Author Topic: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes  (Read 9914 times)

Offline hektor

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BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« on: 12/20/2017 02:53 PM »
Do you think BFR could make space disposal of long-lived highly radioactive material economically viable. I am thinking of putting them on a trajectory with direct impact with Jupiter for instance (a place where conceivably we will never go).

I found a source which says

Quote
The question was investigated in the USA by NASA in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Because of the high cost of this option and the safety aspects associated with the risk of launch failure, it was abandoned.

Could BFR solve both issues, cost and safety ?

Offline speedevil

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #1 on: 12/20/2017 02:57 PM »
Could BFR solve both issues, cost and safety ?

No.
The highly radioactive stuff is not very bulky, and the bulky stuff is not very radioactive.

The most highly radioactive stuff is actually not that difficult to store - and concerns about launching it into space are going to be orders of magnitude (rightly) more than any sane ground-based solution.

If you're already in orbit, you can assume a technologically literate civilisation, so in principle putting it at (say) a little over GEO, in a suitably shielded container would be rather easier energetically.

Offline hektor

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #2 on: 12/20/2017 03:05 PM »
Well in France in 2007 (last figure I found) there were 2 293 m3 of them, so it is quite bulky, and a pain to find a solution for them.

Online nacnud

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #3 on: 12/20/2017 03:07 PM »
Sending nuclear waste to space is a terrible idea. There are much better solutions but cost and Nimbyism make it a political football that just gets kicked down the road.


Offline hektor

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #4 on: 12/20/2017 03:11 PM »
Well my proposal was not to send them to space. Space is just an intermediate step.

Offline Ludus

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #5 on: 12/20/2017 03:16 PM »
Much “Nuclear waste” is actually only partly used fuel that will be valuable to power future nuclear reactors. The issue is political not technical and doesn’t require solutions like sending it into space. Launching nuclear fuel into space to support reactors will be controversial enough. Launching waste with a non zero chance of accidents that might scatter it on earth would be opposed more actively than other solutions.

Offline hektor

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #6 on: 12/20/2017 03:33 PM »
That is why I was asking the question about the BFR. It will be extremely reliable (carrying tens of passengers for Mars missions) and with a payload mass (150 t) which allows to accommodate a very resistant vault which would cover the extremely unlikely case were an accident happens.

Offline mikes

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #7 on: 12/20/2017 04:18 PM »
Well in France in 2007 (last figure I found) there were 2 293 m3 of them, so it is quite bulky, and a pain to find a solution for them.
That's 34 standard (40ft) shipping containers, so not vast.

(ed: External dimensions are not the same thing as internal volume! Corrected my arithmetic.)
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 04:27 PM by mikes »

Offline Roy_H

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #8 on: 12/20/2017 05:10 PM »
IMHO the best solution for nuclear waste is to burn it in an LFTR. This way you get rid of it and produce electricity and valuable by-products. from: http://flibe-energy.com/lftr/

"LFTR technology can also be used to consume the remaining fissile material available in spent nuclear fuel stockpiles around the world and to extract and resell many of the other valuable fission byproducts that are currently deemed hazardous waste in their current spent fuel rod form.  The U.S. nuclear industry has already allocated $25 billion for storage or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the world currently has over 340,000 tonnes of spent LWR fuel with enough usable fissile material to start one 100 MWe LFTR per day for 93 years. (A 100 MW LFTR requires 100 kg of fissile material (U-233, U-235, or Pu-239) as an initial fissile charge to begin the thorium-to-uranium breeding cycle)."
"If we don't achieve re-usability, I will consider SpaceX to be a failure." - Elon Musk

Offline mtakala24

Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #9 on: 12/20/2017 05:36 PM »
Discussing BFR safety is interesting. We can imagine the similarities in SpaceX animations vs. commercial airliners and passenger railways, and then compare that to the heavy casings/railcars/containers the nuclear waste is transported in.

Nuclear technologies not directly related to spaceflight is not in the scope of this forum, and could add moderation workload, so lets not get much further in this problem area.

However, if there was an objective forum related to these matters, without much if any spam and weirdos, then I haven't come across it yet. I would be happy to have such link posted here.

Offline Bynaus

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #10 on: 12/20/2017 05:43 PM »
Well, maybe we will one day build LFTRs (or IFRs) in GEO and just beam down the energy. That doesn't really make much sense (half of the power will be lost to conversion), but if this is what it takes to alleviate the concerns of the public masses with nuclear energy, then that is still better than to just dispose of the spent fuel in the Sun, Jupiter or even on Earth. In such a plan, BFR could be the system to shuttle the spent fuel (and the parts for the reactors) from the Earth's surface to orbit. On the side, this plan would develop space-grade reactors which might also find other uses in space (e.g., beam energy down to a martian colony, or for high-powered SEP / laser sails).
« Last Edit: 12/20/2017 05:44 PM by Bynaus »
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #11 on: 12/20/2017 08:27 PM »
No opinion on the idea of send nuke waste to Jupiter.

However that brings up the idea of the BFR&BFS combo be able to carry nuclear components to LEO. Like the Kilopower small fission reactor and mega watt range fission reactor kits. Not a big stretch from that to nuclear waste containers.

If SpaceX get the BFR&BFS combo certified to carry nukes like the Atlas V. Then nuke waste disposal seems closer to reality.


Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #12 on: 12/21/2017 12:16 AM »
The best way to dispose of our current nuclear waste is to use it as fuel for 3rd or 4th generation breeder reactors.

Breeder reactors can also use depleted uranium, which is not particularly radioactive, but there's a lot more of it, enough to power the U.S. for centuries.

Breeder reactors also create some nuclear waste, but IIRC, it's like 100 times less waste, and it's less radioactive.

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #13 on: 12/21/2017 12:23 AM »
No opinion on the idea of send nuke waste to Jupiter.

However that brings up the idea of the BFR&BFS combo be able to carry nuclear components to LEO. Like the Kilopower small fission reactor and mega watt range fission reactor kits.

