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'[OT:] Nuclear waste storage - arguments on design '
2004\08\23@213812 by Russell McMahon

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In court haggling over how long proposed nuclear waste repository at Yucca
Mountain has to be designed to be safe for.

EPA set 10,000 year limit
National Academy of Science set 100,000 year limit.
Radioactive danger lifetime is > 100,000 years.


http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/23/opinion/23mon1.html?th=&pagewanted=print&position=

New York times site.

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2004\08\23@220131 by Bob Axtell

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Fellow engineers, how does one even MARK THE SITE, much less keep a site
safe
from human curiosity for 10K to 100K years?  I can't even keep the
neighbor kids from
skateboarding on my sidewalk.

Looks pretty hopeless, to me....

--Bob:  normally the positive, upbeat one...


Russell McMahon wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\24@001722 by Dave VanHorn

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At 09:01 PM 8/23/2004, Bob Axtell wrote:

>Fellow engineers, how does one even MARK THE SITE, much less keep a site
>safe
>from human curiosity for 10K to 100K years?  I can't even keep the
>neighbor kids from
>skateboarding on my sidewalk.
>
>Looks pretty hopeless, to me....

There's a book on this, called "Deep time".

I suggested that they surround the site with fortifications, all arranged in a circle.
The idea being to convey that there's something dangerous in the center.

Other suggestions, believe it or not, extended to burying CD-Roms at the site.

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2004\08\24@003602 by Russell McMahon

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> Fellow engineers, how does one even MARK THE SITE, much less keep a site
> safe from human curiosity for 10K to 100K years?  I can't even keep the
> neighbor kids from skateboarding on my sidewalk.

- Arrange for it to go critical every 100 years or so?
People would soon learn.

- Seriously - it seems unlikely that people will forget it's there.

- We are currently utterly incapable of being SURE that we can provide safe
storage over even 1,000 years. Walk quietly and steadily away from anyone
who is sure you can, keep your hands in sight and don't make any sudden
moves, when you get round the corner run as fast as you can. Certainty to
more binary places than you want to write is the only reasonable solution
for such legacies. Walk quietly and steadily away from anyone who disagrees.
Keep ....

There ARE in fact essentially "certain" systems potentially available. They
are hard to do and costly and so far non existant. They boil down to (pun
slightly intended in the present context) either fundamental destruction or
removal from environment. (See - told you they can't be done practically yet
:-) ). [[eg a space elevator ("beanstalk") would allow you to discard waste
into space at an economic cost. The risk of loosing such a payload during
disposal is part of the cost of doing business. It happens to your world
now, not your descendants' world later. The dangers posed by a beanstalk are
so much larger in magnitude that the mere loss of some radioactive waste
material is trivial :-) compared.

- There is reasonable reason to hope that, should the human race actually be
around that long, that they will be able to sort out such things as the
Yucca store in due course when it inevitably goes wrong. That doesn't mean
they won't curse us chapter and verse over the 100 years or so that it takes
them to tunnel deep enough and put in place enough impervious layers etc to
plug what we build now, and spend the few trillions that it will take to
clean up the leakage that somehow inexplicably happened.

- Related but not quite on topic: What sort of information storage and
retrieval systems are going to allow people 100, 1000 and 10000 years from
now to access information on what was done when by who and why? The very
very very best we have now might be good for 100 years with a good tail
wind. Paper systems are in fact almost as good as it gets (!). (Access times
may leave something to desire).

       RM




   Russell McMahon

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2004\08\24@003813 by Engineering Info

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I'm reminded of a few episodes of Star Trek Voyager where the Maylon?
transport their toxic waste off in ships and dump it elsewhere.  I
suspect we will do the same at some point in the future and send all our
nuclear waste off on a trip towards the Sun.  With the privatization of
the space program, it could be sooner then we think.

Bob Axtell wrote:

{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\24@004223 by Dave VanHorn

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>
>- Related but not quite on topic: What sort of information storage and
>retrieval systems are going to allow people 100, 1000 and 10000 years from
>now to access information on what was done when by who and why? The very
>very very best we have now might be good for 100 years with a good tail
>wind. Paper systems are in fact almost as good as it gets (!). (Access times
>may leave something to desire).

This is where the CDROM suggestion just about cost me a keyboard.

Graven images in stone seem to still be the archival method of choice.
You have to make sure though, that bandits won't run off with the markers.

Grab the book, you'll like it.

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2004\08\24@033747 by Bob Axtell

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Russell McMahon wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Notice, Russell, how easy it is for us to pass on to nameless future
generations, things that are too distasteful
for us to do in our own time? In my more religious past, I was taught
that one should never pass on ones problems
to the next generation- to do so is sinful. But we regularly pass on
endless, grinding DEBT from one generation
to the next without a passing thought. I guess I am getting too old...

>- There is reasonable reason to hope that, should the human race actually be
>around that long, that they will be able to sort out such things as the
>Yucca store in due course when it inevitably goes wrong. That doesn't mean
>they won't curse us chapter and verse over the 100 years or so that it takes
>them to tunnel deep enough and put in place enough impervious layers etc to
>plug what we build now, and spend the few trillions that it will take to
>clean up the leakage that somehow inexplicably happened.
>
>
>
Just think. As bad as it is, the US national debt could be dealt with in
7-8 generations, 150 years or so. But
the national radioactive dump site will have to be managed PERFECTLY for
1000 generations or so. Tended,
carefully guarded, like a national shrine- which it truly is. It will
for 1000 generations be know as the "shame of
the 20th century: Nuclear Electricity".

>- Related but not quite on topic: What sort of information storage and
>retrieval systems are going to allow people 100, 1000 and 10000 years from
>now to access information on what was done when by who and why? The very
>very very best we have now might be good for 100 years with a good tail
>wind. Paper systems are in fact almost as good as it gets (!). (Access times
>may leave something to desire)
>
>
I certainly hope that this lesson is not lost on us. You young engineers
out there: it IS in your realm of
responsibility to ensure that YOU don't help damage the earth with
another such crackpot idea. Just say
NO.

--Bob

{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\24@051906 by Jinx

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> > Fellow engineers, how does one even MARK THE SITE, much
> > less keep a site safe from human curiosity for 10K to 100K years?

In this fact sheet about Yucca Mountain (how long before it's Yucky
Mountain ?)

http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/ymp/about/quickfacts.shtml

mention is made of the soil being vocanic. So maybe the site's safe from
beneath, but say in the next Ice Age a glacier comes sweeping across
Nevada, a glacier big enough to drive the very hookers out of Vegas,
and obliterates the top of the site. Leaving it as anonymous as it is now.
Maybe over several thousand years of an Ice Age it could be forgotten
about or lost accurate track of for some reason

I propose a race of Goodyear Blimp people.........

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2004\08\24@064152 by Russell McMahon

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> In this fact sheet about Yucca Mountain (how long before it's Yucky
> Mountain ?)
>
> http://www.ocrwm.doe.gov/ymp/about/quickfacts.shtml
>
> mention is made of the soil being vocanic. So maybe the site's safe from
> beneath, ...


All the arguments to do it suggest that the site is a good one. It is well
above the water table and the underlying rock has apparently been stable for
time immemorial. (Whatever that may actually mean :-) ).

I'm not questioning the validity of the best case we can make based on
present knowledge and assumptions. I'm questioning our ability to be sure
enough that in 1000, 10000 or 100000 years the assumptions will prove valid
or the present knowledge will look other than ludicrous.

At such time scales, Murphy's extended law applies - "What can go  wrong
will go wrong. And what can't go wrong will as well."



       RM

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2004\08\24@080534 by Jake Anderson

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i think the only solution for nuclear waste is to re process it
into highly radioactive stuff (which you can use for fuel)
and into material which while you wouldnt want to build your house out of it
"isnt that bad" TM. then go and drop that into some deep ocean subduction
zone.
ideally you would re-process your spent fuel into real fuel, non radioactive
material and re-fry your partial decomposition products into highly
radioactive
material (which will degrade faster)

you have to keep the life of your waste in system down to about 30 years
(ideally you would keep it to whatever duration your local political term
is)

> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\24@081610 by D. Jay Newman

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> I'm not questioning the validity of the best case we can make based on
> present knowledge and assumptions. I'm questioning our ability to be sure
> enough that in 1000, 10000 or 100000 years the assumptions will prove valid
> or the present knowledge will look other than ludicrous.

I think the best suggestion I've seen (I forget where, probably an Analog
fact article) is to use a better space shuttle and throw it at the moon.
Not randomly, of course, but choose a crater that is large enough for a
small margin of error with high enough walls to shield anybody who decides
to visit or live near there sometime in the future.

That way we get the stuff off of Earth where it's dangerous, but still
store it so that we can go get it if we decide it's useful later.

> At such time scales, Murphy's extended law applies - "What can go  wrong
> will go wrong. And what can't go wrong will as well."

I fully agree with that one.

And the problem isn't just geologicial, but also political. I'm not sure
I want the same people (and I use the term loosely) who can't plan roads
five years in the future planning for hundreds of thousands of years...
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2004\08\24@085422 by Howard Winter

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Dave,

On Mon, 23 Aug 2004 23:06:10 -0500, Dave VanHorn wrote:

> I suggested that they surround the site with fortifications, all arranged in a circle.
> The idea being to convey that there's something dangerous in the center.
>
> Other suggestions, believe it or not, extended to burying CD-Roms at the site.

I can see it now, 5,000 years hence...

"Here we are at the site that's been dubbed "Disc Henge".  The archaeologists have discovered concentric rings
of fortifications, although a lot of them have collapsed, and it's obvious that at the centre is likely to be
a feature of great significance to the ancient builders.  Whether this was a defensive structure or if it had
ritual significance is hotly debated at the moment.  The shiny discs that have given the place its name have
only ever been found in small clusters before, and never arranged over an area like this.  They were
previously thought to be used for decorative purposes, as the rainbow-shine they give is very dramatic in
sunlight, so they could be a dedication to the Sun-god, but arranged in circles like this they seem to mark
out the approaches to the centre "shrine".  They may be an indication of the rank of people allowed into that
circle - the closer to the centre they are allowed, the higher status a person would be.  At the centre of the
circles the archaeologists have detected a chamber, with very strongly fortified walls.  It is thought that
this was the holy-of-holies, only accessible to the chosen few.  Since it has no obvious doorway, it has been
decided that a controlled explosion with a shaped charge will be used to blow a hole in a wall, to allow
access to the inside..."

:-)

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\08\24@093233 by Jake Anderson

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dont forget the mysterious curse the locals say will haunt anybody who
enters it ;->

personally i think archival "for all time" would be best achieved with gold
and platanum
plates, say .25mm thick, cut the gold letters out and fill with platanum (or
vice versa)

Downside to that is it is inherently valuablle, and is likley to be melted
down as soon
as the next dark age dawns.

something i've been interested is the "bootstrap book", how to start your
own civilisation
and bring it up to our current level of technoligy assuming all you start
with is 23 guys
and 7 gals or whatever that magic number is.
presumably volumes 1 through 17 would get you to the point where you can
read the high density
data store attached to the back page of the 17th volume.

data life seems to be related fairly directly to data density
images carved on stone blocks probbly have the lowest data density of any
storage medium
seems that that is a moderatly relable way of carrying data for 200 years
when kept in a
suitablle pyramid.

paper requires better handling to survive it seems but provides the best
data volume / data size
ratio. The solution to the probem of paper is to get sombody to copy it
every X hundred years.

computer data is much the same as paper except it needs to be refreshed
every 10 years or so
(and migrated to the newest storage medium), upside is one person could
probbly (easily)
maintain a complete digital archive of all written data from the start to
about 300 years ago
or so and as a bonus it would probbly only occupy a moderate sizesd
warehouse


> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\24@115142 by gacrowell

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>
> This is where the CDROM suggestion just about cost me a keyboard.
>
> Graven images in stone seem to still be the archival method of choice.
> You have to make sure though, that bandits won't run off with
> the markers.
>
> Grab the book, you'll like it.

Funny that you mention that now, I've had it on my wish list for some time and just ordered it last week (used).  sounds interesting.

Gary Crowell

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2004\08\24@131117 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> I think the best suggestion I've seen (I forget where,
> probably an Analog
> fact article) is to use a better space shuttle and throw it
> at the moon.

Using the past as indication of shuttle accuracy, how radioactive would
the shuttle launch site be now if the waste produced up to now would
have been sent to the moon this way (well, most of it)?

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\24@133608 by D. Jay Newman

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> > I think the best suggestion I've seen (I forget where,
> > probably an Analog
> > fact article) is to use a better space shuttle and throw it
> > at the moon.
>
> Using the past as indication of shuttle accuracy, how radioactive would
> the shuttle launch site be now if the waste produced up to now would
> have been sent to the moon this way (well, most of it)?

I did say a *better* shuttle. The current one is a political compromise
rather than a truely workable shuttle.
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2004\08\24@143522 by Andrew Warren

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Bob Axtell <TakeThisOuTPICLISTEraseMEspamspam_OUTmitvma.mit.edu> wrote:

> Fellow engineers, how does one even MARK THE SITE

   One starts and popularizes a religion that deems the site holy or
   sacred. It's been a long time, but people still know where the
   Wailing Wall is, right?

   -Andy

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=== Principal Design Engineer
=== Cypress Semiconductor Corporation

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2004\08\24@150025 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> I did say a *better* shuttle. The current one is a political
> compromise rather than a truely workable shuttle.

You mean the one with O-rings made from unobtainium? In that case you
might as well use the same techniques to build a space elevator :)

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\24@152313 by D. Jay Newman

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> > I did say a *better* shuttle. The current one is a political
> > compromise rather than a truely workable shuttle.
>
> You mean the one with O-rings made from unobtainium? In that case you
> might as well use the same techniques to build a space elevator :)

No, I'm thinking about the shuttles that may come from the technology
developed from the X-Prize.
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2004\08\24@154803 by Kevin

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On Tue, 24 Aug 2004, D. Jay Newman wrote:

> > > I did say a *better* shuttle. The current one is a political
> > > compromise rather than a truely workable shuttle.
> >
> > You mean the one with O-rings made from unobtainium? In that case you
> > might as well use the same techniques to build a space elevator :)
>
> No, I'm thinking about the shuttles that may come from the technology
> developed from the X-Prize.

