question for someone who knows more about Nuke power than me.

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Charles_Main, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Charles_Main
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    Charles_Main AR15 Owner

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    As the Problems in Japan have shown. One of the dangers of Nuclear power is the need for power to keep them cool. Lose that power and uh oh.

    So I had an idea, would this work?

    Most plants are built near large bodies of water or the ocean. What if you dug down and so that the cores were well below the lake or Sea level they are next to, then built a damn. In the event of a serious problem the dam is opened and the plant flooded with water which will continue to be replaced by the lake or ocean with out the need for pump.

    Practical?
     
  2. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    The main problem would be containment. You'd have to ensure that radioactivity couldn't contaninate an open body of water. In a meltdown scenario, that might be exactly what you'd be doing.
     
  3. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    Some plants use a modification of this, with a large tank directly over the vessel. The water is often laced with boron, which is a neutron absorber.

    The problem with all quench strategies is that the water that leaves the vessel after cooling it, as either hot water or steam, is radioactive. This is not a huge concern as the isotopes created are often very short lived, redndering the fluid safe quickly, but it still cannot be immediately released for fear of contamination. So basically you need a way to store the liquid used for a time before release. This is hard if the water turns to steam while cooling.

    This is usually why you try to use a closed loop in the primary containment, as you keep the radiation inside.
     
  4. Midnight Marauder
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    You are going to need pumps anyway. For the turbine water. I'll explain.

    People don't understand the purpose of the nuclear pile. It is simply to generate massive amounts of heat, to turn water into superheated steam used to turn turbine generators. It is essentially a super boiler, it doesn't magically make electricity out of radiation. Problem is, once the reaction begins you cannot readily stop the heating until the fuel rods expire. Not like let's say, a gas or coal fired boiler, which you can just shut off.

    People keep saying the pumping of sea water into the core in Japan is a "hail mary pass" when most likely it is simply because due to the earthquake, the utility is no longer able to supply the plant enough water to do the job. One thing the sea water assures: plants who have to use it will never be operational again.

    By the way, had the Japan nuclear power plants had their backup generators installed 20 feet above ground level, the tsunami wouldn't have gotten to them and affected them, and they would never have had a problem at the plant. This is IF the utility water supply wasn't also affected. It was just a confluence of issues causing their problems there. No one foresaw such a huge tsunami.
     
  5. Two Thumbs
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    The basics of that is fairly sound.

    the idea that radiation will poison the water is nominal compared to letting it blow and dealing with it airborn. The reason is that if you submerge the plant, which is what I think you are going with, would cause a lot of rapid cooling with little steam, since it's submerged, the hot water would cool.


    the plants on Nuke subs was designed to melt through the hull if it got to hot.
     
  6. Midnight Marauder
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    Also, if the pressure got too great (wouldn't take much), water would not just flow in by gravity. You would still need to pump it in.

    Toshiba however, DOES have nuclear reactors about the size of a school bus, that are designed to be buried in the ground 90-some feet deep. The Toshiba 4S. also called the "Nuclear Battery." Right now they have a 10MW version, with a 50MW version to come later. Meltdowns and the like aren't a problem, 90 feet underground.

    These are the answer to future nuclear power IMO. They don't rely on water for cooling of the pile.
     
  7. martybegan
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    martybegan Gold Member

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    I assume that the plants would use a modular approach, so the units can be so small that in the event of a SCRAM the residual heat could be removed using natural convection, or even use the earth as a heat sink in case of a catastrophic shutdown.
     
  8. Midnight Marauder
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    I think that's the idea. That and underground containment of any radiation.

    The steam turbines with their attached generators are located above ground in a small building, their super-heated steam and condensate return is also a closed system, using heat exchangers to capture the heat from the pile and transferring this heat to the water inside the heat exchangers. This system is standard also, for conventional nuclear power plants. We're just making lots of super-heated steam people, to turn generators to produce power.

    By the way, when the fuel is expired after 50 years or so, we simply leave them buried and sealed, and install another one on the property and hook it up! Waste storage taken care of!
     
  9. dilloduck
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    Where is Homer Simpson when we need him ?
     
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    Mini nuclear plants to power 20,000 homes | Environment | The Observer

     

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