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China Goes Nuclear

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the power-to-the-people dept.

Technology 1058

Rei writes "Wired reports that the People's Republic of China has announced plans to build 30 new nuclear reactors by the year 2020, and by 2050 have almost as much nuclear power as the entire world produces today. The reactors are to be pebble bed reactors, in which helium replaces radioactive, pressurized water. A Chinese research institution demonstrated the safety of their test reactor against meltdown by shutting off the coolant."

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oh em eff gee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143256)

first post!

tits 4 u (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143294)

congrats, man.

Re:tits 4 u (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143328)

feel me, baby.

Nuclear energy works! (4, Interesting)

(54)T-Dub (642521) | about 10 years ago | (#10143260)

I hope that China can help show the world what a viable source of clean energy nuclear power really is. The "danger" stigmatism that is attached to it is rediculous. The worst nuclear disaster in history, Cherynobl, killed a total of 3,000 people. That includes long term deaths attributed to radiation poisoning and increased cancer rates. Coal mining on the other hand kills around 30,000 people every year in mining accidents alone. Not to mention the pollution and enviromental damage that coal power plants generate. As for the nuclear waste generated aftewards there are a number of clever idea's about how to deal with it including one which disposes of it in the giant fusion reaction that is our Sun.

Que unfounded paranoia

warning : sig contains ad you may not like, but i'll give you a gmail account if you sign up ;-)

Re:Nuclear energy works! (4, Insightful)

sneakers563 (759525) | about 10 years ago | (#10143286)

As for the nuclear waste generated aftewards there are a number of clever idea's about how to deal with it including one which disposes of it in the giant fusion reaction that is our Sun.

And we all know that rockets never blow up or otherwise fail on launch.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (1, Insightful)

(54)T-Dub (642521) | about 10 years ago | (#10143318)

It's not to hard to imagine a container that could be impervious to such an explosion and would land in the ocean harmlessly.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (5, Insightful)

SigmaEpsilonChi (801332) | about 10 years ago | (#10143386)

The cost of disposing of waste in this manner would be prohibitive. Burying it is perfectly safe and probably cheaper by a few orders of magnitude. Lifting the Carter administration's reprocessing ban would mitigate the risk considerably as well.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (5, Funny)

filth grinder (577043) | about 10 years ago | (#10143324)

And we all know that rockets never blow up or otherwise fail on launch.

That is why we have Superman to fly the waste up and out of our atomosphere and fling them at the sun.

Non-rocket launch methods (1)

DamEEZ (129572) | about 10 years ago | (#10143401)

What about earth based sling-shot-style launchers. I thought that I had read something a while back about developing this sort of thing to put satelites into orbit. At least removing th explosives from the package might improve safety a bit.

Charlie

Re:Nuclear energy works! (4, Insightful)

radixvir (659331) | about 10 years ago | (#10143309)

there are a number of clever idea's about how to deal with it including one which disposes of it in the giant fusion reaction that is our Sun.

except everyone is way too afraid to put anything radioactive on a rocket. what happens if it explodes and rains down radioactive waste upon a city? i agree however that fear of nuclear power is exaggerated. the only reason china is building plants and the US is not, is because no one wants one in their backyard. in china they dont have much choice in what the government determines for them.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (1)

chill (34294) | about 10 years ago | (#10143351)

Everyone isn't way too afraid to put anything radioactive on a rocket. It has happened several times already. Many of the long range probes used plutonium as a fuel source.

HOWEVER, doing it en masse is bound to see a nasty accident or two.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143422)

I'd rather have a nuclear power plant at my back yard than a windmill park. If you ever live near one you'll notice what I mean.

Whop! Whop! Whop!

Re:Nuclear energy works! (5, Informative)

kaan (88626) | about 10 years ago | (#10143334)

Not only does nuclear energy work, but it is a major source of power all over Europe. For instance, France currently generates 75% of its total power from nuclear sources (from this BBC story [bbc.co.uk] ). Like many things, nuclear power can be a good thing if it is generated safely, and it can be very dangerous if not. The key is to be safe in how the nuclear power plant is built, operated and maintained.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143416)

but i bet you don't live (or wouldn't want to live) near one nuclear reactor. Am I right?

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143342)

> The worst nuclear disaster in history, Cherynobl, killed a total of 3,000 people

So you are saying that a death of 3,000 people is not enough to force us to turn conventional wisdom on its head, start seeing all forms of nuclear technology as part of a larger nuclear bogeyman, and start a massive campaign that attempts to demonize, attack, or otherwise thwart the spread of nuclear technology?