Agreed.  Nuclear power in space makes a lot of things possible.  It may also make sense on the Moon and Mars.
« Last Edit: 12/21/2017 12:34 AM by Dave G »

Offline Darkseraph

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #14 on: 12/21/2017 12:59 AM »
Given the proven reliability of launch vehicles, no one would insure this. The mass of radioactive waste still on Earth is relatively high compared to what BFR can lift and even under more aspirational reliability figures for BFR, several of those flights would likely fail scattering radioactive waste over some random part of the planet. That includes major cities, for which cost would be truly astronomical. Hard to see any poltiician biting on the opportunity to sign off on The Reusable Dirty Bomb.

There are cheaper and safer ways to store this waste at the bottom of a gravity well. Or better yet, recycle it with breeder reactors mentioned above. If BFR launches anything nuclear, it ought to be high value compact payloads rather than low value bulk waste. Surface Power Systems and Nuclear Electric Propulsion Tugs come to mind. An interesting future application of BFR could be in reducing the complexity of a mission like the now-cancelled JIMO. I believe it was to be constructed through multiple flights and in orbit assembly.
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Offline speedevil

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #15 on: 12/21/2017 01:18 AM »
However that brings up the idea of the BFR&BFS combo be able to carry nuclear components to LEO. Like the Kilopower small fission reactor and mega watt range fission reactor kits. Not a big stretch from that to nuclear waste containers.

If SpaceX get the BFR&BFS combo certified to carry nukes like the Atlas V. Then nuke waste disposal seems closer to reality.

Fission reactors can be orbited entirely cold - to the point that you can literally hold all components safely in your hands with no radioactive issues.
It's only after the first time they are lit off that they get dangerously radioactive.

RTGs are different, in that they are very dense, inside ridiculously protected shells, in a highly processed form.
Waste is not in this form, and would be both much more radioactive than unused reactor, and not dense enough to be very protected.

Offline AC in NC

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #16 on: 12/21/2017 03:14 AM »
Do you think BFR could make space disposal of long-lived highly radioactive material economically viable. I am thinking of putting them on a trajectory with direct impact with Jupiter for instance (a place where conceivably we will never go).

I found a source which says

Quote
The question was investigated in the USA by NASA in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Because of the high cost of this option and the safety aspects associated with the risk of launch failure, it was abandoned.

Could BFR solve both issues, cost and safety ?

I know I'm standing against a lot of expert opinion but I believe it can.  And should.  I'm of the opinion that there are a goodly number of coincident drivers that make this make much more sense than seems on the surface.  I'm not sure that I would choose Jupiter over Venus though.  Is there some potential need to keep Venus pristine that I'm overlooking?

Online nacnud

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #17 on: 12/21/2017 09:15 AM »
I know I'm standing against a lot of expert opinion but I believe it can.  And should.  I'm of the opinion that there are a goodly number of coincident drivers that make this make much more sense than seems on the surface.  I'm not sure that I would choose Jupiter over Venus though.  Is there some potential need to keep Venus pristine that I'm overlooking?

Sending nuclear waste makes into space makes no sense.

Lets just turn your assumptions upside down, if space launch became so cheap as to enable the 4000 BFR launches needed to send the US nuclear waste to venus why would you bother instead of say colonising the entire solar system. Which is going to have the most economic and social value?

Rough numbers
100,000 tonnes nuclear waste, also assuming no packaging.
150 tonnes to LEO for BRF
6 fights to refuel the BFS to send it to Venus.

4000 flights

Offline Radical_Ignorant

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #18 on: 12/21/2017 10:46 AM »
In my ignorant opinion that makes sense.

Yes I agree there are much better solutions here on Earth, but because of fear which causes super strong NIMB reaction they are no go. And then everyone is about ok with USAF bombers flying with nuclear bombs. Once BFR is as reliable as plane, that would be way around NIMB and finally do something instead of storing it where it was produced because nobody agree to have save shelter in "his backyard".

And fear is a real thing. You can't just wave your hand at it. It is political problem. No way around it. People need to be educated or ordered. Both things seems to be even harder than rocket science - maybe it's easier to build super reliable LV :)

Online llanitedave

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #19 on: 12/21/2017 04:02 PM »
If the political will to ship it by rail or truck to a remote underground site in the Nevada desert doesn't exist, how is anyone going to get approval to ship it to the populous and hurricane-prone Space Coast?
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Offline Zed_Noir

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #20 on: 12/21/2017 10:40 PM »
If the political will to ship it by rail or truck to a remote underground site in the Nevada desert doesn't exist, how is anyone going to get approval to ship it to the populous and hurricane-prone Space Coast?

Disagree. Transit of nuke material happens all the time everywhere. People only complain when said material stays in their area for a prolong period.

When people understand that the nuke material is in transit to somewhere else. Then there will be less public resistance.

It will be better to launch from Boca Chica for nuke waste shipments. We only have the NSF clubhouse to worry about.  :)

Online llanitedave

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #21 on: 12/22/2017 01:10 AM »
If the political will to ship it by rail or truck to a remote underground site in the Nevada desert doesn't exist, how is anyone going to get approval to ship it to the populous and hurricane-prone Space Coast?

Disagree. Transit of nuke material happens all the time everywhere. People only complain when said material stays in their area for a prolong period.

When people understand that the nuke material is in transit to somewhere else. Then there will be less public resistance.

It will be better to launch from Boca Chica for nuke waste shipments. We only have the NSF clubhouse to worry about.  :)

That hasn't been my experience.  People only "tolerate" nuclear waste shipment through their area because they're:
1.  Unusual, and
2.  Unpublicized.

When the question of having all of the nation's nuclear waste concentrated into one transport stream passing frequently through a nearby area, opposition emerges swiftly.  It doesn't really matter whether the waste is going their for permanent storage or temporary storage.  The issue is politicized and surrounded by hysteria, with the reality of the relative danger mostly ignored.  I spent 19 years working in nuclear waste investigations, and the reaction was the same from those in Texas, Nevada, South Carolina, and Washington.

