Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

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Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Dubious_wolf » 16 Dec 2009, 05:58

Hello y'all, Found this interesting article on the Times and immediatly thought, "U.S. to Annex Canada!" and subsequently thought of LRR.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/16/busin ... ml?_r=1&hp
But in all seriousness what does everyone think about nuclear energy, is it a force of good to cut global CO2 emissions or will it cause mass radiation sickness?
I personally am getting my Rad-away ready. I don't trust massive piles of radioactive metals. ;)
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby JesterJ. » 16 Dec 2009, 07:05

Nuclear power is a Godsend. Fuck da haters.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby aurora.melody2 » 16 Dec 2009, 07:07

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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Cake » 16 Dec 2009, 07:13

I can't fathom why we don't use nuclear power on a massive scale. There are so many safeguards that Chernobyl will never happen again, it's efficient, and not to mention it should satisfy the hippies' worries about gas emissions.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Keith K » 16 Dec 2009, 07:18

I'm all for Nuclear Power. I live within fallout range of 2 Nuclear Power stations and it doesn't worry me at all.

EDIT: In Ontario, there have been more deaths caused by Hydro-Electric generators than any other form of power generation in the past 10 years. I guess water is the real problem.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Metcarfre » 16 Dec 2009, 07:24

Nuclear power is actually less efficient (economically) than commonly portrayed, however it is a viable low-carbon power source that can work in areas where wind, wave, and hydro power are unfeasible.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Dubious_wolf » 16 Dec 2009, 07:48

Ok I agree with you on that point metcarfre, but again the amount of highly dangerous spent fuel rods which are left lying around are a bit worry-some. Most of those rods have huge half lives and will take hundreds of years to degrade before they are safe to handle. What do we do with them until then? while it does cut CO2 production you now have an even more hazardous by-product to deal with. And as the article pointed out, in China's case safety is sometimes left by the wayside in order to boost profit. Look at the lead paint covered toys or the deadly baby formula a year or so ago. They don't exactly have a great trzck record...
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Emperor Gum » 16 Dec 2009, 08:24

I applaud China for this. I don't say that very often.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Sable » 16 Dec 2009, 08:28

The spent fuel rods are hardly left "lying around," it's not as though you can go to The Big Nuclear Waste Facility and walk away with a fuel rod. There are many, many methodologies for dealing with nuclear waste and byproducts that can render it stable and if not inert, then certainly manageable over the long-term.

For example, a common method is called vitrification, a process by which the nuclear material is glassified by intense heat and stabilised into a long-term storage medium. This process is being employed across much of the European Continent (where nuclear power has been moving forward at a faster pace than U.S.-based interests) and a massive vitrification facility is being built at the Hanford Area in eastern Washington for the disposal and management of the Area's gifts that keep on giving.

Other methods have included harvesting the fission products for useful isotopes (while this does not alter the need for management of the other fission products, it does introduce an element of recycling), and in a similar vein, extraction of uranium and plutonium from the spent rods for other uses or separation of disposal duties, as these are the most highly-radioactive byproducts. Uranium extraction in particular may eventually lead to reprocessing and re-enrichment of extracted fission products to put back into new fuel rods with a minimum of having to mine new uranium.

"Plutonium," I hear you saying, "What on Earth is that good for, other than bombs?" Well, the question is a good one: Plutonium is unbelievably dangerous. It's powerfully radioactive, and the key component of nuclear weapons. So what could extracting plutonium possibly be good for, in an age when nuclear proliferation is a global faux pas?

Curiously, the answer is space exploration. Plutonium is a fantastic material for a nuclear battery (which is not some kind of miniature fission cell as you see in science fiction), providing a very high energy density and a very long lifespan with which to use it. Nuclear batteries (also called radioisotope generators) capture either the heat of nuclear decay, the very radiation itself, or a combination therof, and use it to produce electricity. In concept, process is not dissimilar from the use of phosphors inside a fluorescent tube to produce a more pleasing spectrum.

"But wait!" I hear you cry, "What do you use nuclear batteries in?" Terrestrial uses for nuclear batteries have largely been limited to very remote weather stations (Some Soviet-era weather stations were built with nuclear battery sources, and some U.S. stations in Alaska were as well) where solar or wind was not feasible at the time. Referring to space exploration, a number of satellites in orbit right now employ nuclear batteries to either augment or entirely replace the more-traditional solar arrays, and the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory mission will use a super-sized version of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers to move around the Red Planet - powered by a plutonium-driven nuclear battery, allowing it to be completely independent of sky conditions or dust storms. In addition to the Mars Science Laboratory, the Cassini probe is also carrying a nuclear battery, as solar power was certainly not an option that far from the Sun.