Well, I believe I read somewhere that the rocket used on
Burt's plane would have to be 70 times more powerful to
reach orbit. So, I think were back to the Saturn 5 rockets
again to reach the moon.

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2004\08\24@164831 by Hopkins

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Have not followed the full discussion but I have always thought why not
send nuclear waste to the SUN.

After all it is just a nuclear furnace that would burn the waste.

OK it may take thousands of years to get to the sun & at a high cost to
lunch it on its way but at least it is of this planet.

_______________________________________

Roy Hopkins
22 Grenada Street
Tauranga
New Zealand
_______________________________________



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2004\08\24@165454 by D. Jay Newman

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> Have not followed the full discussion but I have always thought why not
> send nuclear waste to the SUN.

Deorbiting anything to fall into the Sun is expensive. The moon is a *much*
easier target. And we can get it again if we want it.
--
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2004\08\24@174831 by Peter L. Peres

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Could they not powder it (well glass granulate or sinter or such) and mix
it with the waste rock and earth where it came from, and fill in the mine
with it ? If the uranium had been left alone and had radioactively decayed
in situ it would have ended up exactly like that, no ? Excepting for the
higher concentration (and thus activity) of decay products ? After all
using U from a mine in a reactor is like turning the clock of natural U
decay in fast forward mode. I am not saying it is simple or cheap. It
could double the cost of extraction (if it works at all).

Peter

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2004\08\24@180111 by Howard Winter

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On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 16:47:09 -0400, D. Jay Newman wrote:

> > Have not followed the full discussion but I have
always thought why not
> > send nuclear waste to the SUN.
>
> Deorbiting anything to fall into the Sun is expensive.

I don't understand this - if you've left Earth orbit
(which takes accelerating to escape velocity and costs
the same whichever way you go, I believe) if you do it
in a Sunwards direction, it will get there, surely?
Where does the extra energy (expense) come into it?

> The moon is a *much* easier target.

Why?

> And we can get it again if we want it.

I thought we were talking about stuff that we wanted rid
of - otherwise we'd use it!  Or store it for later
use...

Cheers,



Howard Winter
St.Albans, England

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2004\08\24@181320 by D. Jay Newman

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> On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 16:47:09 -0400, D. Jay Newman wrote:
>
> > > Have not followed the full discussion but I have
> always thought why not
> > > send nuclear waste to the SUN.
> >
> > Deorbiting anything to fall into the Sun is expensive.
>
> I don't understand this - if you've left Earth orbit
> (which takes accelerating to escape velocity and costs
> the same whichever way you go, I believe) if you do it
> in a Sunwards direction, it will get there, surely?
> Where does the extra energy (expense) come into it?

The earth is orbiting the sun at a given speed. The cost to deaccelerate
something so that it falls into the sun is quite a bit more than just to
throw it at the moon.

> > The moon is a *much* easier target.
>
> Why?

Because the moon is closer and you could throw the stuff fairly accurately.
You don't have to bother to deaccelerate the waste. It could crash land
just fine in a designated area.

> > And we can get it again if we want it.
>
> I thought we were talking about stuff that we wanted rid
> of - otherwise we'd use it!  Or store it for later
> use...

We can't use it *now* and it's too dangerous to leave around here.
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2004\08\24@184319 by Dal Wheeler

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Think of the energy savings we could enjoy by having a permanent full moon
with all the glowing waste overhead!  :)

{Original Message removed}

2004\08\24@185147 by Bob Ammerman

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The waste products are MUCH nastier than natural uranium.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

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From: "Peter L. Peres" <RemoveMEplpspam_OUTspamKILLspamACTCOM.CO.IL>
To: <RemoveMEPICLISTTakeThisOuTspamspamMITVMA.MIT.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 12:48 AM
Subject: Re: [OT:] Nuclear waste storage - arguments on design lifetime


{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\24@191505 by Dave Tweed

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"D. Jay Newman" <EraseMEjayspamspamspamBeGoneSPRUCEGROVE.COM> wrote:
> > On Tue, 24 Aug 2004 16:47:09 -0400, D. Jay Newman wrote:
> >
> > > > Have not followed the full discussion but I have always thought
> > > > why not send nuclear waste to the SUN.
> > >
> > > Deorbiting anything to fall into the Sun is expensive.
> >
> > I don't understand this - if you've left Earth orbit (which takes
> > accelerating to escape velocity and costs the same whichever way you
> > go, I believe) if you do it in a Sunwards direction, it will get
> > there, surely? Where does the extra energy (expense) come into it?
>
> The earth is orbiting the sun at a given speed. The cost to deaccelerate
> something so that it falls into the sun is quite a bit more than just to
> throw it at the moon.

You keep saying that, but only a fool would send stuff to the sun that way.

Instead, use Venus to slingshot it into the sun at high speed rather than
just letting it fall. It would take less than half a year to get to Venus
on a minimum-fuel elliptical transfer orbit, and then less than 40 days
after that, it would be in the sun.

Remember, any orbit that intersects the surface of the sun will do the
job. It doesn't have to be a slow one!

Furthermore, if we send enough junk that way, we'll eventually boost Venus
to a higher orbit, and maybe it will become habitable. (just kidding! :-)

-- Dave Tweed

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2004\08\24@192543 by Russell McMahon

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> > I did say a *better* shuttle. The current one is a political
> > compromise rather than a truely workable shuttle.
>
> You mean the one with O-rings made from unobtainium? In that case you
> might as well use the same techniques to build a space elevator :)

Elevator is liable to be technologically viable in the next decade or so,
possibly now. No point in building one absolutely as soon as you can when
it's certain that it will be better, cheaper AND faster a little later on.

Economic viability and general desirability are another matter. This project
would dwarf  (virtually?) any other man made one AND would need you to know
what you are actually going to do with it :-).

       RM

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2004\08\24@192543 by Russell McMahon

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> > Deorbiting anything to fall into the Sun is expensive.

> > The moon is a *much* easier target.

> Why?

It's severly "downhill" and, unlike on earth, there are no friction or drag
losses. newtin reigns supreme. The energy that it would take to launch a
rocket from the sun into earth orbit has to be removed to reach the sun. A
possible energy saving method is to severly decircularise the orbit into a
VERY flat ellipse so that you transit the suns 'atmosphere"  at ultra high
velocity on a subsequent pass. You then have vvvv high speed objects in
orbits which reach outside earth orbit at very high velocities. If you have
enough of these Murphy says that you can be near certain that sooner or
later you are going to get one back.

> > And we can get it again if we want it.

> I thought we were talking about stuff that we wanted rid
> of - otherwise we'd use it!  Or store it for later
> use...

Sooner or later (should we last that long) it will be a useful resource.
What is un-handleable now will not be in due course. Probably. Placing it on
the Moon IS storing it for later use and in a place that, while not utterly
safe, is more utterly safe than anywhere on earth. Once you actually get it
there.


       RM

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2004\08\24@193206 by Herbert Graf

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On Tue, 2004-08-24 at 18:06, D. Jay Newman wrote:
> The earth is orbiting the sun at a given speed. The cost to deaccelerate
> something so that it falls into the sun is quite a bit more than just to
> throw it at the moon.