All that said, launching it into space is a terrible idea on every level, the ultimate non-starter.  It ain't gonna happen, and rightly so.
"I've just abducted an alien -- now what?"

Offline Radical_Ignorant

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #22 on: 12/22/2017 01:09 PM »
If the political will to ship it by rail or truck to a remote underground site in the Nevada desert doesn't exist, how is anyone going to get approval to ship it to the populous and hurricane-prone Space Coast?

Disagree. Transit of nuke material happens all the time everywhere. People only complain when said material stays in their area for a prolong period.

When people understand that the nuke material is in transit to somewhere else. Then there will be less public resistance.

It will be better to launch from Boca Chica for nuke waste shipments. We only have the NSF clubhouse to worry about.  :)

That hasn't been my experience.  People only "tolerate" nuclear waste shipment through their area because they're:
1.  Unusual, and
2.  Unpublicized.
That is your guess that it is the reason.

[...]  It doesn't really matter whether the waste is going their for permanent storage or temporary storage. [...]
[/qoute]
It does matter a lot. Argument that it will last "million years" is at the head of every anti nuclear comment/article.

All that said, launching it into space is a terrible idea on every level, the ultimate non-starter.  It ain't gonna happen, and rightly so.
[/qoute]
Every level? What that means. What's wrong with it ultimately being in far space? Launching is only risky moment, except we are talking launcher which is as reliable as planes and ships and we have planes flying with nuclear bombs, not waste, and ships using active nuclear reactor.
This last piece smells like: I doesn't like this idea and I refuse to consider it based on my previous experience and knowledge from previous spaceflight age (there is no new age yet, but BFR will probably make it assuming it mets most of design goals).

Offline AC in NC

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #23 on: 12/22/2017 04:59 PM »
I know I'm standing against a lot of expert opinion but I believe it can.  And should.  I'm of the opinion that there are a goodly number of coincident drivers that make this make much more sense than seems on the surface.  I'm not sure that I would choose Jupiter over Venus though.  Is there some potential need to keep Venus pristine that I'm overlooking?

Sending nuclear waste makes into space makes no sense.

Lets just turn your assumptions upside down, if space launch became so cheap as to enable the 4000 BFR launches needed to send the US nuclear waste to venus why would you bother instead of say colonising the entire solar system. Which is going to have the most economic and social value?

Rough numbers
100,000 tonnes nuclear waste, also assuming no packaging.
150 tonnes to LEO for BRF
6 fights to refuel the BFS to send it to Venus.

4000 flights

Your numbers are wrong and you've got your blinders up.

Suffice to say that you can't colonize anything with "4000" BFR launches whereas you can dispose of the Earth's nuclear waste.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2017 05:47 PM by AC in NC »

Offline RoboGoofers

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #24 on: 12/22/2017 05:33 PM »
It'll never be safe enough to send radioactive garbage into space, geopolitically. a BFR full of nuclear waste would be seen by other nations as a huge ballistic dirty bomb. For Americans: would you be comfortable with North Korea disposing of their nuclear waste this way? "it's launched on an interplanetary trajectory but whoops, a second stage problem happened and it's stuck in orbit (and maybe we can deorbit it at any time wherever we want)."

Any company proposing this would never get a launch license.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2017 05:35 PM by RoboGoofers »

Offline Nomadd

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #25 on: 12/22/2017 06:08 PM »

It will be better to launch from Boca Chica for nuke waste shipments. We only have the NSF clubhouse to worry about.  :)
It would be another in a long line of strange coincidences. I've worked on the Nortel in the WIPP.

Offline Radical_Ignorant

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #26 on: 12/22/2017 06:33 PM »
That is why I was asking the question about the BFR. It will be extremely reliable ....
What is the basis for this assertion?  No orbital launch vehicle, ever, has proven to have a better than roughly 1-2% failure rate.  a 2% failure rate among 4,000 BFR launches is 80 nuclear disasters, any one of which could under worst-case conditions pollute a large area of the planet with radioactive materials.

 - Ed Kyle

There never was launch system fully and rapidly reusable. That's new game. Based on old reliability standards this idea it's clearly NO GO. But if there is fleet of 3 BFSs and each of them is doing 100 flights/year in few years (after BFR starts flying) we will have reliability data like we never had before.
And since it will be launched wherever launch trajectory can be adjusted to political likes.

Online spacenut

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #27 on: 12/22/2017 06:39 PM »
I've heard that Australia was building breeder reactors and obtaining nuclear waste to burn in them.  From what I have read it reduces waste to about 10% of what it was.  I never understood why the Navy didn't use breeder reactors on subs and burn up the spent waste fuel rods. 

That being said, if this is true, then there may not be a need to send into space. 

Offline AC in NC

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #28 on: 12/22/2017 06:48 PM »
There never was launch system fully and rapidly reusable. That's new game. Based on old reliability standards this idea it's clearly NO GO. But if there is fleet of 3 BFSs and each of them is doing 100 flights/year in few years (after BFR starts flying) we will have reliability data like we never had before.
And since it will be launched wherever launch trajectory can be adjusted to political likes.

These are exactly the kind of novel considerations that must be raised to evaluate the OP's question.  Not BFR tattooed with all the prejudices of the past and based on today as a point in time.  Besides it's a much more interesting conversation than knee-jerk dismissal.  From my perspective, the interesting conversation is to run the back-of-the-napkin numbers to see if it's in the realm of economically feasible using that to inform whether further exploration of safety and political issues is worth it.