Finally, if we must trust anyone to handle nuclear waste, the only entities with the resources, time, and wherewithal to manage it properly are, for better or worse, governments. Until eccentric billionaires start financing vitrification plants, extraction facilities, the search for geologically stable terrain features for long-term storage, or buy some area of the planet near a subduction zone that isn't subject to the contradictory laws of a dozen nations, a government of some sort will have to be the driving force behind the complicated procedure of the reclamation or reprocessing of spent nuclear materials. There are simply not a lot of ways around it.

Containment and management of nuclear byproducts is certainly a concern associated with fission power, and as a result does need to be considered carefully, however these considerations should not preclude nuclear power as being an option for power generation. There are tremendous benefits associated with nuclear power, even the fission systems we rely on now. In the next twenty years, who knows? We have been promised fusion power for decades, perhaps it's time for that promise to come true.

In the meantime, alternative energy systems are, of course, always a possibility in areas that are amenable to the installation of wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric plants, tidal generators, geothermal systems, or any of the other bevy of energy solutions. There is no one single answer - wind, solar, coal, nuclear, gas, or the magical energy of happy bunnies are, individually, no good answer. Hybridized systems have always had the highest chances of success, which seems more or less how things are going right now.

And really, if you're that tired of it all, there are things even individuals can do. Rooftop solar is viable in huge tracts of the United States alone (although our northern correspondents - Alaska, western Washington, British Columbia, it takes a lot more effort) and while it is expensive, it is a tangible and viable way to make your own power. The question always comes down to money and effort. I can tell you now that when my wife and I eventually buy a house, rooftop solar or back-yard wind generation are high on our priorities to install, since I already know how to do it (it's frightfully easy once you have the equipment) and, above all, pretty cool.

Holy shit that was a lot of words.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Longshot » 16 Dec 2009, 08:53

And very educating too. Thank you for that.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Keith K » 16 Dec 2009, 09:34

Sable wrote:Holy shit that was a lot of words.


Great post.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Dubious_wolf » 16 Dec 2009, 10:37

Sable wrote:-snip-
Holy shit that was a lot of words.


Now I know, Nuclear energy sources aren't as dangerous to my health as I thought.
And knowing is half the battle!
Seriously great post. This post is an example of why I stay here. Such an educated well written post! Ok I'll put up my Rad-Away. But I still think we should annex Canada. lol JK.

On a totally unrelated note I just finished my last final exam. I am officially done with my first semester of college! woot!
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Master Gunner » 16 Dec 2009, 10:46

Also, at least some modern reactor designs (such as the CANDU reactors, which China has 2 of) are designed to be next to impossible to meltdown. In the CANDU corrector, if I remember correctly, as the main fuel assembly heats up (as it would if going to overload/meltdown), the geometry starts to change, which lets it dump more heat, faster, into the moderator/heat sink, which keeps things from heating up too much. As well, because the CANDU reactors use primarily use unenriched uranium (although they are capable of using several types of fuel, including MOX), if the assembly geometry changes too much, the reaction simply won't be able to sustain itself, and go out on its own. Combine that with traditional safeguards (shutoff columns that come down over the fuel rods, and nuclear poison injectors) makes a catastrophic failure like at Chernobyl (which is what happens when you run a reactor designed to make weapons-grade plutonium beyond its safety limits) and Three Mile Island extremely unlikely.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Arius » 16 Dec 2009, 12:38

I guess China has a CANDU attitude.

---

I really don't understand a lot of the fear that people have when it comes to nuclear waste. There seems to be this big assumption that nuclear waste is just tossed into landfills and left there for whoever wants it. In the Nevada desert, there is a huge underground complex built specifically for the safe storage of nuclear waste. It has armed guards, is in an area with very little erosion, is miles away from any city, and is basically the perfect place to keep nuclear waste. They can't open it because people are still protesting it because they don't think it can prevent the things it is designed to prevent.

It's like having someone argue that soldiers should be trained in bootcamp. They are, there's no point to argue about it. No one is disagreeing with you and they've been doing that for decades.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby epocalypse » 16 Dec 2009, 12:43

damnit man, i thought there was a special addition or something.

Arius wrote: In the Nevada desert, there is a huge underground complex built specifically for the safe storage of nuclear waste. It has armed guards, is in an area with very little erosion, is miles away from any city, and is basically the perfect place to keep nuclear waste. They can't open it because people are still protesting it because they don't think it can prevent the things it is designed to prevent.

