it didn't need the water moderator to continue the reaction. During preparations for a test, they were getting very low power output from the reactor due to neutron poisons that had built up. (This can happen when the reactor is shut down and started up a lot.) So they manually pulled most of the rods all the way out. Still almost no power due to the poisons. But neutron flux was increasing and burning away the poisons slowly.

    During the test the power slowly ramped back up but it was still way too low, and the reactor was all over the place - some areas (where the poisons had accumulated) were cold other areas were super hot and boiling away the water. Finally someone hit the SCRAM button, which took control of all the rods and started lowering them into the reactor. This process took about 20 seconds.

    If these had been normal control rods the process would have ended there; the reactor would have shut down. But these control rods were also designed poorly. Their tips had a large graphite section, and graphite is a moderator. So as the rods began their trip through the core, the reactivity in the "hot" areas of the core went very high as the tip of the control rod passed by. Again, had this been a PWR or BWR, the reaction would have ended there since the water (required for the reaction) boiled off from the intense heat. But in an RBMK that has the opposite effect. Sections of the core passed the threshold for prompt fusion, and those areas got very hot very quickly, fusing the rods in place so they couldn't continue to insert. After the water boiled away that section of the core then exploded just like atomic bombs do, blowing the reactor to pieces and ejecting pieces of the core hundreds of feet into the air. The hot graphite then began to burn, causing even more problems.

    The reactor was designed to output 3 gigawatts of thermal energy. Estimates for the energy release during the explosion range from 30 to 300 gigawatts, far more than any reactor is capable of withstanding.
  23. parmalee peripatetic artisan Valued Senior Member

    I suppose I just have a more "extreme" notion of conservation. Not really, though, 'cuz even with that 25% reduction, household consumption in the US is still multiples of that in households throughout the rest of the world.

    These are only gonna help me if I have access to other people's households--I know precisely how much I'm using.

    Still boggling to me. Our household uses between 3 and 6 kwh/day. The only other energy sources are propane for the stove (100 gallon tank was filled four years ago and it's still at 70%) and a wood stove for heat--we're in the "mountains" of New England and burn about two cords a year. Two humans, two dogs. At the moment, the fridge is plugged in, of course, but not running, laptop is powered, modem/wifi is powered, stereo is on, a kindle is charging. ABSOLUTELY nothing else is being powered, passively or actively--and I tend to lose my shit over ac/dc adapters being plugged in that aren't being actively used.

    Obviously, air conditioning and heating account for a significant port of energy consumption, but it's not like there aren't seasons. I mean, here, there's a foot of snow on the ground, but it's about 45 degrees out--as far as I'm concerned, winter is over. No more wood stove. (I exaggerate. But only slightly.)

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