True, but doing it that way isn't the only way, it isn't even the best
way. Remember, ANY orbit that intersects the sun's surface will suffice,
it wouldn't take much computation to find a good combination of factors
to get the trash to do that. You don't just aim something at something,
give it a bunch of thrust, and have it hit target, that doesn't work
well on earth, that doesn't work well at all in space.

{Quote hidden}

Right, so sending it out into space is a solution??? That's what we've
BEEN doing in a way, sending junk to a land fill "far away". Space is
just another landfill that's far away to many people.

Oh, and what about that one load of nuclear waste that DOESN'T make it
to space, and instead rains down on us, yup, that's a good plan. Sorry,
but this whole "put junk in space" idea just seems silly to me. In fact
there's already enough junk left by us in Earth orbit today, and we
didn't MEAN for it to be junk left up there. TTYL

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2004\08\24@200732 by Roy Ward

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On Wed, 25 Aug 2004 11:32, Herbert Graf wrote:

> Oh, and what about that one load of nuclear waste that DOESN'T make
> it to space, and instead rains down on us, yup, that's a good plan.
> Sorry, but this whole "put junk in space" idea just seems silly to
> me. In fact there's already enough junk left by us in Earth orbit
> today, and we didn't MEAN for it to be junk left up there. TTYL

Well, one advantage of sending it somewhere like the moon/sun is that
whether or not it makes it, we get a result now - either it makes it,
in which case it is out of our hair for good (or until we colonise the
moon in that case), if it doesn't make it, it rains down on our heads,
and we suffer now rather than leaving it to our descendents.

What I don't like is the ostrich-like "lets use as much as we like and
bury it now and let future generations pay the price" (either by having
to look after it or getting contaminated by it) approach - if there was
a risk of a rain of radioactive debris _now_ every time we get rid of
waste, at least we might consider the true cost of nuclear power.

Of course, as you point out with space option, there is the chance of
accidentally putting it in orbit as space junk, which is the worst of
both worlds.

Cheers,
Roy Ward.

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2004\08\24@214711 by Bob Axtell

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Roy Ward wrote:

> What I don't like is the ostrich-like "lets use as much as we like and
> bury it now and let future generations pay the price" (either by
> having to look after it or getting contaminated by it) approach - if
> there was a risk of a rain of radioactive debris _now_ every time we
> get rid of waste, at least we might consider the true cost of nuclear
> power.

Roy, would you believe that a well-known scientific accepted an
advertisement in its pages, for the Atomic Energy Commission in the
1950s. The article describes how wonderful things will be with Nuclear
Energy. The ad ran on "electricity will be so cheap that it will not be
necessary to meter it." <sigh> Thats YOUR tax dollars at work.

The true costs of Nuclear Energy will be paid in lives for generations
to come, small "isolated accidents", etc.

--Bob


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2004\08\24@224940 by Russell McMahon

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> The true costs of Nuclear Energy will be paid in lives for generations
> to come, small "isolated accidents", etc.

True. But it's worth noting that SO FAR the cost in lives per Petajoule (or
whatever) is lower for nuclear than for many alternatives. For example, the
health cost of using coal, in mining, transportation and pollution, is far
higher than for nuclear. The trouble with nuclear is that we are creating
disposal problem that we don't yet have solutions for and trying to pass
them on to future generations.



       RM

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2004\08\25@021950 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> True. But it's worth noting that SO FAR the cost in lives per
> Petajoule (or
> whatever) is lower for nuclear than for many alternatives.

Yeah, the *know* costs are lower, if *known* is defined as everything we
can not put on someone elses backyard :)

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\25@021951 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> After all
> using U from a mine in a reactor is like turning the clock of
> natural U
> decay in fast forward mode.

Not exactly, nulear core waste is unlike anything found naturally.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\25@064426 by Russell McMahon

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> > True. But it's worth noting that SO FAR the cost in lives per
> > Petajoule (or
> > whatever) is lower for nuclear than for many alternatives.
>
> Yeah, the *know* costs are lower, if *known* is defined as everything we
> can not put on someone elses backyard :)

I suspect that the unknown cost of eg coal is higher percentage wise than
the unknown cost of nuclear. Nuclear dangers are reasonably well defined.
Even if people argue over the implications of the epidemiologically abnormal
cancer rates in close proximity to the Windscale/Sellafield waste processing
plants, you can in most cases be reasonably certain as to the upper
statistical limits of what you are doing to yourselves with nuclear system.
Coal ash is spread so widely and there is so much of it that its deleterious
affects are less certain.

I am by no means a nuclear apologist, but I do feel that IF one could solve
the waste problem (quite an if alas :-( ) then it would transform the
relative merits of the system.

The "sensible" thing to do is to pursue fusion with the zeal it deserves. I
really cannot conceive why this is not being done. Funding at 100 times the
present level would be justified. The first versions of fusion are also
going to have waste problems but when you get to Helium 3 fusion you have
essentially no waste products. Maybe we could install the first fusion
plants in Yucca mountain until we are certain we have got the containment
right :-)

If we do things correctly then, by the time we get the first beanstalk
commissioned to provide the safe down trip to earth, the Lunar flingers will
be delivering Helium 3 mined from the Moon's "topsoil" to power the new
fusion reactors :-). One can dream.


       RM

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2004\08\25@070254 by Wouter van Ooijen

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> I suspect that the unknown cost of eg coal is higher
> percentage wise than
> the unknown cost of nuclear. Nuclear dangers are reasonably
> well defined.
> Even if people argue over the implications of the
> epidemiologically abnormal
> cancer rates in close proximity to the Windscale/Sellafield
> waste processing
> plants, you can in most cases be reasonably certain as to the upper
> statistical limits of what you are doing to yourselves with
> nuclear system.

But the dangers of nulclear waste are very a-social, in the sense that
we get the benefits and (a large part of) the problems are left to our
ancestors.

> I am by no means a nuclear apologist, but I do feel that IF
> one could solve
> the waste problem (quite an if alas :-( ) then it would transform the
> relative merits of the system.

Agreed, compared to the other problems (reactor safety etc) the waste
problem *is* the nulclear problem!

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\25@104457 by Mike Hord

picon face
>The "sensible" thing to do is to pursue fusion with the zeal it deserves. I
>really cannot conceive why this is not being done. Funding at 100 times the
>present level would be justified. The first versions of fusion are also
>going to have waste problems but when you get to Helium 3 fusion you have
>essentially no waste products. Maybe we could install the first fusion
>plants in Yucca mountain until we are certain we have got the containment
>right :-)
>
>If we do things correctly then, by the time we get the first beanstalk
>commissioned to provide the safe down trip to earth, the Lunar flingers
>will
>be delivering Helium 3 mined from the Moon's "topsoil" to power the new
>fusion reactors :-). One can dream.

This is a question I've long had.  With the small but growing number of
Internet billionaires, and rogue nations willing to spend whatever it takes
to achieve military supremacy, why haven't any of these characters done
some real research into fusion energy?

Rather than taking over with guns, take over with ultra-cheap energy
technology.  I suspect it would be rather more effective, and could
make a number of the mega-rich into something even more than that.

Of course, it may be for the best that none of THEM have hit upon
this idea.

Mike H.

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2004\08\25@132414 by Peter L. Peres

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> The waste products are MUCH nastier than natural uranium.

