Re: Safe Energy

Michael Lorrey (
Sun, 04 May 1997 19:10:51 -0400

John K Clark wrote:
> Making a Gamma ray burster in your back yard would not be a good idea, but
> what would be a reasonable energy source for an super advanced civilization?
> Solar power may be old fashioned but I still like it. I certainly would not
> recommend building breeder reactors, there is already a glut of plutonium in
> the world. All reactors produce plutonium, a big power plant reactor will
> invariable produce many tons of it in its lifetime. A breeder reactor is
> designed to maximize the production of plutonium. I'm not even a great fan of
> conventional reactors, and call me a wimp if you want to, but breeders really
> give me the creeps.

A bit inaccurate. A breeder can be set to produce excess plutonium,
produce no excess, or to burn up excess plutonium. This is why there
have been proposals to restart the Hanford breeder as a means of helping
Russia and Byellorus (sp?) dispose of their weapons grade plutonium.
most people automatically get the creeps from the name Breeder because
it brings up images of all those 50's nuclear monster movies.
> 1) A breeder is at a much higher energy density than a regular reactor and
> that means it's inherently more dangerous.

No it just means it produces more energy per pound of reactor than a
light water reactor. If you use that as a measure of danger, since solar
panels have a energy desity ten times higher than a breeder reactor, is
solar power ten times more dangerous? I didn't think so.

> 2) A conventional reactor uses Uranium as fuel in which the U235 has been
> enriched from the naturally occurring .7% concentration to about 4%,
> you need about 85% to make a bomb. A breeder uses weapons grade plutonium
> as a fuel, and lots of it.

it uses plutonium at an enrichment level of about 40%, half that of
weapons grade.

> 3) A conventional reactor uses water as a coolant and to slow down the
> neutrons, a breeder uses molten sodium that burns in the air and explodes
> in the presents of water. After a short time in operation this hot liquid
> sodium becomes intensely radioactive. Just last year a leak in a sodium
> pump destroyed the newest and largest breeder reactor in Japan, if it
> wasn't in a containment building it could have been a human disaster.
> It's already an economic disaster of several hundred million dollars.

Thats why they make containment buildings. Funny though, people don't
realize that the ash emitted by coal plants has highly radioactive
isotopes in it, as well as the fly ash that coal plants sell to contrete
plants to make concrete with. One coal plant puts out more radioactivity
into the environment every year than all the nuclear plants in the
country combined.
> The thing I really don't like about fission reactors is that they produce all
> that damn plutonium. There is so much of it in existence, thousands of tons,
> that it's very hard to keep track of it all. You only need slightly over
> 9 pounds to make a crude nuclear bomb, less if you're clever.

Getting the plutonium is one thing, but knowing how to build a bomb that
will actually explode using only 9 pounds is another level of
accomplishment entirely. BUilding a bomb of the simplicity of the
Nagasaki weapon requires a minimum of 35 pounds of plutonium, as well as
requiring the use of 48 Klystron switches, which are even more highly
controlled items than plutonium itself.
> There is another type of Nuclear power, but there are 2 things I don't like
> about fusion reactors.
> 1) They don't exist, yet.
> 2) Most reactions would make things near the reactor radioactive because they
> produce high speed neutrons.
> The fusion reaction I like best is between non radioactive deuterium
> (Hydrogen 2) and non radioactive Helium 3, this produces non radioactive
> Helium 4, an easily controlled proton, 18.3 mev of energy, and most important
> of all, no neutron. Unfortunately you need a higher temperature to achieve it
> than the deuterium tritium reaction most are talking about.

True this is the most elegant solution, but getting a commercially
viable supply of Helium III will require that we set up a mining colony
on the moon, though I'm not sure but wouldn't a breeder reactor be ideal
for making Helium III?

> There is a type of cold fusion that definitely works, even as cold as 13
> degrees Kelvin but, as Eugene mentioned recently, there hasn't been much
> happening in muon-catalyzed cold fusion lately, and it's a shame because the
> idea seems so elegant. A negative muon is almost identical to an electron
> except it's 207 times as massive, you can even substitute them for electrons
> in Hydrogen and the result is atoms and molecules 207 times smaller than
> normal. In all fusion reactions you need to get the nucleus of 2 atoms so
> close that the short range nuclear forces can take over, this is not easy to
> do because the nucleus of both atoms have a positive charge and so repel each
> other. In normal fusion you use brute force to do this, things get very hot
> and so the two slam together, if you use muons instead of electrons in a
> hydrogen molecule the two nuclei are already 207 times closer together even
> when ice cold.
> There are problems of course, it takes energy to make a muon, to break even
> each muon would have to catalyze between 100 and 500 fusion reactions, and
> muons are not stable, their half life is 2*10^-6 seconds, but a lot can happen
> in two microseconds, that's a very long time by particle physics standards.
> I know of no fundamental reason it couldn't be made to work.

WHat is a cheap and easy way to make muons?

			Michael Lorrey
------------------------------------------------------------		Inventor of the Lorrey Drive

Mikey's Animatronic Factory My Own Nuclear Espionage Agency (MONEA) MIKEYMAS(tm): The New Internet Holiday Transhumans of New Hampshire (>HNH) ------------------------------------------------------------ #!/usr/local/bin/perl-0777---export-a-crypto-system-sig-RC4-3-lines-PERL @k=unpack('C*',pack('H*',shift));for(@t=@s=0..255){$y=($k[$_%@k]+$s[$x=$_ ]+$y)%256;&S}$x=$y=0;for(unpack('C*',<>)){$x++;$y=($s[$x%=256]+$y)%256; &S;print pack(C,$_^=$s[($s[$x]+$s[$y])%256])}sub S{@s[$x,$y]=@s[$y,$x]}