When I did it some time back, I felt like nuclear disposal could be economic, capturing revenue during Mars down-windows, and solving a storage issue that has remained unsolved for decades.  I admit ignorance as to whether the further use of waste as fuel invalidates that economic case.
« Last Edit: 12/22/2017 09:31 PM by AC in NC »

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #29 on: 12/22/2017 08:09 PM »
I've heard that Australia was building breeder reactors and obtaining nuclear waste to burn in them.  From what I have read it reduces waste to about 10% of what it was.
Wikipedia seems to imply it's only 1%:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor#Waste_reduction
Quote from: Wikipedia
Since breeder reactors on a closed fuel cycle would use nearly all of the actinides fed into them as fuel, their fuel requirements would be reduced by a factor of about 100. The volume of waste they generate would be reduced by a factor of about 100 as well.
but the main point is the same.  Today's nuclear waste is not a problem.  It's a solution for our future electrical power needs.

I never understood why the Navy didn't use breeder reactors on subs and burn up the spent waste fuel rods. 
The nuclear waste from Navy reactors can be used to power breeder reactors on land that make electricity for our homes.  No problem.

That being said, if this is true, then there may not be a need to send into space.
Yes.

And even without the ability to convert nuclear waste into fuel for breeder reactors, as many others on this thread have said, sending nuclear waste into space is much more dangerous than storing it on earth, and much more expensive.  It's a lose-lose proposition.


Offline hektor

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #30 on: 12/22/2017 09:32 PM »
That is why I was asking the question about the BFR. It will be extremely reliable ....
What is the basis for this assertion?  No orbital launch vehicle, ever, has proven to have a better than roughly 1-2% failure rate.  a 2% failure rate among 4,000 BFR launches is 80 nuclear disasters, any one of which could under worst-case conditions pollute a large area of the planet with radioactive materials.

 - Ed Kyle 

If the launch failure rate of BFR is of this order of magnitude, then Elon's plan to relocate one million people on Mars would literally result in thousands of deaths (and the launch is only one small part of the BFR trip to Mars). My question about injecting nuclear waste on a collision course with Jupiter was based on the assumption that the BFR is more reliable by a few orders of magnitude than existing launchers.

So let me rephrase my question : if the reliability performance of the BFR is such that it makes Elon Musk's Mars plans of mass migration executable, do you think the same launcher could be used to put high activity, long duration nuclear waste on collision course with Jupiter ?
« Last Edit: 12/22/2017 09:43 PM by hektor »

Offline cppetrie

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #31 on: 12/22/2017 10:07 PM »
That is why I was asking the question about the BFR. It will be extremely reliable ....
What is the basis for this assertion?  No orbital launch vehicle, ever, has proven to have a better than roughly 1-2% failure rate.  a 2% failure rate among 4,000 BFR launches is 80 nuclear disasters, any one of which could under worst-case conditions pollute a large area of the planet with radioactive materials.

 - Ed Kyle 

If the launch failure rate of BFR is of this order of magnitude, then Elon's plan to relocate one million people on Mars would literally result in thousands of deaths (and the launch is only one small part of the BFR trip to Mars). My question about injecting nuclear waste on a collision course with Jupiter was based on the assumption that the BFR is more reliable by a few orders of magnitude than existing launchers.

So let me rephrase my question : if the reliability performance of the BFR is such that it makes Elon Musk's Mars plans of mass migration executable, do you think the same launcher could be used to put high activity, long duration nuclear waste on collision course with Jupiter ?
Could it? Sure. Should it? See other’s remarks above. But I would argue no.

Offline QuantumG

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #32 on: 12/22/2017 10:50 PM »
I've heard that Australia was building breeder reactors and obtaining nuclear waste to burn in them.

Heh, where'd ya hear that?

I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline koshvv

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #33 on: 12/23/2017 04:13 AM »
Only Russia have working breeder reactor.
Building nuclear reactors in Australia is prohibited by law.

Offline Nomadd

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #34 on: 12/23/2017 04:45 AM »
Only Russia have working breeder reactor.
Building nuclear reactors in Australia is prohibited by law.
India and Japan both have working breeders and China has a small working prototype.

Offline Radical_Ignorant

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #35 on: 12/23/2017 11:14 AM »
Quote
Over the past four decades, the entire industry has produced about 62,500 metric tons of used nuclear fuel.
http://www.nei.org/resourcesandstats/nuclear_statistics/nuclearwasteamountsandonsitestorage/

So one launch + refuelling could do it. In optimist scenario one launch is few $M - so this should be in order of $10M + preparations costs. Compare that to

Quote
For FY18, DOE has requested $120 million and the NRC $30 million[8] from Congress to continue licensing activities for the Yucca Mountain Repository.
https://www.reviewjournal.com/news/politics-and-government/nevada/nuclear-agency-seeks-30m-for-yucca-mountain-licensing-review/

So every year US is spending order of magnitude more on NOT WORKING waste facility than it would cost to launch it all into deep space assuming BFR is extremely reliable. Does that make sense? Numbers clearly show yes.

Are there better options? Yes, sure. We are doing nothing with it, it just lays wherever it was produced and nothing bad happened for decades. So it's mostly fear based discussion, little place for reason. But then launch it to space is solution for NIMB which is basic reason for doing nothing with current situation. Again - assumption is that BFR is extremely reliable.

Edit/Lar; In order for the quote tag to work, you have to actually spell quote correctly. Fixed that.
« Last Edit: 12/23/2017 01:41 PM by Lar »

Offline zhangmdev

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #36 on: 12/23/2017 11:52 AM »
Spent nuclear fuel is still red hot. Need to be stored in deep water pool for many years to cool down, then be processed to glass for permanent storage.

http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2011/ph241/chen2/

The tonnage to disposal is way more than the waste itself. Must put into extraordinary strong titanium steel canister with radiation shielding, may be many times heavier than the waste it contains.

http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/geos210/lec_21.html

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #37 on: 12/23/2017 01:09 PM »
If the launch failure rate of BFR is of this order of magnitude, then Elon's plan to relocate one million people on Mars would literally result in thousands of deaths (and the launch is only one small part of the BFR trip to Mars).

When pioneers settled the western United States, a much larger percentage died.  It didn't stop them.

In fact, the risk of death may be part of the attraction.  Many thrill seekers take larger risks.

