Re: Sun's Tech Chief Has His Head Up His Ass

From: Chuck Kuecker (
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 05:12:43 MST

At 09:47 AM 3/15/2000 +0000, you wrote:

>The upshot is that nuclear reactors today are a bit like space launchers
>-- hyper-evolved military spin-offs, expensive, powerful, but unreliable
>and not really suitable for low-cost, safe, civilian use. The problem
>with this picture is that there is no nuclear equivalent of ROTON or
>Beal or Kistler on the horizon; because nuclear technology has strategic
>military implications, no government is going to let some bunch of
>eccentric whacko technology entrepreneurs reinvent it in a cheap, fast,
>and out-of-control format that can prove its merit on the open market.

Remember, one of the first acts of the Klinton administration was to cancel
Argonne Labs' Integral Fast Reactor project, just before the technology
demonstrator unit was to go on line. We paid more to have the project
dismantled than we would have to have finished it and collected the data.

This design was touted as being inherently safe, it operated without need
for waste disposal, as it was designed to burn the high level wastes inside
the containment, and it reprocessed it's own wastes into new fuel on site.
It was even designed as a 'throwaway', after 30 years or so it would be
shut down and sealed off, with only fairly low level contamination
permanently sealed inside until it would be safe to dismantle. Being a fast
breeder, it would have been vastly more efficient than our present PWR designs.

Last I heard, the French were pursuing research along these lines.

Chuck Kuecker

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