So I've been doing some looking into Nuclear energy.
However to be objective, and to focus on innarguable facts.
I wanted to look at it from a perspective without these being considered:
Just from the perspective of technical possibility. Does it even work?
Or are we basing this off of the assumption of technology which doesn't exist?
If we opened up Yucca Mountain right now, and shipped all our current idle waste over to it.
It'd be full within a week.
So what are we told is the solution? Fuel Reprocessing.
What this essentially means is that the plutonium generated from the uranium is concentrated, and then reused. This accounts for about 1% of the mass of
The supposed panecea for all this is Fast Breeder Reactors
Essentially a reactor which creates more plutonium than it uses.
This one I keep seeing mixed results.
In the literature I basically keep seeing "we don't have ones that are good enough"
Or stuff like "We don't expect to have them until 2030"
I'd like to confirm the status of FBRs
The current "solution" seems to be Mixed Oxide Fuel (MOX)
So far I'm not very impressed.
But I'm having a hard time finding out the details on it.
At best it would be reducing the ammount of fissionable uranium, but not the ammount of non-fissionable uranium needed. So we're only talking about a decrease in mining, not a decrease in waste.
On top of which, the spent MOX is 3x more radioactive than spent Uranium.
Which causes all sorts of issues of Re-ReProcessing it, or even merely storing it. The French which have a lot of background on nuclear power say it'd be 150 years before spent MOX could even begin to be stored underground.
MOX alone doesn't seem like it'd do much of anything besides slow down mining a tiny ammount.Integral Fast Reactors
Even though it doesn't exist.
Out of all the choices, this is the one seems about the sanest option of them all.
Essentially the concept was that they would reprocess the spent uranium fuel on-site.
Rather than sorting specific pieces of the material, they'd just seal the whole thing back up, with all of it's various trans-uranium compounds inside.
To do this they'd use liquid of molten metal, and then electrify it to plate it in the material.
No radioactive material would leave the site.
Theoretically with a weak breader reactor no material would need to come into the site either.
Anyways, I'd like to track down some facts on all this.
Since clearly there's a lot of propoganda flying around, and arguements that rely too heavily on uncertain projection models.
Frankly I have the nagging suspicion that if all of this hinges on technology which we won't even have for the next 20+ years. Then it seems a little late. Especially when most nuclear facilities take an additional 10 years to cite and build. And even if they could be fast tracked, waiting 30 years for something which may easy be unneccisary by then seems rather foolish to me.
I guess another issue of concern
While conventional power plants and renewables are gearing more towards reducing water demand.
Nuclear would only increase in demand.
As is 36% of all freshwater in the US is used for electricty generation.
And while sites near to the ocean would have a decent supply (although they'd have to fight for beachfront property)
Everywhere else you're directly contending with freshwater supplies.