Yes, for daily BFR passenger travel between major cities on Earth, BFR safety will need to be proven, so that would presumably occur after many BFR Mars missions.  But still, I assume the risk would be larger than airplane travel, and again, that may be part of the attraction.

One thing seems clear: Today's entrepreneurs are not risk averse, as evidenced by Mark Zuckerberg's famous quote:
Quote from: Mark Zuckerberg
The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

Bottom line: BFR could be quite successful without having a very low failure rate.

« Last Edit: 12/23/2017 01:16 PM by Dave G »

Offline philw1776

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #38 on: 12/23/2017 04:07 PM »
People are not shying away from AMTRAK trains despite their record of avoidable fatal accidents.  The government has not shut down AMTRAK.

Citing this as an example that a mass transportation technology (other than the obvious cars & busses) does not need to have 0 fatalities. 

Early jet travel had many fatalities. Percentage per trip or passengers transported were low but every year several major crashes made the news.  Kudos to those whose hard work has made airline travel so much safer.
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Offline Patchouli

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #39 on: 12/23/2017 04:28 PM »
IMHO the best solution for nuclear waste is to burn it in an LFTR. This way you get rid of it and produce electricity and valuable by-products. from: http://flibe-energy.com/lftr/

"LFTR technology can also be used to consume the remaining fissile material available in spent nuclear fuel stockpiles around the world and to extract and resell many of the other valuable fission byproducts that are currently deemed hazardous waste in their current spent fuel rod form.  The U.S. nuclear industry has already allocated $25 billion for storage or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel and the world currently has over 340,000 tonnes of spent LWR fuel with enough usable fissile material to start one 100 MWe LFTR per day for 93 years. (A 100 MW LFTR requires 100 kg of fissile material (U-233, U-235, or Pu-239) as an initial fissile charge to begin the thorium-to-uranium breeding cycle)."

Probably the best solution as it turns a waste product into a useful commodity.
Sr-90 a fission by product in nuclear waste could be useful as an alternative to Pu238 for use in RTGs and REUs for applications that don't need as long of a life span.

Offline Rhyshaelkan

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #40 on: 12/24/2017 02:52 AM »
Yes, burning nuclear waste in a fluid fueled reactor is the better method of disposal. Many of the daughter products are useful. Also the daughter products usually have a shorter half-life. Becoming stable in tens of years, rather than hundreds or thousands.

Fluid fuel allows for greater burnup. A couple of the most common daughter products are xenon and krypton. In solid fuel the sudden production of a gas will fracture the fuel. Solid fuel has to be pulled out of the reactor after only burning up a couple % of the fuel. Fluid fuel get around this by constant chemical processing. The xenon, which also poisons your neutron economy, bubbles right out of solution.

You do wind up with a some long lived and unusable elements. But you could turn 100000 tons of "waste" into lots of energy, marketable daughter products, and perhaps 10000 tons of unusable waste. All depends on how much chemical processing is done at the end. As with any recycling, there is a level of diminishing returns.

If only the public were educated in the realities of radiation. Up till about 7 years ago I thought all radiation was bad, the no threshold theory. Then I finally learned the nature of radiation.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2017 03:22 AM by Rhyshaelkan »
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Offline hkultala

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #41 on: 12/24/2017 05:38 AM »
[offtopic]


BFR will have to be far more reliable than modern launch vehicles to succeed, but I've seen no evidence that it offers more reliability.  It is still a multi-stage rocket subject to the same failure modes as other rockets.


Upper stage engine failure is LOM on other launchers, but just longer burn and greater gravity losses on BFR.

FFSC engine eliminates possibility of catastrophic engine failure because of leaking seal.

Full reusability allows much higher number of test flights with analysis of components after each flight. The weak components can be identified and improved.

[/offtopic]

But the idea to send nuclear waste to space just makes no sense at all.

Storing it to deep caves in non-volcanic, non-earthquake regions is MUCH safer than launching it with even rockets that are much more reliable than current rockets. And much cheaper.

Offline zhangmdev

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #42 on: 12/24/2017 12:28 PM »
Mass and volume. There are estimated 250,000 metric tonnes of heavy metal in form of spent fuel in storage. Maybe ten thousand tonnes are added every year. I don't see mankind will be capable of launching that amount of mass into deep space any time soon. When that capability is somehow acquired, better launch something that is not waste. Meanwhile, the volume of waste is very small.

"For example, in the UK – the world's oldest nuclear industry – the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium. "

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/nuclear-fuel-cycle/nuclear-wastes/radioactive-waste-management.aspx

The world is unlikely to run out of space to store that stuff, for a very long time.

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #43 on: 12/24/2017 01:49 PM »
the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium.

It's similar in the states.  The total U.S. nuclear waste from all commercial reactors would fill an American football field to a depth of 3 meters.

What's more, the really hot stuff that stays radioactive for a thousand years, that would fill just the 1-yard line. 

The world is unlikely to run out of space to store that stuff, for a very long time.
I agree.  The problem of nuclear waste has been overstated. It's not really a problem at all.

And again, modern reactors can use that waste as fuel. So it's actually part of the solution.


Offline Hog

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #44 on: 12/24/2017 02:09 PM »
the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium.

It's similar in the states.  The total U.S. nuclear waste from all commercial reactors would fill an American football field to a depth of 3 meters.

What's more, the really hot stuff that stays radioactive for a thousand years, that would fill just the 1-yard line. 



Ive been looking for a graphic for that stat and I cant find it.  The show about nuclear power and how we'd better get off our asses and start investing in it again was an excellent one. IIRC the video was about how people who campaigned against nuclear power, are now realizing what a good low CO2 producing technology it is.

