Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Adam Savage

He's from New York, Kris. According to Kim, that means that natives of that state are allowed to stalk him. I get to stalk Jamie Hyneman... he was born in Michigan, but raised in Indiana. Maybe my cousins from Indiana get to stalk him, too.

Whee, flow of consciousness writing!

Ok... let's get down to brass tacks, eh? I want to talk about two thing on this Friday post, the Myth Busters, and fourth generation nuclear power plants.

What? It makes perfect sense to me.

Ok, any ways, thanks to Fark, I happened across the CBS 13 website hailing from San Francisco. Apparently, an idiot decided it would be wise to use a welding torch on a 55 gallon drum partially filled with petroleum. Now, idiots do this sort of thing all the time. What makes this instance truly epic, is that PEOPLE WERE SURROUNDING THIS IDIOT, WATCHING HIM DO IT. This sentence links to the actual article.

Any ways, what that has to do with the Myth Busters, is that the article linked to an in depth human interest article on San Francisco's most famous pair of Geeks. Here's the link to THAT article. Seeing as I have pretty much exhausted all the content on the Discovery website regarding the Myth Busters, I was delighted to find this little gem.

Ok, now, on to fourth generation nuclear power plants. What a fourth generation nuclear power plant is, is what this country ought to replace all of our current nuclear facilities with, and we should build maybe 45 more after that.

Now, I know a few of you are very anti nuclear, what with the accidents in Pennsylvania and the Ukraine, and the current Yucca mountain controversy. Let me explain my position. The Chernobyl facility? No facility in North America is configured anything like it. The Three Mile Island facility? It is a pressurized water reactor that is commonly accepted to be a second generation nuclear power plant.

Now, what is a fourth generation nuclear power plant, exactly? Well, one design is called a VHTR, or a Very High Temperature Reactor. Such a reactor design operates at temperatures of 1,000 degrees Celsius. To give you an idea of exactly how hot that is, iron melts at 1,538 degrees Celsius.

Any ways, VHTR designs are passively safe, in that in case of an accident, they will naturally cool without any human or mechanical intervention. Simply put, they just can't melt down; the design has learned from sixty years of screw-ups.

That right there is reason enough to replace all of our reactors with this and other fourth generation designs. What else makes me a proponent of this design is that nuclear "waste" can be reused as fuel. I mean, think about it. Why exactly is still fissile material considered "waste"? It wasn't the materials fault. It was the failure of engineering. Any ways, use Wikipedia to educate yourself on nuclear power.

Nuclear designs have not remained static since the 1980s. Yucca mountain is a response to a problem that can simply be solved with better reactors.

There will be no "glow trains" trundling casks of fissile actinides across the country and right past the Las Vegas Strip. We can provide safer, cleaner nuclear power, burn our waste, and secure ourselves from foreign energy robber barons.

It is all a matter of political will and educating the public about nuclear power. Trust me. If the greatest example of Nuclear technology was the Fermi II plant, I would be right in the middle of those ignorant, reactionary anti-nuclear hippies in front of the federal building in Ann Arbor.

Of course, I would eventually have to stab one of them to death with their picket sign, just out of principle, but still...

1 comment:

Drunken Chud said...

the biggest reason that the fissile waste is waste is due to an old law that was created due to security concerns. see, while most of the waste has a half life of only a few years, the biggest byproduct: plutonium has a half life of a couple hundo years. while all of it is still fissionable, and thus breaks down even more, the one side effect is that when you run the plutonium back through... you now have weapons grade plutonium. that scares people. me? i could care less. make more weapons grade plutonium. i have no clue what happens when you run it through a third time though. that could make super plutonium. and that could be super cool. but until the reppeal the once through law... we're kinda stuck with the waste.