I know but how far can you afford to dilute them ? Do you have an idea of
the size of scrap rock and earth mountains spread all over the world from
mineral mining ? And after dilution, the waste would go back in the earth.
Someone would *pay* to remove the dirt mountains and fill the mine with
it. Any poor sod wanting to dig it out in 10,000 years would have to build
a new mine, and concentrate the ore to make something dangerous to
himself. And there would be no markers ;-) I am pretty sure the hottest
waste can be ground down and diluted to the point where the dilute would
be no more radioactive than natural uranium ore and you could carry a bag
of it in your trouser pocket for a couple of days (like Pierre Curie did
?). It's a money thing. The highly diluted waste would be unattractive
even for terrorists and moderately wealthy nations with ambitions.

By the way, there is an interview with a man who witnessed the Chernobyl
accident in newscientist.com (he was a nuclear engineer employed there).
Must read. I do not have the url handy.

Peter

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2004\08\25@132416 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>> Deorbiting anything to fall into the Sun is expensive.
>
>I don't understand this - if you've left Earth orbit
>(which takes accelerating to escape velocity and costs
>the same whichever way you go, I believe) if you do it
>in a Sunwards direction, it will get there, surely?
>Where does the extra energy (expense) come into it?

An object that escapes the gravity well of earth still has the energy
associated with the earth's orbit in the gravity well of the sun (it has
less if it escapes 'backwards' wrt earth orbit motion). To go 'in' it has
to lose energy until its perihelion is tangent to the sun's 'atmosphere'
(low enough that it is slowed down and its next apohelion is safely lower
than earth's orbit). If it is not tangent it will come back to haunt you
(or your distant offspring) in the form of a comet/asteroid and if it is
well built it will not break up as asteroids do and eventually
impact/reenter earth with a great probability. Aditionally, shooting the
sun is much harder than shooting the moon so whatever you send out will
have to be instrumented and working well for a few years at least, carry
fuel, respond to remote control, be able to maneouver etc.

Peter

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2004\08\25@132417 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>moon in that case), if it doesn't make it, it rains down on our heads,
>and we suffer now rather than leaving it to our descendents.

You are wrong about that imho. A slight miss on an object on a Hohman
(sp?) orbit with apohelion at earth orbit level and perihelion above the
sun (that's the miss) would have maximum probability to impact with earth,
but it may take 1000 years to do so.

Peter

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2004\08\25@185035 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
How DARE you pollute my sun that way! Just because you pulled that toxic
fuel out of the ground under my feet doesn't mean that you can get away with
disposing of it inside our own solar system.

Someone has done a really good job of public opinion manipulation when we
are talking about "disposing" of a "waste" that we mined from the earth
itself. It's a good thing we have oil and gas which are disposed of when
they are burned; right?

We should start a group that aims to restore the earth to its natural state
by a (horribly expensive) process which converts spent fuel rods back into
the "more natural" form of uranium and then sprinkles it back into abandoned
mines.

P.S. Just for those whose brains have been REALLY well washed, the above is
sarcasm. A brief statistics report:
Number of people killed in Nuke accidents world wide, ever: about 30,000.
Terrorist casualties in the USA, ever: about 3000.
Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.

Number of people killed in mass transit systems potentially powered by
electricity from nuke generators per year: about 300.
http://www.usc.edu/isd/archives/la/historic/redcars/


Number of people killed in POV's (privately owned vehicles) PER YEAR in the
USA ALONE: about 60,000

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\25@185449 by Dave VanHorn

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>
>Number of people killed in Nuke accidents world wide, ever: about 30,000.

How much of this is Chernobyl?

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2004\08\25@195304 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
Says who? Why?

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\25@200057 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
Scripture and verse? As my bible thumping mother used to say. In other
words, says who and why?

I've researched this (some) before and as far as I can tell, the only
difference is the radiation being produced per unit time. The total output
of radiation is actually less than the natural substance. In a few thousand
or even hundred years, the result will be the same if not better. And
compared to the massive size of the earth and the natural shielding
available, the short term risk is almost nil. The only possible problem is
transportation of the waste back up onto the surface by water, eruption
etc... And that is the same for the naturally occurring substance.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\25@201213 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
Most of it. And that assumes that all the people who stayed (yes, people
decided to stay) will die....
...there are about  800 left last I heard.

It does NOT include WWII atomic bomb deaths.

And, to be honest, that is a very rough estimate.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\25@201628 by Jason S

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face
The half-life of U-235 (as used in nuclear reactors) is 700 million years.
Naturally occuring uranium is mostly U-238 which has a half-life of 4.5
billion years.

It gives off so little radiation that at the Science Centre near hear they
have a display on density with large bricks of aluminum, lead, and uranium
that visitors can pick up to feel the differences in weights.

Pu-239 (the isotope of plutonium used in atomic bombs, and one of the more
stable waste products of nuclear power production) has a half life of 24,000
years. It's 200,000 times more radioactive than naturally occuring uranium.
Pu-241 is another waste product and it has a half life of 14 years.

Jason

From: "James Newton, Host" <@spam@jamesnewton@spam@spamspam_OUTPICLIST.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 4:52 PM


> Says who? Why?

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2004\08\25@211438 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
Ok, but the net release of radiation is the same or less. And when you
compare the mass involved with the mass of the earth, waiting thousands of
years for it to settle down is not an issue.

Compare the area of the U-238 mine, actually the area of the U-238 that was
mined, with the available area of the earth. This far (FAR) exceeds a factor
of 200,000.

Also, the spent fuel rods contain about 94% irradiated Uranium, 1% plutonium
isotopes and 5% various other isotopes. So the problem is even less. Only 6%
of the original fuel rod is radiating at an accelerated rate. The resulting
radiation level is not 200,000 times the radiation of the original U-238.
Over the short term, it is much higher, but in 1,000 years it will be much
lower. Reprocessing can separate the U-239 from the U-238 and thereby reduce
the physical volume of the stuff we have to worry about.

Our hang up is on storage of the concentrated high level waste as a means of
disposal. Any method of permanent storage would have to prevent the waste
from getting into the hydrological (water) cycle, and it would also have to
be placed in a geologically stable area where events like earthquakes and
volcanoes would not disturb the storage site. At present, two alternatives
are to bury containers of nuclear waste in natural salt formations where
there is no presence of water, or in deep (1000m) disposal vaults in
granitic rock. But, there is always the chance that it will get back into
contact with humans in its concentrated form.

A better solution would be to, literally, break it up into finer and finer
solution and spray it over the surface of the earth. Sounds absolutely mad
doesn't it? <GRIN> But that really is the safest way to do it. Soil
naturally contains a variety of radioactive materials - uranium, thorium,
radium and the radioactive gas radon which is continually escaping to the
atmosphere. Naturally-occurring radioactive materials are widespread
throughout the environment, although concentrations are very low and they
are not normally harmful.

Practically, taking a single part of a single rod, breaking it up and
dumping it into the ocean to be diluted the rest of the way is a perfectly
sensible method for solving the energy crisis.

But you couldn't convince anyone of it.

Aren't you glad I'm not on the NRC? <GRIN> Have to run, I hear a black
helicopter coming.