So here is a different one about the energy density of nuclear power.  Don't send it away by rocket, its far too valuable.
Paul

Offline Radical_Ignorant

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #45 on: 12/24/2017 02:39 PM »
Saying that modern reactors can burn waste from old reactors is false. That's like saying BFR is flying with failure rate of 0.0000000001%. There are no modern reactors. There are concepts of new reactors. All reactors in western word are really old tech. Even when including EPR - which is not yet finished anywhere. It's really old tech wrapped around in super expensive modern safety systems which makes it not economical. MSR is power point at current moment. And in US AFAIK there is no chance for any meaningful progress due to paralysing weight of bureaucracy surrounding everything nuclear. 

So can we assume that power points (even if serious people are seriously working on them) are not on topic?

- From financial perspective it makes sense to use BFR to get rid of hottest stuff.
- From NIMB perspective it makes sense to use BFR to get rid of hottest stuff.
- From safety perspective (most important perspective) however we don't have data. And here question is: how reliable BFR would need to be to launch some waste in it? In can be packed it safely, so radiation is not spread even in case of mission failure. It's just tradeoff: how much you send stuff, and how much weight is package.

Of course there is other answer: radioactive waste is not problem at all as long as we don't put it in really wrong place. It's 99.9% just fear made of ignorance and whole this discussion makes no sense, as it's a trolley problem.

Offline aero

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #46 on: 12/24/2017 03:53 PM »
Well, IF ... If you're launching the waste into space anyway then send it to Mars where in due time the modern reactor to burn it can be built. That is if the Martian population needs power more than they fear the risk.

Some Martain could make some Earth $ via the agreement to accept the waste and some Earthling could cash in on the transportation.

Once this idea is worked out then the Lunar colony would seize the idea and compete for the Earth $.

An afterthought. Assuming the transportation is done with robotic ships, would there be any significant transportation savings by shipping a few full-up shielded systems to Mars, then launching full-up shielded loads of waste to LEO, robotically removing some of the shielding, send the packaged waste to Mars orbit where it is inserted into a full-up shielded system for de-orbit and landing? The only savings would be the lower mass accelerated from LEO to TMI and decelerated from the Mars trajectory velocity to LMO. The deceleration may or may not be able to use atmospheric deceleration at Mars.
« Last Edit: 12/24/2017 04:59 PM by aero »
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Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #47 on: 12/24/2017 04:43 PM »
The total U.S. nuclear waste from all commercial reactors would fill an American football field to a depth of 3 meters.

What's more, the really hot stuff that stays radioactive for a thousand years, that would fill just the 1-yard line. 

Ive been looking for a graphic for that stat and I cant find it.

Starting at 5:44 into the video:
« Last Edit: 12/24/2017 04:43 PM by Dave G »

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #48 on: 12/24/2017 05:00 PM »
Saying that modern reactors can burn waste from old reactors is false...  There are concepts of new reactors.

Only Russia have working breeder reactor.

India and Japan both have working breeders and China has a small working prototype.

Seems like conflicting statements.  Can anyone provide links as backup?

In any case, if we don't have reactors that can burn nuclear waste as fuel right now, we probably will in the near future.  It's clear that people are working on this.  Today's nuclear waste is tomorrow's nuclear fuel.

And if that doesn't work, then storing nuclear waste on earth is not a big issue.  There's not that much of it.

Sending nuclear waste into space is much more expensive, and much more dangerous than storing it on Earth.


« Last Edit: 12/24/2017 05:08 PM by Dave G »

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #49 on: 12/24/2017 05:07 PM »
Thanks or the link Dave, and Wiki has multiple entries about Breeder Reactors in use.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breeder_reactor#Future_plants
Paul

Offline Elmar Moelzer

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #50 on: 12/24/2017 06:30 PM »
Fusion- Fission- Hybrids could burn the nuclear waste and produce lots of energy in the process. Helion Energy has had a very workable concept for that for years. The problem is less of a technical one, than a cultural one. The "fission people" don't want all that "complicated fusion stuff" with their "simple fission reactors". The "fusion people" don't want all that "dirty fission stuff" with their "clean fusion reactors". Either way, IMHO "nuclear waste", which I would rather call "slightly spent fuel" could be a valuable resource and should be kept for times when we need it.

Offline lamontagne

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #51 on: 12/25/2017 03:14 AM »
the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium.

It's similar in the states.  The total U.S. nuclear waste from all commercial reactors would fill an American football field to a depth of 3 meters.

What's more, the really hot stuff that stays radioactive for a thousand years, that would fill just the 1-yard line. 



Ive been looking for a graphic for that stat and I cant find it.  The show about nuclear power and how we'd better get off our asses and start investing in it again was an excellent one. IIRC the video was about how people who campaigned against nuclear power, are now realizing what a good low CO2 producing technology it is.

So here is a different one about the energy density of nuclear power.  Don't send it away by rocket, its far too valuable.
What's so great about high energy density?  The question is really about the cost of overall infrastructure vs the demand and storage capacities.  The whole Earth ecosystem depends on the reliability of the sun, and stores energy in discrete local systems (mostly sugars and such) why don't we do the same, or equivalents?
Not to say that nuclear reactors are not interesting, backup is nice and there are some concentrated industries where is seems very applicable.  But I'm not certain we really want to have 20 000 of them around, which is more or less the amount of 1 GW power stations required to replace fossil fuels by the year 2100.

I think the idea of sending nuclear waste into space is extremely silly.  In particular if you want to use a lot of nuclear reactors.

I've included a spreadsheet of power demand till 2100.  Comments welcome!

« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 03:17 AM by lamontagne »

Online llanitedave

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #52 on: 12/25/2017 05:10 PM »
If the political will to ship it by rail or truck to a remote underground site in the Nevada desert doesn't exist, how is anyone going to get approval to ship it to the populous and hurricane-prone Space Coast?

Disagree. Transit of nuke material happens all the time everywhere. People only complain when said material stays in their area for a prolong period.

When people understand that the nuke material is in transit to somewhere else. Then there will be less public resistance.

It will be better to launch from Boca Chica for nuke waste shipments. We only have the NSF clubhouse to worry about.  :)

That hasn't been my experience.  People only "tolerate" nuclear waste shipment through their area because they're:
1.  Unusual, and
2.  Unpublicized.
That is your guess that it is the reason.