Well, that makes me see terrorist attacks with a similar death toll from a different perspective.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143439)

The difference is that Cherynobl isn't threatening to explode again and again and again...Fucking 'tard.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (2, Insightful)

Pi_0's don't shower (741216) | about 10 years ago | (#10143352)

Parent is absolutely right. Despite the demonization of nuclear energy (from Chernobyl to Three Mile Island to Mr. Burns), it really does have the potential, if implemented responsibly (which it looks like this IS), to be one of the safest and most productive energy sources ever.

And in China, of course, there won't be any of those pesky worker protests, singing:

"Come gather round children
it's high time you learned
bout a hero named Homer
and a devil named Burns.

We'll march till we drop
the girls and the fellas
we'll fight till the death
or else fold like umbrellas.

So we'll march day and night
by the big cooling tower
they have the plant
but we have the power!"

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143360)

Yes, and the worst terrorist attack in history killed 3,000 people while car accidents kill 60,000 times that in the US alone. Yet look at the disgusting way the US is over-reacting and destroying its heritage of freedom as well as its economy. People are irrational idiots.

For disposal, how about mill the waste into a fine powder and spread it uniformly across the country from high altitude "crop dusters"? An average house lot with about 5,000 square feet of land natually has 2 pounds of Uranium in the top 10 feet anyway based on the average amount of uranium on earth. What's a few grams of plutonium going to do? The increase in radiation wouldn't be noticible against the natural background levels.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (2, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 10 years ago | (#10143442)

You don't want that. The uranium is normally safe largely because it is trapped in the ground. What you'd be dispersing would be far more dangerous than having powdered uranium ore sprinkled on your house, as well, because the half lives are far shorter.

I'm surprised that noone has mentioned subduction zones yet... I mean, most of the dangerous isotopes are heavier than iron and will sink, so what is the big problem? We don't need to drill down to the mantle; just down to where the crust starts to soften.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143372)

you spelled ridiculous incorrectly.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (3, Insightful)

Camel Pilot (78781) | about 10 years ago | (#10143373)

Yes, but it does scare me a little that China is a country that is a totalitarian regime with no free press or independent reporting/investigation, or accountability!

It took Eastern Europe to alert the world that there might be problem at Cherynobl. Do you think the Chinese govnerment will be seeking public input on were and how to store the waste?

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143414)

And your country does?

At least china is honest.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (2, Insightful)

owlmon (696565) | about 10 years ago | (#10143402)

Quote:
The worst nuclear disaster in history, Cherynobl, killed a total of 3,000 people. That includes long term deaths attributed to radiation poisoning and increased cancer rates. Coal mining on the other hand kills around 30,000 people every year in mining accidents alone.

If you are going to consider the mortality caused by mining the coal, then you should also consider the mortality caused by mining uranium. That stuff doesn't grow on trees, you know. More nuclear power will mean more mining accidents. Different mines, though.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (5, Informative)

br0ck (237309) | about 10 years ago | (#10143419)

Coal releases more radioactivity that nuclear power anyway.

From this article [ornl.gov] , "the population effective dose equivalent from coal plants is 100 times that from nuclear plants."

Mr Clean (1)

dr7greenthumb (752231) | about 10 years ago | (#10143420)

Great analogy since coal is so environmentally friendly too. How many people are killed each year in clean energy accidents? The problem is a lack of efficiency with current solar and wind technologies. Perhaps we could focus on that problem. Then again, if all of you pro-nuclear advocates would volunteer to store the waste in your basement, I would take your lack of safety concerns more seriously.

rediculous (2, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#10143421)

The worst nuclear disaster in history, Cherynobl, killed a total of 3,000 people. That includes long term deaths attributed to radiation poisoning and increased cancer rates.

Man. I'm glad I saw you spell it that way, but you surprised me by not writing 'nucular'. 3,000 killed? In case you didn't noticed there's a large dead zone and tens of thousands more, including downriver and downwind areas have been affected.

Ok, blame it on the people who ran the plant, their practices, the old graphite reactor, etc, but don't play the tune that nuclear power is safe. These are among the most toxic substances on earth and half-lives are in decades if not centuries. All it takes is an accident.

