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Small Nuclear Reactors

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ninj

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Small nuclear reactors (SMRs), built for smaller populations and less have less output than the older ones seem to be gaining traction in the energy sector. I'm not sure how I feel about them being a good idea. In some ways maybe they may be an asset to a remote community with little recourse to renewable resources, but
WHAT ABOUT THE WASTE?
Apparently, not always a good business move either. They are more expensive than renewables, at the local level here anyway. Source is biased against.


So what are your thoughts? Would you mind a SMR in your vicinity? Will they be the key to maintaining heavier industries?
 

Mendalla

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Ontario is mostly nuclear anyhow, all full-sized CANDUs. However, I suppose the new small ones might be of use in remote areas or something. I am not an opponent of nuclear providing proper planning is done for handling the waste. With the waste properly contained, it certainly beats something like gas or coal that produces CO2.

The problem with wind and sun is that they are not terribly efficient relative to a nuke and you end up covering vast amounts of farm land with windmills or solar cells and still getting less power in a day than you get from a reactor at Bruce or Pickering. Is having all of rural Southern Ontario covering in wind turbines really an improvement environmentally speaking?
 

Luce NDs

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Too little is known of this science by the general populace ... especially when it comes to cutting and efficiency-making by capital mercantile types that cannot see consequences of errors popping up from small time cuts!

In high powered machines ... there is little room for mistakes in the building ...

Reminds me of the movie Towering Inferno ... a narrative initiated by cost cutting in high places ... when cutting blindly ... what falls?

Geronimo ... and the charge goes on as a brigade light on something or other! Then there are heavy thoughts ... weighty psyches! Good lowered ...
 

ninj

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GIGO as they say. Certainly has a sense of the inevitable, doesn't it. That's what concerns me -- greed, cost-cutting and human error.
 

ninj

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Ontario is mostly nuclear anyhow, all full-sized CANDUs. However, I suppose the new small ones might be of use in remote areas or something. I am not an opponent of nuclear providing proper planning is done for handling the waste. With the waste properly contained, it certainly beats something like gas or coal that produces CO2.

The problem with wind and sun is that they are not terribly efficient relative to a nuke and you end up covering vast amounts of farm land with windmills or solar cells and still getting less power in a day than you get from a reactor at Bruce or Pickering. Is having all of rural Southern Ontario covering in wind turbines really an improvement environmentally speaking?
Strangely enough, it looks like big oil has been hard at work developing renewals. I'd love to know what Suncor has been cooking up. They must see the writing on the wall.
 

Mendalla

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Strangely enough, it looks like big oil has been hard at work developing renewals. I'd love to know what Suncor has been cooking up. They must see the writing on the wall.

BP, too, I hear.
 

mgagnonlv

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Small nuclear reactors (SMRs), built for smaller populations and less have less output than the older ones seem to be gaining traction in the energy sector. I'm not sure how I feel about them being a good idea. In some ways maybe they may be an asset to a remote community with little recourse to renewable resources, but
WHAT ABOUT THE WASTE?
Apparently, not always a good business move either. They are more expensive than renewables, at the local level here anyway. Source is biased against. ...

I think that's a wonderful concept, but I am not sure how it would work right now. Quite frankly, I don't see them that useful in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia as these are densely populated provinces. It might be better to have 3-4 smaller-scale nuclear plants than a larger one, and overall, it is probably better for the environment to have nuclear plants rather than coal or gas fired plants, but we still need to have more efficient waste management.

However, I would see such plants very useful in the North, where communities are quite isolated from eachother and usually are not part of the grid. Right now, most of these communities have diesel powered plants which are noisy and polluting. One issue with nuclear plants is that they generate energy 24 h/day, so we need a way to disperse energy at night. How do we do that. By cooling the reactor off at night with water, which will contribute to warming the ice shield, or by heating buildings at night with electricity, or what? Still, I would argue that a nuclear plant has a much less detrimental effect on a village in the North than a diesel plant.