[...]  It doesn't really matter whether the waste is going their for permanent storage or temporary storage. [...]
[/qoute]
It does matter a lot. Argument that it will last "million years" is at the head of every anti nuclear comment/article.

All that said, launching it into space is a terrible idea on every level, the ultimate non-starter.  It ain't gonna happen, and rightly so.
[/qoute]
Every level? What that means. What's wrong with it ultimately being in far space? Launching is only risky moment, except we are talking launcher which is as reliable as planes and ships and we have planes flying with nuclear bombs, not waste, and ships using active nuclear reactor.
This last piece smells like: I doesn't like this idea and I refuse to consider it based on my previous experience and knowledge from previous spaceflight age (there is no new age yet, but BFR will probably make it assuming it mets most of design goals).

And what makes your guess more informed than mine?  I've talked to individuals, journalists, politicians, educators, lobbyists, scientists, and engineers specifically about these issues, and I think my "guess" is pretty much focused on the underlying as well as the conscious reasons for peoples opinions.

The amount of nuclear waste in storage is huge and growing.  Yucca Mountain was designed to handle 77,000 tons of the stuff, and that wasn't going to be nearly enough.  That doesn't begin to count the weight of shielding, transport casks, and accessory equipment required to remotely handle the spent fuel, which is highly radioactive and toxic.

BFR or not BFR is irrelevant.  Launch remains riskier than aircraft flight, and is far more weight constrained.  Ships can carry nuclear reactors around, but ships can carry a lot of weight in shielding and safety equiment.  Aircraft have been carrying weapons, certainly, but the nuclear material in weapons is simply not as radioactive as is high level spent fuel, the quantities are smaller, and we've had, as it is, some very close calls that would have been better had we not done it.

One of your mistakes is that you're thinking "nuclear material" is a single type of substance, and if one nuclear material can be tolerated, the others are no different.  That's not true.  Raw nuclear fuel is only mildly radioactive, spent fuel is extremely radioactive.  The consequences of a transport accident are manageable in both cases, although public hysteria over spent fuel is far greater.  Nevertheless, the risk of accident is there, and the recovery of spent fuel from a launch accident would be a nasty job that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

There remain two feasible methods for dealing with high-level nuclear waste:
1.  Reprocessing, which turns it back into fuel (although it does leave some reduced volume of any stuff that would still have to be dealt with)
2.  Deep Geologic disposal, which requires the locating and preparation of a site that can be guaranteed stable to isolate the waste for a million years or so.

Both of those solutions require that high level spent fuel be transported en masse from the power plants to the final facility.  Both of them are likely to generate a huge amount of NIMBY opposition. It was that political opposition, not any technical or geologic flaws, that shut down the plans for the Yucca Mountain repository.  Adding in another proposed approach, with the same transport and even greater safety issues, is not going to relieve the political pressure.  And technically, it is far riskier and more complex, and more expensive, than geologic dispoosal.

Merry Christmas!
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 05:20 PM by llanitedave »
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Offline Hog

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #53 on: 12/25/2017 05:31 PM »
the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium.

It's similar in the states.  The total U.S. nuclear waste from all commercial reactors would fill an American football field to a depth of 3 meters.

What's more, the really hot stuff that stays radioactive for a thousand years, that would fill just the 1-yard line. 



Ive been looking for a graphic for that stat and I cant find it.  The show about nuclear power and how we'd better get off our asses and start investing in it again was an excellent one. IIRC the video was about how people who campaigned against nuclear power, are now realizing what a good low CO2 producing technology it is.

So here is a different one about the energy density of nuclear power.  Don't send it away by rocket, its far too valuable.
What's so great about high energy density?  The question is really about the cost of overall infrastructure vs the demand and storage capacities.  The whole Earth ecosystem depends on the reliability of the sun, and stores energy in discrete local systems (mostly sugars and such) why don't we do the same, or equivalents?
The high energy density of nuclear fuel compared to something like coal should be self explanatory.

Uranium IS a local system that was produced by a star.

The complete solution will be a multi faceted one, not just nuclear, not just the Sun.  Clouds happen.  The biggest issue IMO is the lack of informed knowledge amongst the population.  I'd be more than happy to have a nuke powerplant in my backyard.
Paul

Offline lamontagne

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #54 on: 12/25/2017 06:05 PM »
the total amount of radioactive waste produced to date, and forecast to 2125, is about 4.9 million tonnes. After all waste has been packaged, it is estimated that the final volume would occupy a space similar to that of a large, modern soccer stadium.

It's similar in the states.  The total U.S. nuclear waste from all commercial reactors would fill an American football field to a depth of 3 meters.

What's more, the really hot stuff that stays radioactive for a thousand years, that would fill just the 1-yard line. 



Ive been looking for a graphic for that stat and I cant find it.  The show about nuclear power and how we'd better get off our asses and start investing in it again was an excellent one. IIRC the video was about how people who campaigned against nuclear power, are now realizing what a good low CO2 producing technology it is.

So here is a different one about the energy density of nuclear power.  Don't send it away by rocket, its far too valuable.
What's so great about high energy density?  The question is really about the cost of overall infrastructure vs the demand and storage capacities.  The whole Earth ecosystem depends on the reliability of the sun, and stores energy in discrete local systems (mostly sugars and such) why don't we do the same, or equivalents?
The high energy density of nuclear fuel compared to something like coal should be self explanatory.

Uranium IS a local system that was produced by a star.

The complete solution will be a multi faceted one, not just nuclear, not just the Sun.  Clouds happen.  The biggest issue IMO is the lack of informed knowledge amongst the population.  I'd be more than happy to have a nuke powerplant in my backyard.
But nuclear to coal isn't that obvious, not really.  As thermal system, they are very close.  Coal is really just abundant cheap dirt that can be gathered up with large cheap shovels.  Its only real flaw is pollution and a fair amount of handling.  A nuclear reactor is only a tight and hot furnace. The only gain is a slightly smaller core, if that. All the rest is the same, coolant, turbines, alternators, buildings, etc.  And the cost of the containment building is quite high.  Its lots of concrete.  The pollution cost of nuclear is non negligible, at the mine site ( where a lot of rock is crushed to get to the mineral, uranium is ppm level ore) at the plant, and in particular at decommissioning time.  And proliferation risks, if there were tens of thousands of nuclear reactors built, are  huge.
Nuclear materials are nature's high level battery; seems a waste, in the long run, to spend it to get power that can be obtained by other means.  From the big fusion reactor in the sky, in particular.
I'm quite fond of small self contained reactors.  But they have been pushed out of the picture by cheap gas.  Gas is so cheap that the whole thorium movement has run into a wall.  And I'm kind of expecting cheap solar to put the nail into the coffin of that technology.  As long as the required batteries are there, of course.

Hydro-Quebec, who should know, has put the date at which solar will start winning against our own cheap hydro at 2025, perhaps earlier. 

I think nuclear waste is a resource and should be treated as such.  Haven't we gone beyond burying stuff and hiding it (or shooting it into space)?  Hiding costs by refusing to treat nuclear waste should not be acceptable


Offline macpacheco

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #55 on: 12/25/2017 08:20 PM »
Do you think BFR could make space disposal of long-lived highly radioactive material economically viable. I am thinking of putting them on a trajectory with direct impact with Jupiter for instance (a place where conceivably we will never go).

I found a source which says

Quote
The question was investigated in the USA by NASA in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Because of the high cost of this option and the safety aspects associated with the risk of launch failure, it was abandoned.

Could BFR solve both issues, cost and safety ?
Nuclear waste is only genuinely mildly unsafe until it cools down enough to be put into casks stored outside.
Until that point it shouldn't even be moved outside the spent fuel cooling ponds.
Once in casts, there is NO reason to call it a safety hazard.
The premise of your question is based on fake anti nuclear news.
Plus 97% of spent fuel is still actinides that can be fully fissioned on a fast reactor.
The fundamental problem with nuclear power is misinformation.
People can't accept the fact that nuclear power is OBJECTIVELY just as safe as solar or wind power (in number of actual deaths per TWh generated).
All the arguments "oh but nuclear power is dangerous" is based on conjectures that don't have much scientific basis.
1/6th of the world's electricity generation comes from nuclear. Around 400 reactors operating in the world.
Why don't you ask why we can't launch coal ash to the moon or something like that. Coal ash is a real problem that kills people every year (although what coal launches into the air is much worse).

Edit: Response to mods. I don't intend to post again on this thread. Sorry for going off topic, but the reason for creating this thread at first place is misinformation, hence I believe it must be combated.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 09:48 PM by macpacheco »
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Offline Lar

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #56 on: 12/25/2017 09:21 PM »
This thread seems to be wandering a bit. General waste disposal, how many reactors are needed to replace coal, why fusion people don't like mixed reactors, etc etc... all off topic.

Please try to bring it around. Thanks!
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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #57 on: 12/25/2017 10:02 PM »
Thanks Lar, I'd like to make one point about nuclear which is off topic, well maybe, as the whole idea of sending nuclear waste into space is so daft....

The only reason to have civil nuclear power in the current era is to have a domestic source of engineers capable of designing nuclear power plants. The only reason for nuclear power is for boomers, nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines. The tipping point where renewables are cheaper than nuclear is long past, even if the shouting about it has not started in earnest yet.

Renewables + power storage is now cheap enough to start supplanting not just nuclear power but all other forms of electricity.

Current nuclear waste contains all the material needed to continue building military nuclear power plants for hundreds of years. No state wishing to have an independent nuclear deterrent would want to send it into space.

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #58 on: 12/25/2017 11:37 PM »
The biggest issue IMO is the lack of informed knowledge amongst the population.  I'd be more than happy to have a nuke powerplant in my backyard.
I would also be happy having a nuclear power plant in my back yard.

I would not be happy having a solar panel manufacturing plant in my back yard.  Lots of nasty toxic stuff involved in making photovoltaics (e.g. Cadmium Telluride, Copper Indium Selenide, Cadmium Indium Gallium (Di)selenide, Silicon Tetrachloride).

In fact, more people have died with solar power than with nuclear power, including Chernobyl and Fukushima.

More on topic, Solar panels create 300 times more toxic waste per unit of energy than do nuclear power plants.
http://environmentalprogress.org/big-news/2017/6/21/are-we-headed-for-a-solar-waste-crisis

When you look at the actual numbers, Nuclear is the safest form of energy.
« Last Edit: 12/25/2017 11:45 PM by Dave G »

Offline QuantumG

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #59 on: 12/25/2017 11:41 PM »
You'd be happy living next to a uranium mine too... in Canada or Australia... not so much in Kazakhstan (where the majority of the world's uranium still comes from), as they use a different process.
I hear those things are awfully loud. It glides as softly as a cloud. What's it called? Monowhale!

Offline Dave G

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #60 on: 12/25/2017 11:58 PM »
You'd be happy living next to a uranium mine too... in Canada or Australia... not so much in Kazakhstan (where the majority of the world's uranium still comes from), as they use a different process.
Uranium that comes out of the ground is not particularly toxic.  It's mostly U-238, which is not radioactive.  Less than 1% is the radioactive isotope U-235.

To make enriched uranium fuel, they separate out the radioactive U-235.  The leftover U-238 is called "depleted uranium", which is not radioactive, so this is not considered nuclear waste.

However, mining any mineral from the earth often brings up many other toxic minerals in the ore, and there's a lot of dust involved in processing that ore.  For these reasons, I would not want to live next to a uranium mine.

Offline Andy USA

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Re: BFR - disposal of nuclear wastes
« Reply #61 on: 12/26/2017 03:34 AM »
Thread is totally off topic. Locking as it started very leftfield in the first place.

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