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Utilities Included? 16

Miles writes: "I don't think I would want to rent a room over a nuclear reactor, even if Dr. Scientist says its completely safe..... Does he live in the apartment building or in a nice house in the suburbs?"
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Utilities Included?

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  • Is it rent controled?
  • Hmmm . . . using liquid lithium-6 to control the core sounds like a really "cool" idea (sorry, couldn't resist the pun this morning). But, as the lithium absorbs neutrons, doesn't it become litium-7 and/or lithium-8? How do the extra neutrons in the lithium affect it's physical properties - i.e. coefficient of expansion as the liquid is heated and cooled?

    The idea here is that as the physical properties of the lithium changes, it will expand further into the core (or not as far) and effect the control of the reactor.

    I know that the scientists who designed this thing probably thought of this, but I'm just curious as to how noticeable the effect is of the extra neutrons to the physical properties of lithium. Anyone know?

    PS - anyone know the proper use of "effect" and "affect"? Four hours of sleep is effecting my thought processes - or is that affecting my thought processes?
  • This sounds like the first step toward developing arcologies.

    I just hope they build the Launch ones and not Darcos *shudder*.
  • It's too bad that the irrational fears of the general public will probably keep this sort of thing from being put to use for quite some time. And since most people are scientifically ignorant, it's nearly impossible to educate them...

    Maybe the nuclear industry should just pay MTV to tout reactors on worked for Limp Bizkit...
  • I think nuclear power is a great idea, and every intelligent person knows it produces orders of magnitude less waste than conventional powering methods.

    Why does Slashdot fell the need to choose quotes like this one for their article? It just feeds the fear of nuclear energy.
    • Less physical waste, yes, probably. But, look at the type of waste it produces. Radioactive nastiness that has to be wrapped in lead and buried deep within the earth, at least at the moment, with threats of accidental radioactive seepage into groundwater and plant life. (see WIPP [], a project in southern New Mexico for radioactive wastes produced from the manufacture of nuclear weapons, to see what I mean) We're still trying to figure out what to do with the material from the past decades of nuclear power usage, and now we want to build dozens more reactors? I think we're jumping the gun a little here. Let's let the scientists, who, granted, know a hell of a lot more about it than I ever will, figure out what to do with the end product before we start junking up our childrens' planet.
  • Most apartment complexes I have ever seen have enough problems preventing water leaks, and water is nowhere near as corrosive as sodium, nor as reactive if it does leak. Great idea. Lets have a fire bomb in the basement.
    • You should compare with gas leaks. Water leaks are obviously not considered critical - that's why they are so common (in you area). More care is put into gas pipes because gas leaks are pretty dangerous - a study on how often gas leaks occur should give a rough estimate (say upper limit) for reactor leaks.

      Also please consider, that said gas is dangerous too ("fire bomb"), as well as your cars' motor which actually has several thousand gas explosions per minute - but somehow it's not considered a danger at all. What I want to say: It depends on how much care and effort you take to make it safe.

      Next, please note that they are talking about making the reactor "fail-safe". In this context "fail-safe" is a technical term that means "if it fails, it should by design fall into a safe state". It's not easy to make things fail-safe, maybe it cannot even be achieved - we have to wait and see. It would indeed be foolish to use a non fail-safe design for reactors without operator control.
  • Hmm... reading the article one thing stuck out in my eye - 200kW - isn't that a bit little for a whole appartment block. I guestimate an average household will be using at least 1kW on just lights and background electronics at any time before anything high-load like cooking, heating or cooling...
    Maybe an error on the part of the article-writer?
    Best winds,
    • The article also said that the reactor would be used to "To relieve peak loads in the near future" and not as the sole power source for the apartment block. I would think that they would use these things when it was CHEAPER than pulling it of the main power grid. You have to figure in the cost of using this thing as opposed to getting power from another source. Plus I think it would be more than likely that you could use more than one of these things in conjunction with each other. You wouldn't have to have just one.
  • This is a great idea. I just had one thought. How long do these things last? After they die what do you do with the radio active waste? You can't just dump it down the drain and go to the store to pick up some new plutonium.

    Just a thought...

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell