Dan E. re "A marxist in the leish of an oilsheik"

Rolf Martens rolf.martens at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sun Aug 25 18:48:40 MDT 1996

[In the context of my series:
'Why "reds" are "nukes" - Debate with Louis N. P.' and
'Why the chemical fuels are NOT "fossil"',
I'm forwarding this reply from newsgroups. - RM]

From: Dan Evens Newsgroups: sci.energy
Subject: Re: A marxist in the leish of an oilsheik.
Date: Tue, 20 Aug 1996 14:30:57 -0400
Organization: Ontario Hydro, Canada
Lines: 41 Message-ID:

Per Bergqvist wrote: [snip]

> 4/ Nuclear power.[snip]
> You dig a large hole in the ground, usually not in the country
>that owns the reactor.

Canada gets its uranium for use in reactors from domestic sources.

>Out of one thousand kilo rock you get aproximately one hundred
>grams of uranium.

There is a mine in Saskatchewan with a large mass of 50% uranium ore.
This ore is so rich that it is difficult to mine it.

> This uranium consists of manly two isotopes, U235 and U238. It is
>U238 that most reactors need > to work properly, at its raw stadium
>the amount of U238 is 0.4% to 0.7% depending on the quality.
> It needs to enrichened to at least 4%, a work that consumes a large
>amount of energy.

Canadian reactors use natural uranium, no enriching. There are
reactor designs that burn both isotopes of uranium. They have the
major drawback of using liquid sodium as a moderator. Sodium burns
in contact with air or water, so a leak has the potential to be a
very bad fire coupled with release of a lot of radiation.

This comes under the heading of "difficult but interesting" problems.
It is possible to use much more of the uranium, and a few countries
(Japan for example) are working on it.

> When the fuel is burnt out, again containing 0.7% of U238, it is
>stored for a while to 'cool of a bit'.  Then it is reburied in the
>ground for a few hundred generations, this makes some people think
> that it is recycled to the nature.

An idea that floats around the industry is for U.S. used fuel to be
used in Canadian reactors. It probably won't happen any time due to
a variety of technical issues. (For example: used fuel has already
been banged around about as much as it is designed to take, and
Canadian fuel bundles are not the same size as American bundles.)
But it points out the fact that different reactor designs could be
used to get more, maybe MUCH more energy out of the uranium.

-- The preceding are my opinions alone and have nothing whatever
to do with my employer. I don't even know what my employer thinks.
I'm not even real sure who the CEO is.
Dan Evens

[So far Dan E.]

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