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Old 2020-11-26, 00:34   #122
richs
 
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I remember visiting these two reactors at Brookhaven National Lab on Long Island in New York a few times when I was in grade school in the late 1960's. These visits fueled my interest in science and math.

https://www.bnl.gov/erd/
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Old 2022-06-01, 19:18   #123
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I want to somewhat "revive" this thread and share a few things I have encountered in my job life so far; well I am still pretty young (26 right now) and thus work in an "dying" nuclear industry. But thats not entirely true however.


I started working in Nuclear Power Plants in the year 2017 via my old employer; that time only outside and helped replacing components inside the cooling tower. Shortly later I worked 4 months inside the fuel assembly factory near Lingen. (Which for obvious reasons is all I can say about it). Until then I wasn´t certain if Nuclear Power is that save, I had some concerns against it.


This changed when I started working at Muelheim-Kaerlich, as some of you might now is a more or less failed NPP. Well lets say the local government screwed up as the plant was build 70m away as written down in the permits, this wasnt noticed during construction and "hot testing", but after 13 months it was shut down for good.
I worked inside the containment building and part of my job was to bring the entire waste from the 2 steam boilers towards the environment. Within two years a majority of the 1.600 MG was checked for contamination and recieved a permit to re-use it. ~400 MG where either nuclear waste or hard to measure (too much surface that cant be checked for activation/contamination.)
During the entire time I slowly got used to the entire plant and its massive size, plus the magnitude of safety systems that are available. The pure assumption that a major plane could crash into the reactor building to damage important components is quite vague in my view, knowing how much steel and concrete is protecting it. I would say a hit to the cooling tower is much more efficient and would economically destroy the plant (Regardless if its a nuclear, or coal/whatever plant).



In late 2020 I finally switched over to an other company and just recently visited the NPP Phillipsburg II where I filled 4 Castors with used nuclear fuel. The Castor is dry storage cask for used fuel and it was quite an honor to process any significant step. Once again I can say the safety requirements are very high, the risk of an failure is extremely low but not impossible.

Of course I can go into details, but try to break an 110 ton heavy cask or try to move it. And the IAEA is watching every little move.



That brings me over to the next power station where I am right now, in a few days I will help un- and reloading one of Germanys Reactors for the last time. Our Government decided to leave nuclear power for good and it is sad that they are still not reconsidering an possible comeback with modern technologies.



What brings the future, well lot of work. Later this year I might get specialized, handling of highly activated components inside hot cells via manipulators. Though that's only a maybe now.
I got asked today if I would be interested into operating wire saws as I already did that in 2019/2020.

Both sounds great to me and might mean I can work outside of Germany or even outside of Europe; so lets see what will happen soon.




BTW: Many nations are reconsidering Nuclear power, what are your thoughts about that. So far I can name:


France (yeah, obvious. 6 new EPR´s and maybe a few small modular reactors)
Poland
Netherlands (1/2 new units)
Belgium (Wanted to phase out, but stopped it. Is also building new research reactors such as MHYRRA)
UK (28 GWh of nuclear power until 2050; which is a damn lot)
and any other I forgot.
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Old 2022-06-01, 19:47   #124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterBitcoin View Post
BTW: Many nations are reconsidering Nuclear power, what are your thoughts about that. So far I can name:

France (yeah, obvious. 6 new EPR´s and maybe a few small modular reactors)
Poland
Netherlands (1/2 new units)
Belgium (Wanted to phase out, but stopped it. Is also building new research reactors such as MHYRRA)
UK (28 GWh of nuclear power until 2050; which is a damn lot)
and any other I forgot.
A quick search shows that the USofA has 93 operating reactors producing about 95.5 GW
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Old 2022-06-29, 23:09   #125
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A quick search shows that the USofA has 93 operating reactors producing about 95.5 GW
Before the Three Mile Island fiasco in 1979, there were many new nuclear stations planned in the U.S. No new construction has taken place since then that I am aware of. Then came Chernobyl in 1986 and Fukushima in 2011.

Construction of the Marble Hill station, very near where I live, was was halted in 1984. Cost overruns basically bankrupted the utility company which owned the facility. The concrete work was shoddy, at best. Lots of voids inside the walls of the two containment buildings had to be dealt with. The site was purchased by another company. What could be sold was sold. The rest was cut up for scrap.

Wind and solar farms are alright, but they take up a lot of space. Most plants here burn coal or natural gas. Large utility companies want to get away from that, and they don't see renewables as an alternate. This only leaves nuclear. Back in the '70's, people were really naive about how these things worked and the possible dangers. No more. Unit 1 at TMI was shut down when the Unit 2 accident occurred. There was a huge uproar when the utility company sought permission from the NRC to restart Unit 1. It operated until 2019.
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Old 2022-06-30, 00:03   #126
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There are solid waste issues with nuclear, coal, wind, and solar. (Spent fuel, ash, old monster blades, and old panels.)

Hydro is pretty fully developed. Plus droughts are making it less effective as a "hydroelectric battery".

Nuke plants are fission-dependent, and good for handling base load. They are heavily invested in enriched uranium. There are some breeder capable plants. There's almost no installed thorium infrastructure. There is a lot more thorium resource, and it's safer as fuel since Thorium is not adaptable to nuclear weapons, which is exactly why it was not developed for utility use before uranium was.
It's my understanding India is pursuing thorium based generation, as may be some other nations.

Gas turbines or steam turbines can adjust quickly to changing load.
Wind and solar are irregular production timewise, ("not dispatchable") and need to be teamed with massive energy storage or other sources that can adjust to load variations and compensate for short time scale fluctuation in wind and solar output.
It seems like forever people have been working toward commercially viable fusion power. Maybe someday. ~2050
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power

Land use is also a consideration. It takes several acres for a solar array that single-axis tracks and produces 1MW at peak light (times ~3-8 hours output equivalent per day). That acreage can not be used for highways, housing, other real estate, cattle ranching, horses, goats, cash crops, etc, although it can double as sheep grazing area. It's typically long term leased from farmers and planted in native prairie species as pollinator support / preserve, and fenced like a substation. Nuclear or fossil plants take much less land per MW-year of output.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2022-06-30 at 00:10
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Old 2022-06-30, 00:21   #127
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Wind and solar farms are alright, but they take up a lot of space.
Wind farms can be collocated with normal farms and ranching. They can even be located on ground that has scant other possible uses or in areas set aside for wilderness use. Solar farms can also have farming under them. Some crops do better with less heat and less sun.
Quote:
Large utility companies want to get away from that, and they don't see renewables as an alternate.
They are investing in solar and wind. My utility buys wind power. The biggest issue is handling peak loads. Nuke is not good to spin up to handle peak loads. Nuke is good for base load. Renewables coupled with storage is the biggest development for handling peaking.
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Old 2022-06-30, 00:31   #128
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There are solid waste issues with nuclear, coal, wind, and solar. (Spent fuel, ash, old monster blades, and old panels.)
There are developments in handling old wind turbine blades. This issue should be relatively fully addressed in some regions. Solar old panels are starting to see 2nd lives. Panels that might have dropped off in efficiency such that a home owner in San Francisco might want to replace them with new, higher power panels, are being shipped to places that using local small petrol based generators or to places that have no electricity. They will produce more than enough to power a few lights, charge mobile phones, and run a TV.
Quote:
Hydro is pretty fully developed. Plus droughts are making it less effective as a "hydroelectric battery".
Pumped hydro is a very useful battery for peaking. Droughts are local. Aswan is still a good source, as will be the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
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Old 2022-06-30, 00:48   #129
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Quote:
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There are developments in handling old wind turbine blades. This issue should be relatively fully addressed in some regions.
Pumped hydro is a very useful battery for peaking. Droughts are local. Aswan is still a good source, as will be the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
Re blades, how so? Last I saw, they're being cut in thirds and buried. Something like these approaches?
One of the thin film solar panels in a small array on my deck has deteriorated to the point that part of the coated glass is quite transparent.
Lake Mead / Hoover Dam output versus year shows a considerable decline in the past 20 years: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...e_2000.svg.png
Over long periods, reservoir filling with sediment from upstream erosion or debris is an issue, as are any declines in the water level.
Lake Powell is really low. https://strangesounds.org/2022/03/la...-the-west.html

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Old 2022-06-30, 00:54   #130
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Land use is also a consideration. It takes several acres for a solar array that single-axis tracks and produces 1MW at peak light (times ~3-8 hours output equivalent per day). That acreage can not be used for highways, housing, other real estate, cattle ranching, horses, goats, cash crops, etc, although it can double as sheep grazing area. It's typically long term leased from farmers and planted in native prairie species as pollinator support / preserve, and fenced like a substation. Nuclear or fossil plants take much less land per MW-year of output.
Elsewhere I have talked about solar that use rooftops. The attached image is a very large solar installation. It is on roof tops. It generates more than 15MW. Houses, schools, parking lots, stores, etc. have a tremendous amount of space available for solar. My church recently installed solar. We could have installed more than twice what we did, but the rate that the utility would pay is only ~10% of what they would charge for the same amount. The payback for that would be way off. And as noted in my previous reply to you (before you added the paragraph that I quoted) there are farming uses other than sheep grazing under solar. Those include cash crops and cattle grazing. California is looking at putting solar over aqueducts. This would shade the water, causing less evaporation, lessening the need to draw more water from the source. It would also provide more power than would be required to lift the water at the pumping stations. The idea of using solar alongside of railroad tracks (in the land that is used strictly to provide a buffer) can provide power and infrastructure to power the trains.
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Old 2022-06-30, 00:59   #131
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Re blades, how so? Last I saw, they're being cut in thirds and buried. Something like these approaches?
https://www.veolianorthamerica.com/m...mic-growth-and
Quote:
Lake Mead / Hoover Dam output versus year shows a considerable decline in the past 20 years
Very USA-centric of you.

Again "pumped" hydro, read about it.

Last fiddled with by Uncwilly on 2022-06-30 at 01:00
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Old 2022-06-30, 01:13   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
https://www.veolianorthamerica.com/m...mic-growth-and

Very USA-centric of you.

Again "pumped" hydro, read about it.
In order:
Thanks;
if we each act where we are (and I was responding to a local residential solar installer earlier today, in the US midwest)...
for pumped hydro to work, there needs to be something to pump, and large reservoirs near enough laterally but at different eleveations. Western US widespread drought is cutting into that capability. I'm aware of pumped hydro as one of the most practical utility-scale energy storage methods, IF there's enough water available, and it takes huge quantities to store a GW-hour even at substantial elevation difference. There's not a lot of spare liquid water in the middle east or Africa either, and none on Antarctica. Projections are for water shortages to increase.
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nasa-re...ity-worldwide/
Consider also the fluctuations of Lake Chad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Chad


Then there's that whole bird-killing property of wind and solar-thermal power. It rains bird carcasses around the windmill towers. And smoking birds around focused-solar-boilers for steam power generation.
No adequately taught engineer escapes college without an understanding that there are always tradeoffs and limits.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2022-06-30 at 01:50
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