?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Liquid Flouride/Thorium fission. - Adventures in Engineering — LiveJournal
The wanderings of a modern ronin.

Ben Cantrick
  Date: 2008-12-29 14:03
  Subject:   Liquid Flouride/Thorium fission.
Public
  Tags:  reddit

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHs2Ugxo7-8

A pretty interesting talk. I'm still not clear on exactly how you separate the protactinium from the thorium, but as far as efficiency and non-weaponization goes, this sure sound like it beats the crap out of U/Pu.

I still think solar and wind are better ideas in the long run. Every nuclear fuel is inherently a fossil fuel, in that there's only a certain amount in the earth's crust and it will run out at some point. Actually, even the sun will go out one day, but I'll be long dead before then, so I guess it's really a matter of exactly how long before we run out of fuel. Anything less than a 1000 years is probably a non-starter IMO.
Post A Comment | 5 Comments | | Link






Trevor Stone: sun mass incandescant gas
  User: flwyd
  Date: 2008-12-30 01:06 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
Keyword:sun mass incandescant gas
We've only been using oil fuel for around a century (not including heating oil), and it's been fairly successful (also fairly problematic). And I don't think we've been using coal (again other than as heat) for more than a few centuries. I think if we found a fuel that would last a quarter of a millennium assuming a high rate of growth for population and use, it'd be worth considering. 250 years is somewhere around seven generations and trying to predict the future beyond that is asking for lots of trouble.
Reply | Thread | Link



Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2008-12-30 02:57 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
a quarter of a millennium assuming a high rate of growth for population and use,

That's the kicker. How fast a growth curve do you assume both for per capita use of the fuel and for population. That's why I'm thinking 1k years. Because that'll probably end up being 100-200 years worth of fuel after growth is factored in.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2008-12-30 03:56 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I hope, in 200 years a large percentage of humans wouldn't rely on resources available on Earth.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Ben Cantrick
  User: mackys
  Date: 2008-12-30 04:46 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
I think you're being overly optimistic. After the Roman Empire came the dark ages. Sooner or later humanity will relapse again. Maybe in my lifetime.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



Alex Belits
  User: abelits
  Date: 2008-12-30 08:03 (UTC)
  Subject:   (no subject)
We are not in a Roman Empire -- at most, 50's were the end of our "Roman Empire". We would rather find more creative ways of keeping an army of poor people making products for a handful of "rich countries" than develop a set of machines that can take cotton and wool and produce pants. We would rather abandon all progress in computer science and engineering that does not promise immediate and huge profit in entertainment, reducing everything else to getting accidental windfall from the next generation of eye candy. We would turn educational institutions into a way for rich people to maintain their little club and to throw money at those who still remember something useful rather than make sure that every person who makes decisions that reflect on millions of others, understands basic things like negative and positive feedback. We encourage greed, xenophobia and superstition and declare them to be immutable attributes of human mind despite the fact that over the whole history of mankind, for any progress to be made in society, those things had to be somehow suppressed or at least used against each other.

So if we define Dark Ages as massive slowdown in progress in most areas of human activity, we are already there. Fortunately things are going faster now than they did 1600 years ago -- there is nowhere to expand, no one to conquer, and nowhere to hide from consequences of idiocy. Not as fast as some would prefer, but fast enough for consequences to show up before everyone forgets the causes. There is also a matter of amassed amount of infrastructure -- there is enough industry worldwide to sustain a recovery, just no one is bothering because it's still easier to do each other's laundry and smile at the sight that other people owe you more than you owe other people.

So my point is, when things will stop working, it won't be another war or famine like in the last Dark Ages -- it will be a recovery because all the tools are already there, and all "alternative" uses of those tools that distract us now, will be no longer useful. Sure, the majority of population will be still ignorant and dumb (public education is in a bad condition now and is not likely to improve any soon), but once the economy is sufficiently damaged, their current leaders will be extinct, and stupid people won't be able to remember that they have to attack intellectuals -- they will go back to racism, religious holy wars and similar crap that is not efficient when it comes to stopping progress.
Reply | Parent | Thread | Link



browse
May 2015