Nuclear Power – Try It and See

A lot of people see nuclear power as a well understood and scientific persuit. Well it is not. It is akin to alchemy.

Let us take the example of the pressurized water reator. They tell us that they simply pass ‘water’ through the reactor for cooling and as a moderator. Sounds fine but is it actually water? Basic ‘O’ level chemistry tell you that there is H3O+ and OH in water. However, with the intense radiation you have HOO, H+, H·, HOO·, and a lot of other exotic species. The concept of acid and base goes out the window. It is a mess.

When you build a wind turbine of a gas power plant then the properties of the steel and other components are well known within the operating conditions.

However, with nuclear we have no idea untill we actually build the things. There is no way of reproducing anything like the conditions inside a nuclear power plant unless we actually have one running.

No wonder graphite moderators start evaporting and cracking, metals become unexpectedly brittle and pressure vessels start corroding. The whole thing is based and try it and see.

What actually happens to the fuel is even worse with hundreds of different isotopes being formed which are difficult to separate. In the end most of the useful fuel is dumped with the waste products even if the fuel is reprocessed.

I am not against nuclear fission. It is a shame that we are throwing away most of the energy embodied in Uranium. Nuclear fussion may still be 50 years away. However, nuclear fission is probably at least 100 years away until we find a safe and efficient way of using this energy resource and even then it is doubtful if it will be economic.


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