Re: Nuclear heater for Expeditions

Hara Ra (
Wed, 07 Jan 1998 19:27:39 -0800

Dan Clemmensen wrote:

> I disagree. There are two major perceived dangers of nuclear energy:
> waste isotopes and massive energy release. If nanotech can permit us to
> build tiny reactors, the massive energy release goes away: your "mister
> fusion" is more like your gas tank than like a supertanker or an oil
> refinery in this regard.

I doubt that efficient tiny reactors can be built. There are two
possibilities, one being cold fusion (which seems to be doubtful at the
moment) and the other is based on sonoluminescence (SL). SL is still a
macroscopic process but I could imagine a SL reactor in the kilogram
size range.

OTOH, using nanotech for waste disposal, including body waste, for full
oxidation would provide quite a bit of energy and keep the campsite
clean too. The tent could be made of a kind of diamondoid foam with
vacuum within the foam (like a super aerogel) giving the tent a
reasonable R value (15 or so) so staying warm in the tent would be easy.
The nano could also collect the evaporated water (and its heat of
condensation stays in the tent). Going nuclear seems a bit excessive for
this app which has many non nuke solutions.

> If, as you say, nanotech can permit complete recovery of
> the dangerous isotopes generated
> by neutron activation, then all that remains is deactivation of those
> same isotopes. This is also perfectly feasible, because these isotopes
> can be exposed to still more fast neutrons by recycling them back into
> the fusion reactor. Most of atoms will eventually transform to stable
> isotopes under additional exposure to fast neutrons.

Well, at least the early verions of nano will only be able to
distinguish elements, not isotopes. Also, any nano working with
radioactive elements is subject to considerable damage. As for neutrons,
well, they are oblivious to nanotech, and will happily wander through
all kinds of matter. I surely wouldn't want a neutron emitting fusion
reactor in my tent!

> The tiny percentage
> that do not can be separated (again by nanotech)

So, how do you catch these anyway??

and deactivated in a
> tiny
> particle accellerator.

Even nano accelerators will not be very efficient.

| Hara Ra <> |
| Box 8334 Santa Cruz, CA 95061 |