[] On Behalf Of meekerdb
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 10:55 PM
Subject: Re: Nuclear power


On 11/15/2013 8:36 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:



[] On Behalf Of meekerdb
Sent: Friday, November 15, 2013 7:52 PM
Subject: Re: Nuclear power


On 11/15/2013 6:48 PM, Chris de Morsella wrote:

LFTR reactors would produce U233 - which is very nasty stuff. 

>>But they breed only what they consume, none of it is 'waste'.  

I realize this. From what I have read it seems that it should also be
possible for LFTR reactor complexes to do their fuel re-processing on-site. 

Still preferable to the fast neutron U-238 breeder types that would create
the plutonium economy, but it is very nasty stuff in the hands of the wrong
people. How would the state prevent U233 from falling in the hands of the
wrong people if these small LFTR reactors became widely deployed all over
the world? 

>>The U-233 is contaminated with 0.13% U-232 which is an intense gamma ray
source.  Anybody taking material to make a bomb only has about 72hrs to
live.  Of course that wouldn't deter some people.


My point exactly. The very intense gamma ray emissions of U-232 would make
it a horrendous material in a dirty bomb, if molecular scale particles
became fairly widely dispersed by chemical explosives. Technologically LFTR
could be feasible, but what about the price we  will most certainly have to
pay in terms of living in a police state. 

>>First, I think maybe we disagree as to what constitutes a police state.
My definition of it is one in which the police can investigate and
interrogate anyone at anytime on any suspicion without judicial warrant and
enforce some political orthodoxy that in turn supports their power.  It has
nothing to do with having very tight security around some particular
installation (like nuclear weapons plants and ICBM silos).  It wouldn't even
be useful in protecting LFTR powerplants.

That is not what I intend when I mention police state. Security around a
dangerous facility is desirable. What I am referring to is the wholesale
erosion of civil liberties and the wide scale practice of eavesdropping on
electronic communications without a warrant.


Can you think of any other way these deadly assets can be safeguarded and
kept out of the wrong hands?

>>The same way we safeguard nuclear weapons facilities and powerplants.  You
think U232 would make a good dirty bomb because it's so radioactive, but
that's also a reason it would be very hard to steal, to move without
detection, and to make into a dirty bomb.  It would only exist in the liquid
salt of the reactor.  


I am not saying that the LFTR would be worse than any other breeder nuclear
power system - conventional single pass nuclear power is unsustainable and
in fact the world will soon hit peak uranium (235) so I am not considering
it in this discussion. Of course the current nuclear power system produces
very large amounts of dangerous waste as compared to LFTR (or other breeder
reactor types)

But the fact is that it does exist. And the fact is that there are many
nuclear power advocates (and companies such as Hitachi) that are designing
small modular reactors that would be much harder to secure than a few
centralized facilities.


Some LFTR and other nuclear enthusiasts are all into the idea of small scale
modular reactors (sometimes cleverly re-branded as batteries). The problem
is not so much with the systems themselves, but with the risks that a highly
dispersed proliferation of small poorly defended nuclear reactors will pose
for the security of everyone. Any technology that provides such a huge power
lever for small group of fanatics is not a technology I would recommend. On
the fringe of the LFTR enthusiast crowd have you seen the design proposal
for a thorium powered car.. Can you imagine the hazmat situation if one of
these cars was involved in say a head on with a fully loaded 18-wheeler.

>>I can imagine many unsafe and dumb things that can be done with
technology.  My general reaction is, "Don't do that."

Good advice, but unfortunately time after time humanity has in fact not
followed your advice; hence my concerns. I am not concerned about the
rational ideal human, but rather of the actual humans that actually do
stupid things again and again.


In order to protect these facilities and prevent U233 - and a lot of other
by-products - from being turned into very very dirty bombs we will guarantee
that we will live in a police state. How else could the entire sector be
kept secure? 

>>That's just paranoia.

Where have you been living for the last 12 years? Ever since the Patriot
(and subsequent acts legalizing the unconstitutional) it has been downhill
ride for civil rights. The erosion began earlier, and our history has seen
ebbs and flows of civil liberty before, but this is qualitatively different.
In this country the NSA looks at pretty much every electronic communication
- even if it is just a machine for the most part scanning things, but the
meta data is apparently saved - and a huge wealth of personal information is
contained in the http headers and other electronic communications meta data
the NSA is databasing.

Now in this country any one of us can be summarily seized in the middle of
the night by armed palin cloths goons who have no knock warrants; we can be
imprisoned and held incommunicado and without trial indefinitely; we can be
killed. All this is regulated by secret laws; interpreted in secret courts,
by secret judges. Secret justice is an oxymoron.

The erosions of our civil liberties and basic human rights such as the right
to habeas corpus has been ripped to shreds.

How exactly is this just paranoia? I know for a fact that the very large
company I work for is doing a major data migration of all of its disparate
datasources into a single datawarehouse and that this initiative is being
done primarily to make every piece of collated data it has available for
secret inspection and wholesale copying by the NSA. 

The city of Seattle, where I live just, finished deploying a city wide
wireless mesh network for use by the police and other emergency services.
One of the capabilities of this mesh network is very rapid and highly
scalable network intrusion detection and databasing of all the header
information of the attempt. Anyone who understands how wireless devices work
know that they periodically broadcasting short messages to inform their
network of location so that they can be localized to the nearest cell. While
I have no way of knowing it is being used this way the mesh network is
capable of tracking anyone carrying a cell phone or other mobile
communication device movements and current location any time and at all
times, without their knowledge and - given our shredded legal rights -
without any open process or warrants. Are they actually doing it? Who knows,
because they don't have to tell us now anymore. 



Naah.  We have reactors now that are more susceptible to making dirty bombs
and it doesn't require a police state to protect them.  France gets most of
its power from nukes.  What police state we have is too busy keeping people
from smoking pot, drinking and driving, and emigrating.


That is not entirely true. I agree with you - and am shocked and appalled at
how little protection - these plants use off the shelf industrial
controllers that can be (and have been) hacked into for example, to control
vital systems. But the number of plants is really quite small. 

>>There are 437 in 32 countries and 68 more under construction.


That 68 number is a stretch - is it counting projects that will never get
completed? These are single pass through PW reactor types as well.

Many nuclear proponents are speaking about 30 MW or so scale plants that
would be proliferated everywhere.

This is a qualitatively different landscape than a few central facilities.

>>Don't do that.


And you think that they will listen to your advice? LOL. The world is driven
by the profit motive - we live in a greed is good kind of society - your
good advice will be lost in all the noise. Again I am not concerned with
rational and well thought out systems - what scares me is how it will
develop as it actually develops, not as it ideally should. In the real world
- responding to politics and the pressures of special interests etc. things
very often do not develop in the way that has been foreseen and very often
short term profit - for special interests -- is the only thing that matters
in shaping policy.




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