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Thread: Idaho's crazy scientists..

  1. #1
    Freedom Fighter jeremyboycool's Avatar
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    Apr 2001

    Idaho's crazy scientists..

    The INL (Idaho National Laboratory) is working on two new and improved nuclear reactor designs.

    I just don't get these scientist, they must have amazing amounts of creativity to come up with these reactors but yet they utterly and totally suck at naming them.

    The VHTR or Very-High-Temperature Reactor as they describe it.

    The Very-High-Temperature Reactor (VHTR) is a graphite-moderated, helium-cooled reactor with a once-through uranium fuel cycle. It supplies heat with high core outlet temperatures which enables applications such as hydrogen production or process heat for the petrochemical industry or others.

    The VHTR system is designed to be a high-efficiency system that can supply process heat to a broad spectrum of high-temperature and energy-intensive, non-electric processes. The system may incorporate electricity generating equipment to meet cogeneration needs. The system also has the flexibility to adopt uranium/plutonium fuel cycles and offer enhanced waste minimization. Thus, the VHTR offers a broad range of process heat applications and an option for high-efficiency electricity production, while retaining the desirable safety characteristics offered by modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactors.

    I have no clue what most of that means but according to the article I read in Discover magazine it can burn up to 1800F which is x3 higher then current reactors and should output electricity 40% more efficiently then the common reactor.

    Also Discover says, "VHTR plants could even produce hydrogen for fuel using high-temperature steam electrolysis, which breaks apart the bonds of water molecules; this process is 50 percent more energy-efficient than existing hydrogen production methods."

    Which I am not exactly sure what that means but it sounds like a good thing. Also, apparently, it is suppose to be a super safe reactor as well, idiot proofed so no human error could ever cause a meltdown.

    The other reactor is called the SFR or Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor.

    The Sodium-Cooled Fast Reactor (SFR) system features a fast-spectrum, sodium-cooled reactor and a closed fuel cycle for efficient management of actinides and conversion of fertile uranium.

    Apparently this baby can extract 100 times more energy from uranium fuel then current reactors. The SFR can even burn spent rods from other reactors, which of course would greatly reduce waste. Although I guess they currently have a problem with monitoring the temperature with this reactor, so it might not be as safe as the VHTR.

    Here's the Discover article.

    I also learned that a nuclear reactor is nothing but fancy steam engine. The nuclear reaction produces heat which they use to heat water into steam which is use to generate electricity. In light of this, I suggest we change the name of nuclear power plants to VFSE or Very Fancy Steams Engine.
    Last edited by jeremyboycool; 01-21-10 at 12:58 AM.
    "The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge." - Stephen Hawking

  2. #2
    Second Most EVIL YARDofSTUF's Avatar
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    Stanely Nuker?

  3. #3
    Moderator YeOldeStonecat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by YARDofSTUF View Post
    Stanely Nuker?
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