Storage of waste is also a serious issue, probably easier for the Beijing governement to handle as they have a way of handling protesters that US administrations can only fantasize about. The Hanford site, in Washinton state is a damn mess and we still don't have Yucca mountain or anything else permanent. All waste in the US is 'temporarily housed' and piling up. Touchy stuff to transport, too.

Better hope the chinese do an excellent job on those, all it takes is one Oops and another thousand square miles is dead land for centuries.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (2, Interesting)

bobbis.u (703273) | about 10 years ago | (#10143423)

Part of what scares people is the far reaching and long lasting effects of any disaster. An enormous amount of land was affected by Chernobyl (as far away as Cumbria in England, see here [bbc.co.uk] ) and could remain unusable for 100's of years.

It is also almost impossible to carry out any "clean up", even if the money was available.

Having said this, I personally believe the chances of an accident in a modern reactor are very low. If they could be sited in useless land (e.g. desert) as well, they benefits would outweigh the risks.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143428)

Tell that to Mother Nature, doofus! You know how long it takes (halflife... NO! not the game!) for that goop to decay? Nuclear power is not safe... not for the long term.

Re:Nuclear energy works! (1)

stevelinton (4044) | about 10 years ago | (#10143431)

I, broadly speaking, support nuclear energy, but "As for the nuclear waste generated aftewards there are a number of clever idea's about how to deal with it including one which disposes of it in the giant fusion reaction that is our Sun" is not helpful.

There are plenty of clever ideas, of which dumping it into the Sun is frankly not one, but no tried and tested engineering solutions. If you don't reprocess, you have quite a lot of moderately high level waste, incidentally containing quite a lot of unburnt uranium and brand new plutonium. It is quite literally hot, and needs active cooling for several decades, to stop it melting or burning. Then, if you're going to be even vaguely responsible, you need to put it somewhere where it's pretty likely to stay undisturbed for 50000 years or thereabouts, which, while probably possible, is not all that easy, especially with the special handling it needs at every stage. If you do reprocess, you get some reusable fuel, which is nice,
some plutonium, which you could use as fuel, but which has some security issues, and a rather smaller amount of seriously nasty high level waste, which has the same problems as the original waste only more so (it's hot, radioactive, corrosive, and needs to be stored for a long time).

So, not easy, and not to be dismissed, but probably doable with care, and probably a win over CO2 pollution. Energy efficiency is the place to start though -- if you can use less energy in the first place then you need less of everyting.

great... (0, Flamebait)

Emrikol (21551) | about 10 years ago | (#10143263)

Now this is the last thing we need... a much larger chernobyl with 1.? billion people.

Re:great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143288)

Population Control!!!

Re:great... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 10 years ago | (#10143299)

Hey, evolution will simply be speeded up. X-Men anyone?

Re:great... (2, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 years ago | (#10143307)

I know the article's slashdotted, but could you at least RTFS[ummary]?!
A Chinese research institution demonstrated the safety of their test reactor against meltdown by shutting off the coolant."

Parent is a troll shill (1)

SigmaEpsilonChi (801332) | about 10 years ago | (#10143308)

Don't feed the troll.

Re:great... (1)

karnal (22275) | about 10 years ago | (#10143356)

Yea, because just like all of the action movies playing at your local cineplex, when everything seems right in the world all of the nuclear reactors will go up in a huge firey mushroom cloud.

And it will happen, just because you built the damn power plant....

Right.

The days of the RBMK reactor design are gone. (1)

reality-bytes (119275) | about 10 years ago | (#10143374)

After Chernobyl, all the RBMK design reactors were retrofitted to guard against the same disaster.

Probably, the most elderly nuclear reactor designs (which were also made to help enrich material for weapons) are now largely in Western hands.

We should be replacing and improving our own designs, not scoffing at the now superior reactor technologies of China.

Sure, the West has come up with some brilliant reactor designs in the last 20 years but because of the NIMBYs, next to none of the designs have been implemented and we're practically stuck in the 60's on technology.

Not people.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143375)

Chinese......
Way too many already
Next we should put some reactors in india
another cockroach race

ummm (2, Informative)

mrbcs (737902) | about 10 years ago | (#10143267)

Didn't the russians do this in Chernobyl? Apparently the chinese version worked.

