This is ridiculous.

Admiration can indeed turn into hatred.

I praised Instapundit as a Rennaisance Man earlier today.   Slept.  Got up this evening, checked his site.  He’s hawking thorium

reactors.  These would employ a “proton cyclotron accelerator with a beam energy of 800 MeV to 1 GeV”.

I’ve never heard of these before…and I work at a 1 GeV proton accelerator facility.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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9 Responses to This is ridiculous.

  1. Pingback: The saboteur has been caught. | World's Only Rational Man

  2. Paul D. says:

    Accelerator-driven reactors are an old concept, going back at least to right after WW 2, when Lawrence (I believe it was) was hawking the idea.

    The general idea is to add spallation neutrons to improve the ability of the core to destroy waste nuclides, and also to enable the core to be operated in a subcritical mode (which is arguably safer, particularly for fast reactors.)

    The cost of the accelerator, and the power required, are serious issues. It’s not at all clear they can be competitive with ordinary thermal reactors, particularly with U3O8 at $45/lb. right now. And the claim that such reactors could replace oil is silly, since the reactors would produce electricity (and perhaps process heat), not liquid fuels for transportation.

  3. wormme says:

    Thanks for the idea expansion! This does seem Rube Goldbergesque compared to commercial nuke plants. And supposedly, with modern computers and CAD, fission power plants could be vastly simplified from these plants that were designed in the 60’s and 70’s.

    But we probably need some breakthroughs in battery tech before there’s wholesale reduction of automotive oil use, right? Anyway, if we don’t substitute nukes in for the coal, where’s the environmental benefit?

  4. Paul D. says:

    Yes, lack of electricity is not what’s holding back electric cars — cost, capacity, and lifespan of batteries are the big problems.

  5. wormme says:

    And let’s say we get room-temperature-plus superconductors. You pump a few hundred megaWatt hours into your car battery. What happens in an accident if you rupture the housing?

  6. Mark A. Flacy says:

    And the claim that such reactors could replace oil is silly, since the reactors would produce electricity (and perhaps process heat), not liquid fuels for transportation.

    If you have electricity and heat, you can create liquid fuels.

    • wormme says:

      I guess there’s lots of things you could do during non-peak demand hours. If it’s “efficient” to use off-hours power to pump water up into towers, for release during high demand, it could be efficient to crack or splice molecules.

  7. Paul D. says:

    Superconducting energy storage doesn’t have high energy density. The problem is the JxB forces on the magnet require strong materials to resist. In the end, it’s about as mass efficient as compressed gas energy storage, which is to say, not very.

    (Very large stationary superconducting energy storage rings can transmit forces through the ground, so they could be somewhat more mass efficient.)

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