And while the nuclear reactors are quite safe, one issue is their short lifespan. In 30-35 years, the combustible has to be replaced by new one and the old one has to be discarded. How would we do that in a remote community? Could there be a way to use local workers to swap the core and ship the old one by plane?.

Finally, you hinted about renewable energies. Sun is a rare commodity in the North, especially in Winter, but wind is quite present. The other issue is that both frozen windmills and frozen batteries are not the best for storing electricity.
 

Lastpointe

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I saw a news item on these things last year. They are really thinking of them for small communities where it is hard to provide power and currently power is created with gas powered generators. Expensive and high polluters

north communities, small northern towns

the item I saw, maybe on W5 ??, highlighted the portability. Put one on a boat or truck and set it up, attach four together and have enough power for a small town

sounded like a great way to get cheap power to the north

just think, three or four could power a community including heating a green house to grow food
 

ninj

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If we keep going in this direction, nuclear won't be going away anytime soon. E Vehicles have to be charged. Massive amounts of power will be needed. I don't believe renewables can do this in the shorter term, anyway.
 

ninj

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Both. But demand reduction would likely be the most practical right now, and there's lots of leeway there -- lots of even small changes to the way things are done. Distances transported etc. That message needs to get out. It would be a nightmare if the e vehicle trend increased demand for fossil fuel generated electricity.
 

Lastpointe

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And e conveniently don’t talk about children mining the needed mineral for Tesla in Africa to be used in batteries

and batteries are a problem. The ones we use at home, how many people actually collect them and drive them to the dump, and the massive ones in cars

its like recycling computers. Done by poor countries and tons of waste and dangerous stuff inside
 

ninj

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And e conveniently don’t talk about children mining the needed mineral for Tesla in Africa to be used in batteries

and batteries are a problem. The ones we use at home, how many people actually collect them and drive them to the dump, and the massive ones in cars

its like recycling computers. Done by poor countries and tons of waste and dangerous stuff inside
I've thought about that too. Rare earth minerals are mined in very few places, relatively. I think more of an effort could be put into extracting those minerals from discarded batteries and devices. If that isn't practical, then r&d needs to be directed to that purpose.
 

ninj

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@Lastpointe said
...just think, three or four could power a community including heating a green house to grow food

Do you think enough of these lit greenhouses would use some of that discharged energy? Could it not possibly supply a small industry of some kind too? Maybe spaceX can carry a modular payload of nuclear waste. Not too far fetched, but then it becomes more space junk and more dangerous up there.
 

Waterfall

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That's a big concern, there's really not a way to dispose of heavy water or radiation.
 

ninj

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That's a big concern, there's really not a way to dispose of heavy water or radiation.
The dilemna remains. I suppose I was thinking just mass reduction without considering water or radiation.
 

ninj

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If we're talking northern communities, it's not likely the local indigenous people would welcome a nuclear power plant. Historically they have had to deal with enough waste and poisons from colonial industries.
 

Mendalla

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We need either fission

What we need is fusion but it is perpetually 10 years away. More power and less waste than fission if we can make it work. For now, our only fusion plant is the big yellow one that fuels solar.

One nice touch would be more incentives for solar on suburban roofs or even mandating them on any house with an orientation that will work. I'm pretty sure mine has the right orientation but I'm not sure I want to sink the money into it. There's a few around me who have, though. Might not be enough to drive the house entirely (e.g. in summer when AC is running) but could be used to charge EVs and general day-to-day power like lights. Those rooftops really aren't doing anything other than absorbing and releasing heat. May as well get some use out of all that energy that's hitting them.
 

BetteTheRed

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is fusion

I stand corrected, of course.

Also agree re roofs. The German engineer who looked after our panels at the church (consult, install, monitor, etc.) claimed that the panels actually extend the life of the roof. My roof is totally unsuitable. Too many trees.
 
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