Re:ummm (1)

Rei (128717) | about 10 years ago | (#10143388)

The Russian reactors were even more backwards than today's light water reactors. Theirs were graphite moderated. The big problem with this is that the graphite doesn't much change its moderating properties the hotter the water gets. When the water starts to turn to steam, it becomes a less efficient coolant, and the reactor heats up faster. In water moderated reactors, as the water turns to steam, it becomes a less effective moderator, and the reaction slows. The Chernobyl design had what is known as a "positive void coefficient" problem.

Seems much more of a threat to the US than Iraq. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143268)

Any way we can get them to only do this if they agree to disarm?

Re:Seems much more of a threat to the US than Iraq (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143287)

Uhm, China is basically the second strongest nation on Earth in terms of military power. I don't think the US is going to be able to pull any tricks on them.

Re:Seems much more of a threat to the US than Iraq (2, Insightful)

dnixon112 (663069) | about 10 years ago | (#10143305)

What does it matter? These are nuclear facilities for electricity not weapons. They already have plenty of those facilities and plenty of nuclear warheads on icbm's.

Re:Seems much more of a threat to the US than Iraq (2, Informative)

crow (16139) | about 10 years ago | (#10143348)

Nonsense.

China has long been one of the five (now sevel with Inida and Pakistan) admitted nuclear powers. They don't need to build new reactors for secret nuclear programs because their nuclear program isn't secret.

Re:Seems much more of a threat to the US than Iraq (-1, Flamebait)

eeg3 (785382) | about 10 years ago | (#10143358)

They're not nearly as much of a threat to the US as Iraq was. China is a civilized, intelligent country. China's economy is very dependent on the US; turn something sitting on your desk upside down, and see what it says... good odds it says 'Made in China'. China would not attack us, unless severely provoked... it just wouldn't be in their best interest whatsoever. If China does anything, it's just to send a symbolic message.

On the other hand, Iraq was a tyranical dictatorship, whose leaders and citizens are ignorant, anti-american religious zealots.

Re:Seems much more of a threat to the US than Iraq (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143379)

Um... no, you fucking retard.

Nice (4, Interesting)

GypC (7592) | about 10 years ago | (#10143282)

Yes, pebble bed reactors are very safe.

I just wish nuclear power wasn't politically dead in the USA. It's really the only way to replace all the coal and oil we burn to produce the huge amount of electricity we use.

Re:Nice (4, Interesting)

Neophytus (642863) | about 10 years ago | (#10143357)

I read a statistic once. Had we been able to harness all the uranium released from burning coal for fuel since 1970 and created reactor grade material, we could have created approx. the same amount of electricity as the coal burning itself.

Re:Nice (1)

SigmaEpsilonChi (801332) | about 10 years ago | (#10143411)

Yes, the Cold War really poisoned the well. We'll eventually have no choice but to embrace nuclear power, regardless of the irrational stigma surrounding it.

Couldn't be done in U.S. (5, Insightful)

Talondel (693866) | about 10 years ago | (#10143283)

China might actually be able to pull something like this off at a reasonable price. In the U.S. this would never get done. Between the "not in my backyard" protests, and over-regulation, the time and cost would simply be too great. Not that I like China's government, but there are certain advantages to their style.

Re:Couldn't be done in U.S. (3, Interesting)

Naffer (720686) | about 10 years ago | (#10143310)

I'm all for nuclear power, but overregulation is the only way I'll let it happen. I'd rather have more expensive pwower and a regulator for every employee then risk a disaster related to negligence or other preventable failures.

Re:Couldn't be done in U.S. (4, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 years ago | (#10143440)

But the point is that a pebble bed design doesn't risk a disaster! From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] :
he primary advantage of pebble bed reactors is that they can be designed to be inherently safe. As they get hotter, the fissionables' molecules move faster, widening the range of speeds of the nuclei. The neutrons are less likely to interact with very fast nuclei, and the reactor's criticality falls. The reactor vessel is designed so that without mechanical aids it loses more heat than the reactor can generate in this idle state. The design adapts well to safety features (see below). In particular, most of the fuel containment resides in the pebbles, and the pebbles are designed so that a containment failure releases at most a 0.5 mm sphere of radioactive material.

Re:Couldn't be done in U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143404)

In the U.S. this would never get done. Between the "not in my backyard" protests, and over-regulation

yeah, a dictatorship is nice to get things done, isn't it? just as long as the dictators projects/philosophies agree with yours, that is.

Me wonders (1)

M1th (809766) | about 10 years ago | (#10143285)

Hmm, I wonder what the US government have to say about this...