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> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\25@221656 by Roy Ward

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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 12:13, Peter L. Peres wrote:
> >moon in that case), if it doesn't make it, it rains down on our
> > heads, and we suffer now rather than leaving it to our descendents.
>
> You are wrong about that imho. A slight miss on an object on a Hohman
> (sp?) orbit with apohelion at earth orbit level and perihelion above
> the sun (that's the miss) would have maximum probability to impact
> with earth, but it may take 1000 years to do so.

Good point.

I withdraw any support I have for space disposal until such time (if
ever) that space travel advances to the point that we can reliably
monitor that we get the orbit right, and do something about fixing it
(possibly at huge cost - we'd need to intercept the thing) if we get it
wrong.

Cheers,
Roy Ward.

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2004\08\25@221904 by Roy Ward

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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 13:13, James Newton, Host wrote:
> Ok, but the net release of radiation is the same or less. And when
> you compare the mass involved with the mass of the earth, waiting
> thousands of years for it to settle down is not an issue.

Rather than talking about the net radiation, you really need to consider
radiation as a function of time. Sure, over hundreds of millions of
years, the net radiation will be less, but over hundreds or even
thousands of years, it will be a lot more. I really don't think we need
to worry about the hundreds of millions of years timescale. I'm not
sure where the breakpoint is.

Also, the effects of radiation are not linear - I don't think twice as
much radiation does twice as much damage (I think it may in at least
some cases do more).

> Compare the area of the U-238 mine, actually the area of the U-238
> that was mined, with the available area of the earth. This far (FAR)
> exceeds a factor of 200,000.

There is also the point that U-238/U-235 before it is mined is mostly
sitting underground, presumably somewhere relatively geologically
stable (or it wouldn't still be there) decaying away where it's not
really affecting anyone - it's not in our immediate environment.

<snip>

> A better solution would be to, literally, break it up into finer and
> finer solution and spray it over the surface of the earth. Sounds
> absolutely mad doesn't it? <GRIN> But that really is the safest way
> to do it. Soil naturally contains a variety of radioactive materials
> - uranium, thorium, radium and the radioactive gas radon which is
> continually escaping to the atmosphere. Naturally-occurring
> radioactive materials are widespread throughout the environment,
> although concentrations are very low and they are not normally
> harmful.

In some ways I kind of like that idea :-) As long as it can be
convincingly demonstrated that properties of that solution that makes
it at least an order of magnitude less harmful than the naturally
occurring stuff - remember, there is chemistry (such as strontium-90 is
much worse than it's radiation profile would suggest, because it gets
into our bones) and different types of radiation to consider too, not
just the amount of radiation.

In the interests of polluter pays, I would make one suggested change -
the land area of those countries that use nuclear power should be
adequate, rather than the whole surface of the earth :) Perhaps just
send the appropriate tiny amount of it out with the power bill ;-).

What I'd like to see us get a way from is the current pushing the costs
(whatever they are) onto someone else - either our descendants, or (as
happened with nuclear testing in the pacific) another area of the
world.

> Aren't you glad I'm not on the NRC? <GRIN> Have to run, I hear a
> black helicopter coming.

I don't think that's a helicopter ... I think thats the approach of
several thousand annoyed greenies ...

Cheers,
Roy Ward.

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2004\08\25@222940 by Dave VanHorn

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face
>
>There is also the point that U-238/U-235 before it is mined is mostly
>sitting underground, presumably somewhere relatively geologically
>stable (or it wouldn't still be there) decaying away where it's not
>really affecting anyone - it's not in our immediate environment.

Also, not all radiation is equal.
Plutonium 239 is an alpha emitter, like AM241 in your smoke detector.
The radiation itself is a helium nucleus, at high speed.
So, it is stopped by a sheet of paper, or a few inches of air.

But, if you ingest it, the alpha particle is like a bowling ball against the molecules near it.  But, the isotopes all behave differently, and have different decay chains.

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2004\08\26@020400 by Wouter van Ooijen
face picon face
> Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.

If you mean due to nuclear explosions: did you consider the casualtities
among the soldierts watching involved in early nuclear war training?
Never mind, I guess those figures don't even exist. If you mean due to
nuclear processes I recall at least one Los Alamos scientist who died
from a 'wiggle the screwdriver' accident during early bomb experiments.

> Number of people killed in POV's (privately owned vehicles)
> PER YEAR in the USA ALONE: about 60,000

Somehow people seem much less concerned about risk of things the do
themselves (traffic, gun ownership, AIDs, cancer due to smoking and
other habits, ...). In my country (Netherlands) there are debates in
Parliament because one soldier died in Iraque (a war-professional, in an
almost-war situation, so bluntly speaking: to be expected). I don't have
the exact statistics, but it is probably that more people died from
traffic incidents in our small country that same day, but that's no news
so it draws 0 attention.

Wouter van Ooijen

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2004\08\26@032815 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> I withdraw any support I have for space disposal until such time (if
> ever) that space travel advances to the point that we can reliably
> monitor that we get the orbit right, and do something about fixing it
> (possibly at huge cost - we'd need to intercept the thing) if we get it
> wrong.

That's why I said that a space elevator made the space disposal solution a
far better one. If the elevator goes belly up a load or 10 of nuclear waste
on the way up would be a trivial problem compared :-(.

And I noted that space disposal even by more traditional means may be
acceptable:

- If "getting you own back" is less acceptable than leaving it lying around
for others for the next 100,000+ years then we may want to examine our
priorities. [It's us that counts, isn't it ? :-) ]

- Waste could be super concentrated and then encased in such a way that it
would be essentially certain to survive re-entry. We have the technology.
"essentially" may be engineered to as many zeros as required. If we can't
get enough zeros doing this we can't get enough by burying it. [That's
outright unsupported assertion - but I like the sound of it].

- Gun launching is unsuitable for most loads but MAY be tenable for very
small high density super high acceleration "bullets". There are few payloads
that we want to launch that meet this spec. Nuclear waste may.

- "Lunar Surface Storage" (nice euphemism) is a much less difficult job to
get right.


       RM

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2004\08\26@034058 by Hopkins

flavicon
face
How DARE you pollute my sun that way! Just because you pulled that toxic
fuel out of the ground under my feet doesn't mean that you can get away
with
disposing of it inside our own solar system.


So what is the sun - a big nuclear reactor - just the spot to send the
nuclear waste until a better solution is found.

_______________________________________
Roy
Tauranga
New Zealand
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2004\08\26@034305 by Jason S

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From: "James Newton, Host" <.....jamesnewtonspam_OUTspamPICLIST.COM>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 3:47 PM



> Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.

There was an article in last month's Popular Science about the stupid things
people did with radioactivity in the early to mid 20th century.  People
would drink water irradiated with radon because they thought it had
medicinal benefits.  There were a lot of snake oil elixers based on
radioactive materials as well.  It all came to a halt when the greatest
proponents started dying gruesome deaths due to radiation posioning (and
this was in the US).  The point of the article was quack medicine; it drew a
lot of parallels to homeopathics; phrases like "all-natural".  Overall it
was quite interesting.

Most of the early nuclear researchers (the Curies, Roentgen, etc) died of
radiation posioning, but I don't know of any that were in the US.  A quick
look at the wikipedia page about Marie Curie refers to her being
disappointed by the physicians and cosmetics makers using radioactive
materials without precautions.