It's like having someone argue that soldiers should be trained in bootcamp. They are, there's no point to argue about it. No one is disagreeing with you and they've been doing that for decades.



and on top of that, there's always more desert, and we have the necessary buses to get around it, too.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Alja-Markir » 16 Dec 2009, 12:44

The trouble is, there's only so much uranium in your mountains. You can't possibly harvest it all economically, and the longer you wait to try the less there is due to decay.

Solar is, thankfully, exponentially more abundant. It requires no mining, no refining, no transportation, and is expected to last for a much, much longer period of time.

For my own purposes as a time traveler, I find nuclear materials to be useful in a storage capacity, but for energy generation I rely on more cosmic sized forces.

Originally, my first temporal shifts were powered by a series of shoddy heat engines employed within magma shafts. Goodness, that took forever to supply even a fraction of what I needed, and the storage, ouch! My second trip out, however, I was fortunate enough to make it to a populated region of the local sector with sufficienty advanced technology for me to barter and finagle my way into obtaining a few moderate charge batteries of theirs and a small high-decay-rate fission reactor to serve me until I could invest in something nicer. Currently I have an orbital station in close proximity to Nesre Secundus and an array of storage cells. It's all highly automated, so all I ever need to do is periodically pick up some fresh batteries.

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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Sable » 16 Dec 2009, 13:30

While I applaud your forward-thinking energy designs, I do want to take care to point out that if ever we were to actually implement some of the fast-neutron reactor designs coming out of (I believe) France, there is enough uranium hanging about (as in, already mined) from the US' nuclear disarmament to run the country for something like five hundred years.

But who am I kidding, the second someone found out that the reactors ran on bomb fuel everyone including molluscs would go ballistic.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Arius » 16 Dec 2009, 13:41

Sable wrote:But who am I kidding, the second someone found out that the reactors ran on bomb fuel everyone including molluscs would go ballistic.

That pun was physically painful...
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Alja-Markir » 16 Dec 2009, 13:54

And delicious.

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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby CommanderKeen » 16 Dec 2009, 14:08

The US is more likely to Annex Canada over water then anything else. Even Paul Gross thinks so! http://www.cbc.ca/h2o/
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Alja-Markir » 16 Dec 2009, 14:09

Obviously the solution is nuclear powered desalination plants.

...

Wait, hold on. That actually sounds like it might work.

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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Dubious_wolf » 16 Dec 2009, 14:20

Alja-Markir wrote:Obviously the solution is nuclear powered desalination plants.

...

Wait, hold on. That actually sounds like it might work.

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Oh geez Capital Wastes here we come... *sigh* I'll go get the Rad-Away...
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Mister Fiend » 16 Dec 2009, 14:39

I am looking forward to the inevitable post apocalyptic world. Every damn day on the Metro I've wished I brought my Chinese Assault Rifle. And as I've stated before, It's kind of comforting to know that even in the future the damn escalators out of Rockville station don't work.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Dutch guy » 16 Dec 2009, 15:10

Honestly I don't see any problem with nuclear power.

The chernobil plant was of an old design, never intended to be uses as a power station reactor. It had insufficient safeguards and the safetyrod system actually INCREASED the reaction when the insertion started and would only tamper the fission when they were more than 80% inserted. All western scientists thought the Ruskies were being idiots and even some russian scientists didnt think it was a good plant to begin with.

When it comes to storage and recycling there are a LOT of option. Modern reactors like the CANadian Deuterium Uranium reactor and a few new french designs can actually run on a mix of new and spent fuel, burning the spent material even further. Better designs might be able to draw much more power from fuelrods meaning they are fissioned further into lighter and faster decaying waste. This waste is then only radioactive for a much shorter period than the current material.

The german approach in this case is not the best one. They had an old salt mine they were using to store spent fuelrods (vitrified) but instead of building some neat racks along the walls to store the barrels they just tipped it into the deepest hole they could find. Naturally water got to the drums causing them to leak so now they have to pull em all out again to fix things :(. But in general just storing waste in old mines and underground complexes is a good option.

The shortage of Uranium is going to be a problem. (And not all reactors can run on decommissioned nukes) Most people underestimate just how much uranium goes into a reactor. Its quite a lot.

One nice new type of reactor is actually the molten salt Thorium reactor, which uses liquid Thorium as fuel. It has no nuclear waste of significance (Other than irradiated reactor parts after decommission) Unfortunately it'll be atleast a few years before its a viable technique.
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Re: Is Fallout 3 Around the Corner?

Postby Cade Antilles » 16 Dec 2009, 20:46

I have absolutely no problem with nuclear power. As long as those that control the plants act responsibly with the materials, there's nothing wrong with it.

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