Excellent news (5, Insightful)

turgid (580780) | about 10 years ago | (#10143290)

This is wonderful news for China, the environment and nuclear scientists and engineers the world over.

China is showing that it is forward-thinking enough to look beyond fossil fuels for its electricity. This can only be good for the environment and global warming in particular.

I hope this reopens the nuclear power debate in the West. The USA and Europe should seriously consider comitting to new nuclear power plants for both economic and environmental reasons.

Re:Excellent news (0)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 10 years ago | (#10143397)

Global Warming [environmentaldefense.org] Is [junkscience.com] a myth [aim.org]

it's nuclear or carbon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143291)

I heard Nathan Lewis, a stanford researcher who studies solar cells, give a talk about the future of energy a few months ago. The thesis of his talk was that there are only two real options for the future of energy: 1) we put way more carbon in the air than has been there in the last x-thousand years or 2) we go nuclear. It looks like china is choosing the latter.

USA syndrome? (5, Funny)

MrMr (219533) | about 10 years ago | (#10143295)

Isn't that what they call running a reactor without coolant until meltdown in China?

Confucius Say... (-1, Troll)

bobobobo (539853) | about 10 years ago | (#10143296)

Kaboom!

Hopefully they stay the course. (5, Insightful)

Foggiano (722250) | about 10 years ago | (#10143298)

China's need for energy in the future is going to be enormous, and I'd much rather see it produced by nuclear fission than by buring coal. No matter how bad you might think nuclear power is, buring coal is even worse.

Re:Hopefully they SAVE THE CITY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143413)

"No matter how bad you might think nuclear power is, buring coal is even worse."

Yeah, and how many cities did you go through in SimCity to learn this precious tidbit of knowledge?

Re:Hopefully they stay the course. (1)

Erick the Red (684990) | about 10 years ago | (#10143441)

No matter how bad you might think nuclear power is, buring coal is even worse.

Fortunately, it seems that most Slashdotters believe that nuclear power is good. It's efficient, safe, and the "pollution" it produces isn't dumped into the environment, it is collected and delt with.

Good! (4, Insightful)

American AC in Paris (230456) | about 10 years ago | (#10143301)

Take a look at the current fossil fuel situation We're bumping right up against maximum output, and China's energy needs are growing rapidly--and showing no signs of letting up any time soon. (Same goes for the rest of Asia, for that matter.)

You think China -or- the US wants to duke it out over $100+ barrels of oil in the next few years?

Re:Good! (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 10 years ago | (#10143415)

The problem is nuclear fuel is somewhat limited as well. Some people predict it will run out in about 50 years, which by then China will have it's new nuclear reactors up and running....
here [slashdot.org] is an interesting book on the subject.

Space (4, Funny)

daeley (126313) | about 10 years ago | (#10143306)

A Chinese research institution demonstrated the safety of their test reactor against meltdown by shutting off the coolant. ...thus creating in an explosive instant the second thing in China you can see from space. ;)

Very good (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about 10 years ago | (#10143312)

I'm not a big fan of Pebble Bed over Pressurized Water, but it is really nice to see someone getting into nuclear in a big way.

Hopefully the Chinese won't do something stupid to queer it for the rest of us.

Re:Very good (1)

mrtroy (640746) | about 10 years ago | (#10143408)

I'm not a big fan of Pebble Bed over Pressurized Water, but it is really nice to see someone getting into nuclear in a big way

Why not...from what I have read its great in a safety sense...

Safety test (3, Insightful)

marco0009 (716718) | about 10 years ago | (#10143313)

"A Chinese research institution demonstrated the safety of their test reactor against meltdown by shutting off the coolant."

And what would have happened (other than the obvious) had done had their safety system failed?

Re:Safety test (1)

nelsonal (549144) | about 10 years ago | (#10143424)

Generally in a reactor the coolant is the safety system. What this is claiming (IANANE) is that the reaction controls itself. Other reactor designs require constant coolant to moderate the speed of the reaction (usually by absorbing neutrons and possibly heat).

Will they never learn? (3, Funny)

Azathoth!EDC (222280) | about 10 years ago | (#10143314)

One word: Godzilla.

Re:Will they never learn? (1)

dykofone (787059) | about 10 years ago | (#10143385)

That was Japan.

Worship The Rice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143316)

So someone will eventually find a radioactive fortune cookie with a message inside that reads:

"You're fucked?"