In the 50's and earlier, it was common for shoe stores in the US to have
x-ray boxes where you could try out a shoe by sticking your foot in the
x-ray box to see a projection of how your bones were sitting in the shoe.
They used very high doses or x-rays, and they might not have caused any
direct deaths, but they caused a lot of people to develop cancer before they
were outlawed.  I'm not sure if you count x-rays as nuke deaths.

Jason

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2004\08\26@035132 by Jake Anderson

flavicon
face
the RTG generators they fire off into space now
(despite much protesting by greenies eg cassini)
have been variously shot, exploded, reentered
hit by trains and generally had nasty stuff done
to them and they show no signs of leakage.



> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\26@035756 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> Also, the effects of radiation are not linear - I don't think twice as
> much radiation does twice as much damage (I think it may in at least
> some cases do more).

Almost invariably.
You can cuddle up to a 1 kg block of U238 for longperiods without too much
concern. The same cannot be said for most of the waste products. It's not
just level of radiation but type of radiation too.

Even stuff that's 'apparently" safe is not necessarily what it may appear to
be. Depleted Uranium used in "penetrators" for eg Abrams and Warthogs is not
NECESSARILY just DU. The truth is, of course, severely obfuscated, but it
seems probable that the claims that it is (incredibly stupidly) sourced as a
byproduct of nuclear waste reprocessing has some credence. if so, the
radiation products are not what "depleted" U238 alone would produce. Pure DU
is SAFER than raw Uranium metal as it has had it's U235 content reduced. But
"DU" that has come from a nuclear waste reprocessing plant could have
anything in it. And may have.

> > A better solution would be to, literally, break it up into finer and
> > finer solution and spray it over the surface of the earth.

FWIW plutonium is one of the most poisonous substances known.
Other materials like eg Strontium 90 are bad because their CHEMICAL
properties lead to them being naturally concentraed by the body.

> > continually escaping to the atmosphere. Naturally-occurring
> > radioactive materials are widespread throughout the environment,
> > although concentrations are very low and they are not normally
> > harmful.

I have a kg or so of U238 and hundreds of grams of U235 on my property. Also
a small amount of Plutonium. But ...

> In the interests of polluter pays, I would make one suggested change -
> the land area of those countries that use nuclear power should be
> adequate, rather than the whole surface of the earth :)

Sounds good to me :-)

> I don't think that's a helicopter ... I think thats the approach of
> several thousand annoyed greenies ...

Nah - it's just the sirens of the police cars accompanying the mailman who
is delivering James' power bill.


       RM

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2004\08\26@045425 by Jake Anderson

flavicon
face
mmm most of the space craft we have launched into deep space
have pretty much "shacked" the obits
what was it voyager 2 at jupiter was within 2 meters of its target?

assuming you make these things trackablle then i see no difficulty
meeting that requirement.


> {Original Message removed}

2004\08\26@080536 by D. Jay Newman

flavicon
face
> Most of the early nuclear researchers (the Curies, Roentgen, etc) died of
> radiation posioning, but I don't know of any that were in the US.  A quick
> look at the wikipedia page about Marie Curie refers to her being
> disappointed by the physicians and cosmetics makers using radioactive
> materials without precautions.

I believe that at least one of the Manhaton project workers got a lethal
dose because he was moving two pieces of material together (with a
screwdriver!) and slipped, bringing them too closely together. Not
critical mass, but a *huge* increase in radioactivity.
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2004\08\26@081159 by Josh Koffman

face picon face
One example would be Louis Slotin
(http://www3.sympatico.ca/lavitt/louisslotin.html) who helped save the
team he was working with by using his body to shield the radiation.
Some interesting notes: Louis Slotin was from Winnipeg, just as I am.
I believe some of his relatives are still there. When his body was
returned to Winnipeg, the army sent it in a metal lined casket.

Josh
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On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 08:05:00 +0200, Wouter van Ooijen <TakeThisOuTwouterKILLspamspamspamvoti.nl> wrote:
> > Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.
>
> If you mean due to nuclear explosions: did you consider the casualtities
> among the soldierts watching involved in early nuclear war training?
> Never mind, I guess those figures don't even exist. If you mean due to
> nuclear processes I recall at least one Los Alamos scientist who died
> from a 'wiggle the screwdriver' accident during early bomb experiments.

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2004\08\26@095059 by Mike Hord

picon face
>the RTG generators they fire off into space now
>(despite much protesting by greenies eg cassini)
>have been variously shot, exploded, reentered
>hit by trains and generally had nasty stuff done
>to them and they show no signs of leakage.

I believe I've posted this before, but worth a repeat:

From the Cassini-Huygens main page, the safety of radioisotope
generators, as well as why they were needed for Cassini-Huygens:

http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/spacecraft/safety.cfm

See the three links toward the bottom of the page.

Mike H.

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2004\08\26@095659 by Mike Hord

picon face
>mmm most of the space craft we have launched into deep space
>have pretty much "shacked" the obits
>what was it voyager 2 at jupiter was within 2 meters of its target?
>
>assuming you make these things trackablle then i see no difficulty
>meeting that requirement.

Agreed, considering that we still watch Vanguard 1 and it was
launched in 1958 (!) making it the oldest orbiting man-made satellite.

Also, Pioneer 10 (launched March 2 1972) returned telemetry as
recently as April 0f 2002.  Voyagers 1 was launched in Sept 1977,
and is expected to remain in contact until 2020 at least.  Voyager 2
was launched in Aug 1977 and is expected to remain in contact
until 2030 at least.

We could easily keep tabs on something long enough to ensure
that it is headed somewhere NOT back to Earth.

Mike H.

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2004\08\26@155612 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.

Make that a 1 afaik. At least one died in the Manhattan project. The man
whose screwdriver slipped, I forget the name. The story is on the Internet
I think.

Peter

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2004\08\26@155613 by Peter L. Peres

picon face
>> After all using U from a mine in a reactor is like turning the clock of
>> natural U decay in fast forward mode.
>
>Not exactly, nulear core waste is unlike anything found naturally.
>

In what way is it different ? Do you mean neutron activated building
materials ? The few artificial elements created ? Let me put it this way:
if refinig uranium ore with 0.5% useful fuel leaves 99.5% waste rock, and
the waste mass is increased 10-fold (by activated materials) when it comes
to disposal (over the life of the facility), then how much do you need to
dilute it until the activity of the result equals say twice the background
of the original waste ore ? 5 times original ore mass ? 50 times ? That
would be dilution of the waste by 1:1000. I think that one could dilute
the waste to homeopathic concentrations without even trying hard. But
would it work ?

Peter

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2004\08\26@161851 by Marcel Duchamp

picon face
At 07:20 PM 8/26/04, you wrote:
>>Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_accidents

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2004\08\26@162059 by Randy Glenn

picon face
Louis Slotin

http://www.childrenofthemanhattanproject.org/FH/LA/Louis_Slotin_1.htm

On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 22:20:39 -0400, Peter L. Peres <.....plpspamRemoveMEactcom.co.il> wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2004\08\26@185432 by Carlos Marcano

flavicon
face
Russell said:

>I have a kg or so of U238 and hundreds of grams of U235 on my property.
Also
>a small amount of Plutonium. But ...


 8<     ¿?

