“…re-cycle and de-radiate nuclear waste.“
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Thought I’d bump this to the top seeing that Dimitry Orlov’s latest Club Orlov blog post about the HBO Russia hit piece on Chernobyl says some things about Nuclear Energy that I never knew. Apparently the Russian Nuclear Energy Company Rosatom has invented two new technologies that manage to reduce the environmental footprint of nuclear energy and even re-cycle and de-radiate nuclear waste. You have to read three-quarters through Orlov’s post to get to this part. If this is true, I may have to re-think my negative opinion about nuclear power.
“….Rosatom has perfected the latest VVER-1200 and has a full dance card building, fueling and operating nuclear power plants all around the planet. Since nuclear reactors apparently do melt down sporadically, Russia’s latest ones are fitted with a meltdown tank that stops the reaction and makes clean-up easier, so no more “China syndrome.” And since it does apparently happen that nuclear fuel becomes exposed and generates hydrogen gas, the new reactors have catalytic hydrogen scrubbers installed at the top of the containment vessel, so no more hydrogen explosions either. Rosatom now owns something like 2/3 of the global market for new nuclear energy projects. China has a very ambitious program to build out nuclear generation capacity as well. Add to this the fact that Russia has scored two major nuclear technology breakthroughs.
The first breakthrough was in bringing a fast breeder reactor online: the BN-800 has been in commercial use at Beloyarskaya AES since October of 2016. This is a type of reactor that makes its own fuel and then some from the extremely abundant but generally useless uranium 238. Everyone else who has tried to perfect this technology (the US, France and Japan) has failed and given up. It is a breakthrough because it solves two major problems: mitigating the shortage of naturally occurring uranium 235, and solving the problem of long-lifetime radioactive nuclear waste, which BN-type reactors can burn up until it is safe enough to bury….”
The second breakthrough is in the introduction of the closed nuclear cycle. Those who obtain their nuclear fuel through contracts with Rosatom do not have to worry about what to do with spent fuel: after a cool-down period, Rosatom takes the fuel assemblies back for reprocessing. The spent fuel is ground up and the useful elements are extracted, enriched, recombined and used to make new fuel assemblies. With a steady stream of Western nukes being shut down and dismantled about to turn into a flood, simply paying Rosatom to take away the spent fuel provides a good solution where previously there was none, lowering the costs of decommissioning to something that national budgets can conceivably bear.
So, what is there to be done by Western propagandists confronting the situation of the West languishing with no good energy alternatives while Russia’s and China’s nuclear programs are speeding away from them? Why, of course, the choice is obvious: put out a pseudo-documentary based on the fantasy-fiction of a Nobel-prized Grade A Russophobe to smear both Russia and its nuclear industry!…”