Evil! Evil! (1, Flamebait)

LaCosaNostradamus (630659) | about 10 years ago | (#10143319)

Quick, America, threaten to bomb China for daring to indulge in using nuclear material! Quick, quick, do it before they make some of it into bombs! OOOPS ... wait, wait, China can kick America's ass. Never mind. Back to threatening Iran.

Re:Evil! Evil! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143429)

So what's your flipping point? So people should go get their asses kicked on a daily basis?

Bomb em... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143321)

How long until George W. goes and bombs them because he doesn't like the idea of China having something better them him.

Re:Bomb em... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143417)

Just a couple of more months, I'll bet.

This gives all new meaning to the term... (3, Funny)

tuxlove (316502) | about 10 years ago | (#10143327)

...China syndrome. At least this way, the sizzling ball of radioactivity won't have to burn all the way through the earth's core to get there.

Meltdown (1, Redundant)

spezz (150943) | about 10 years ago | (#10143332)

I hope it doesn't go America Sydrome on them.

So What Do We Call THEIR "China Syndrome"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143335)

What do call it when one of their reactors melts down, eats its way through the earth, and pops out the other side?

omg omg (0, Flamebait)

trendescape (801324) | about 10 years ago | (#10143336)

where are you bush? BOMB THEM!

Nuclear is the future (1)

C_Kode (102755) | about 10 years ago | (#10143337)

I think this is good. If it weren't for Three Mile Island there would be a whole lot more nuclear reactors in the US supplying a whole lot more power and we would depend less and less on coal and it's pollutants. Although; I don't believe Three Mile Island was all bad in that you learn from your mistakes, not from you victories. Nuclear energy is far and away better, cleaner, and overall safer in the long run. With nuclear energy being used more heavily more technologies for it's safety will come about and how to contain it's waste.

Communism is good for something (2, Insightful)

ThomasFlip (669988) | about 10 years ago | (#10143347)

At least in China dumb people can't bitch about how dangerous nuclear energy is. I'm not saying communism is good, but in this case it is. Plus i'm sure oil lobbyists would play a role in the US, not so in China (I think).

Re:Communism is good for something (3, Insightful)

mrtroy (640746) | about 10 years ago | (#10143435)

I hate to be a critic but i really think you meant

At least in China people can't bitch about how dangerous nuclear energy is. I'm not saying communism is good, but in this case it is. Plus i'm sure oil lobbyists would play a role in the US, not so in China (I think).

I dont mind dumb people bitching about things they have at least a little knowledge of, but I hate ignorant people who bitch about things they have no clue about.

The link for pebble bed reactors is a bit slow... (3, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 10 years ago | (#10143354)

There is a good writeup as well on wikipedia [wikipedia.org]

Now only if... (3, Interesting)

isa-kuruption (317695) | about 10 years ago | (#10143359)

.. the econo-nuts would let the US build more nuclear reactors within the United States in order to reduce our dependency on foreign oil...

Nah, that would never happen!

Instead, their socialist buddies claim the Bush administration liberated Iraq for oil, althought Bush-Chenery energy policy has been, since the 2000 election campaign, to increase the number of nuclear reactors.

Nucular not Nuclear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10143363)

We're still in the Bushes era.

Helium. (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 10 years ago | (#10143367)

We had Helium cooling here in Colorado, USA. It was down more often than it was up. Problem was that Helium does a lot of leaking unless everything is absolutely right on.

Though, I do wish them luck. I hope that USA will re-examine nuclear power combined with energy storage.

Mr Sparkle (1)

ARRRLovin (807926) | about 10 years ago | (#10143368)

Are they all to be owned and operated by one Montgomery Burns?

"Pebble bed" article is slow, so... (2, Informative)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 10 years ago | (#10143369)

...here's a Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] about pebble bed reactors.

No. Like those overclockers.... (1)

Lispy (136512) | about 10 years ago | (#10143376)

"Look, it can go without the cooling. It's really THAT cool...holy sh**!".

Not sure, but there was a link somewhere from folks overclocking their AMD in a fridge. It lasted about 12sec. before it fried. It was funny, but you had to be there...

Honestly, china seems to be just as great a thread to our environment as a chance for new markets. We better come up with some real good alternative enery sources we can sell them or our planet will be a dump in no time.

Three China Island? (1, Interesting)

webword (82711) | about 10 years ago | (#10143377)

Or, is this just a means of generating nuclear material for creating nuclear weapons?