*Carlos Marcano*
-Venezuela, Guri-

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2004\08\26@214410 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
>> Russell said:
>> I have a kg or so of U238 and hundreds of grams of U235 on my property.
>> Also a small amount of Plutonium. But ...

*Carlos Marcano*
said

>   8<     ¿?

It's true !!! :-)
Probably.

Look up a table of the relative abundance of various elements and minerals
in nature. Make allowance for the fact that some are concentrated very
tightly in certain areas while many are distributed widely. Many have large
peaks in some areas  and wide distribution at lower levels. My property is
1050 square meters surface area. if I dug it out to a depth of say 10 metres
that's 10,000 m^3 or about say 20,000,000 kg of material. Now look at the
occurrence tables :-)

In some areas in my country (and many others) the occurrence of Uranium in
natural soil and river sediments is far far higher than average.



       Russell McMahon

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2004\08\26@220109 by Jinx

face picon face
> that's 10,000 m^3 or about say 20,000,000 kg of material. Now
> look at the occurrence tables :-)

Probably do a nice side-business in radon too

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2004\08\26@224755 by Carlos Marcano

flavicon
face
Russell said:

>It's true !!! :-)
>Probably.

>Look up a table of the relative abundance of various elements and minerals
>in nature. Make allowance for the fact that some are concentrated very
>tightly in certain areas while many are distributed widely. Many have large
>peaks in some areas  and wide distribution at lower levels. My property is
>1050 square meters surface area. if I dug it out to a depth of say 10
metres
>that's 10,000 m^3 or about say 20,000,000 kg of material. Now look at the
>occurrence tables :-)

>In some areas in my country (and many others) the occurrence of Uranium in
>natural soil and river sediments is far far higher than average.


 Pheeew!! It´s glad to know this is what you were talking about.
It is not very comfortable to think that those materials in those quantitys
were easily available for us
too-much-imagination-and-able-to-make-real-that-imagination
simple people!

Regards,

*Carlos Marcano*
-Guri, Venezuela-

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2004\08\27@071603 by D. Jay Newman

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> > that's 10,000 m^3 or about say 20,000,000 kg of material. Now
> > look at the occurrence tables :-)
>
> Probably do a nice side-business in radon too

Pennsylvania, USA has a pretty good business in that too.  :(
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2004\08\27@172648 by James Newton, Host

face picon face
source= http://www.piclist.com/piclist/2004/08/26/020400b.txt?

Wouter van Ooijen  says:
> > Nuke deaths in the USA, ever: 0.  
>
> If you mean due to nuclear explosions:  

I was actually thinking "melt down at the local nuke power plant" sort of
accidents. I know that there have been many deaths in development, testing,
etc... of this stuff as there are in all high power fields and deaths in
weapons development and testing are also, sadly, to be expected.

I'm just trying to show that while atomic power may be dangerous, it is no
more so than any other form of power in comparable volume. Gas pipelines
have burst, oil spills have destroyed local economies if not cost lives
directly, AC power transmission has claimed its share and so on.

Public fear of radiation is to be expected and is a good thing, but the
rabid, visceral, unreasoned hatred we see must have some explanation beyond
normal concern. And that reaction is paying into the pockets of the oil
industry and out of the pockets of the people.

Unlike Russell, I've been too afraid to point out that I have U-238 in by
back yard (as does anyone with more than a postage stamp sized patch of
grass) and that anyone who wanted to make a bomb would have no trouble
finding the materials. Knowing how to put it together would be a bit more
difficult, but still... The reality of the situation is that there is NO
real protection from the potential... we might as well benefit from the
positive uses to which it can be applied.

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2004\08\29@220942 by Roy Ward

flavicon
face
Actually, the tracking is the easy part - we've pretty much got that
already. At the moment though, if something was to go wrong, and the
thing was coming back to earth in 100 or 1000 years, would we actually
be able to do anything about it before it hit? Or would we bother even
if we could?

Cheers,
Roy Ward.

On Thu, 26 Aug 2004 20:55, Jake Anderson wrote:
> mmm most of the space craft we have launched into deep space
> have pretty much "shacked" the obits
> what was it voyager 2 at jupiter was within 2 meters of its target?
>
> assuming you make these things trackablle then i see no difficulty
> meeting that requirement.
>
> > {Original Message removed}

2004\08\30@003458 by Russell McMahon

face
flavicon
face
> > > I withdraw any support I have for space disposal until such time
> > > (if ever) that space travel advances to the point that we can
> > > reliably monitor that we get the orbit right, and do something
> > > about fixing it (possibly at huge cost - we'd need to intercept the
> > > thing) if we get it wrong.

> Actually, the tracking is the easy part - we've pretty much got that
> already. At the moment though, if something was to go wrong, and the
> thing was coming back to earth in 100 or 1000 years,


> would we actually be able to do anything about it before it hit?

Definitely

> Or would we bother even if we could?

Definitely


Unless there were utterly major changes for the worst in how things are and
how things are changing between then and now.




       Russell McMahon

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2004\08\31@200737 by Carey Fisher - NCS

face picon face
To change the subject - slightly... Anybody read the Wired Mag article (Sept
2004, p158) about "pebble-bed" nuclear reactors?  They're claimed to be
"intrinisically safe".  Thermal energy transfer to generators is via Helium
gas. If all the Helium leaks out, reactor temp goes up a bit then cools down
because of some thermal expansion effect with the fuel which are billiard
ball size graphite balls with silicon carbide coated fuel "specks" packed
inside each one.  They claim they've actually done this test and it is true.
Depleted fuel balls "can go straight into lead-lined steel bins in the
basement."  Anyway, good article - is it TRUE?
Carey Fisher


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2004\08\31@233731 by Denny Esterline

picon face
I was just reading about those a couple days ago. Here's a link to the
wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor

The basic idea is that each "pebble" contains only a small amount of
nuclear material, and it's encased in materials that can handle the
reactor's maximum temperature *without cooling*. Therefore meltdown cannot
happen. The use of helium gas as a coolant/working gas is apparently
related to helium's tiny nucleus, it's so small that the neutrons in the
reactor don't interact with it (it doesn't become radioactive from
exposure).
At least that's how I understand it :o)

-Denny



> To change the subject - slightly... Anybody read the Wired Mag article
(Sept
> 2004, p158) about "pebble-bed" nuclear reactors?  They're claimed to be
> "intrinisically safe".  Thermal energy transfer to generators is via
Helium
> gas. If all the Helium leaks out, reactor temp goes up a bit then cools
down
> because of some thermal expansion effect with the fuel which are billiard
> ball size graphite balls with silicon carbide coated fuel "specks" packed
> inside each one.  They claim they've actually done this test and it is
true.
{Quote hidden}

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'[OT:] Nuclear waste storage - arguments on design '
2004\09\01@010829 by Russell McMahon
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> I was just reading about those a couple days ago. Here's a link to the
> wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pebble_bed_reactor

An excellent overview of the subject.
The Pebble Bed concept sounds  excellent, but one would still want to be
extremely cautious with the technology (james' enthisiasm for things nuclear
notwithstanding).

Note the AVR :-)

Note the Windscale "accident" from neutron induced Wigner energy while
annealing graphite to prevent exactly what they caused.
This list of nuclear accidents

       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_accidents

gives some idea of things that just go wrong. odds are that PB will be safer
but still open to accident. Safer is good.




       RM



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