On the topic of growth, I have spent a total of 10 days in China in the last two years. Last year there were more bikes than cars in Shekou in the Shenzhen area, but now I swear there are an equal number of cars to bikes. The real kicker is that these cars are BIG and expensive. We are talking about full-sized Volkswagens, Buicks, minivans, and wagons. Yes, there are Mercedes too. You'd think that they'd be looking at little Euro-boxes given money and space constraints, but status and face (mianzi) are too important I guess.

For a full report, I suggest you take a look at my trip notes:

China Observations [webword.com]

(How many guanxi points do I get for this posting?)

stop comparing these to Chernobyl (5, Insightful)

Tumbleweed (3706) | about 10 years ago | (#10143378)

These are a completely different design (which is the whole _point_) than regular reactors. Pebble bed reactors have small 'pebbles' (billiard ball-size) with little flecks (0.04", if I remember correctly) of Uranium in them - putting them in the pebbles keeps them spread apart, and makes it (dare I use the word) 'impossible' for a meltdown to occur, such as Chernobyl. There is no radioactive water or cooling rods in this design, and the pebbles are designed for a million year life, plenty of time for the radioactivity to lose its lethality, so storage of the used pebbles is _much_ easier than with current nuclear reactor waste. The university in Beijing that has been developing this has had a plant running for around ten years, with no problems, and, as mentioned, shut down the cooling system to prove that it's safe.

This is a really great development, and I hope it gets presented accurately in the press. The Wired article is very well written, though the blurb on the cover about the relationship between these plants and hydrogen is completely bogus. There is no more relationship between these plants and hydrogen than there is between any other power source and hydrogen.

Watch the waste (1)

MikeMacK (788889) | about 10 years ago | (#10143380)

China announced plans to build 30 new reactors

But do they have a plan on where to store the waste? With all the problems, both scientifically and politically with storing our own waste (Yucca Mountain), they need to find a repository to handle that much potential waste.

Newk World Or Duh (1, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10143381)

And then he popped the spent waste from the core into his mouth, rubbing his tummy while patting his head. Clever Chinese, their nuclear reactors run on bubblegum! And so many volunteers to store the old bubblegum in their glorious patriotic towns. Meanwhile, in Oilmerica, Monkeyking Dubya has announced even niftier newkular reactors, that will send us to Mars, to convert their heathens!

Well (1)

crtfdgk (807485) | about 10 years ago | (#10143392)

One more country will now be classified as "nuyulur" by George Bush...

good long-term energy policy (3, Interesting)

vectus (193351) | about 10 years ago | (#10143405)

China is certainly learning lessons on development from the failings of her neighbour, North Korea. Back in the day, NK went through a rash of development, building new capital goods and buildings. They intended to pay for the new capital goods/buildings with the profits the machinery, etc would earn. However, oil prices spiked and NK was left unable to keep their machinery running, making it impossible to pay for their expensive infrastructure upgrades.
China is in the middle of an enormous boom, and it's excellent to see that they have learned from the mistakes of their neighbours, and aren't heading down the path that the rest of us seem intent on going down.

stored energy in nuclear waste? (1)

bagel2ooo (106312) | about 10 years ago | (#10143406)

I hope this is at least quasi-relevant. Just how much potential energy is there stored in nuclear waste. I've heard that there is still a lot, it is just harder (or requires too much energy input) to get as much a payoff from it.

Misspelling (2, Funny)

acidblood (247709) | about 10 years ago | (#10143407)

It's `nucular' not `nuclear'...

It's plain and clear (0, Troll)

just_gecko (794095) | about 10 years ago | (#10143425)

They want to have world monopoly over the electric power. They will sell it cheap, and make the world depend on them, so they can stop the reactors, leaving us in the dark. I am going to buy a UPS tomorrow, I won't have my computer depend on the Chinise Electric Power World Monopoly.

China on its way to becoming #1 superpower?? (2, Interesting)

smaksly (751439) | about 10 years ago | (#10143430)

With news like this and China's tremendous GNP growth & population is China set on the course to displace the USA as the major superpower in the 21st century?

The US seems to be getting mired in reactionary legislation which is restricting technological creativity (eg. ban on stem cell research).

2050? (4, Funny)

FlipmodePlaya (719010) | about 10 years ago | (#10143434)

Jeez, have we learned nothing from Sim City 3000? By the time they finish this thing, the rest of us will have fusion power.
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