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Port-A-Nuke

michael posted about 10 years ago | from the heavy-metal dept.

United States 791

Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) are designing a self-contained, tamper-resistant nuclear reactor that can be transported and installed anywhere in the world. In 'US plans portable nuclear power plants,' New Scientist writes that the sealed reactors would last 30 years and deliver between 10 and 100 megawatts. The largest version would be about 15 meters high and 3 meters wide, with a weight of about 500 tons, allowing for transportation by ships or very large trucks. The DOE thinks that this kind of nuclear reactor -- named SSTAR for 'small, sealed, transportable, autonomous reactor' -- would help to deliver nuclear energy to developing countries while significantly reducing the risk of nuclear proliferation associated with the use of nuclear power. What do you think of this idea? Is it a good one or a crazy one? Leaving a nuclear reactor in a developing country which can potentially become unstable during the 30 years of service of the reactor doesn't seem to be terribly safe. Read more before deciding. Anyway, there will be no prototypes before 2015."

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I've got mine on pre-order. (4, Funny)

inertia@yahoo.com (156602) | about 10 years ago | (#10150656)

Not a bad idea. And as for becoming unstable, I'm sure it's simple enough to bury the reactor such that it becomes it's own disposal site.

I'll take the 10 megawatts model for my house. I'm sure it's no bigger than an asteroid the size of a VW.

you = teh suxx (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150673)

You forgot to say FP :
"Fuck Piquepaille !!!"

Re:I've got mine on pre-order. (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#10150739)

I'll take the 10 megawatts model for my house.

Considering my last power bill, these bigger and faster CPUs really need some juice and if you go multicore and such, you may not be exaggerating. All this bitching about nuclear power being safe, pollution from Coal and Gas plants, how ineffective Solar or Wind are -- doesn't anyone realize we're using more electrical power than ever before? Even when we have vaccum tube TV's?

Looking at the octopi at work and around home it seems my next house should have powerstrips along the walls, not just outlets.

On the next episode of Trading Spaces! (3, Interesting)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10150848)

Looking at the octopi at work and around home it seems my next house should have powerstrips along the walls, not just outlets.

Power Strip Wainscotting! I love it! I think I'm going to redo my home office with it!

You can hack anything. (1, Insightful)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about 10 years ago | (#10150747)

Do you want this thing out and about?

Re:I've got mine on pre-order. (3, Interesting)

dirvish (574948) | about 10 years ago | (#10150821)

Sounds like a great idea. Gives the DOE (or someone else) 30 years to figure out what to do with the things once they become unstable. Considering how dependant the world is on energy, and how fast we are draining our resources, and the relatively small number of accidents to date, I don't see what the huge controversy over nuclear energy is.

Duplicate story.... (4, Interesting)

antarctican (301636) | about 10 years ago | (#10150907)

Too bad this story was reported on earlier [slashdot.org] .... though the placement of the reactor has changed slightly....

One Dirty Bomb (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 10 years ago | (#10150662)

Just add C4, Dynamite or Fuel and Fertilizer if you're really hard up.

Leaving a nuclear reactor in a developing country

I trust this means stable and reasonably secure developing country. Some of us have learned some things in the last few years. Some of us have learned a lot in the last 72 hours. :-(

Re:One Dirty Bomb (0, Flamebait)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | about 10 years ago | (#10150721)

By 2015, we will hopefully have reduced Muslim lands to a large, lumpy pane of glass -- therefore I don't foresee any problems.

Re:One Dirty Bomb (1, Redundant)

ahsile (187881) | about 10 years ago | (#10150789)

It's no more scary than the idea of having a mini fusion reactor in your basement powering your home...

Re:One Dirty Bomb - you siad it.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150810)

This is so idiotic that we are still in the mindset of NEEDING more energy! we need to be focusing on distributed energy creation using renewable especially in the developing countries. They have an opportunity that our country does not have because of our heavy need on foreign oil.. Maybe they can be smarter than us on energy.

No boom, you will just scorch the paint (4, Interesting)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | about 10 years ago | (#10150811)

Just add C4, Dynamite or Fuel and Fertilizer if you're really hard up.

Hard up for what, seeing paint scorched? The gov't is already pretty good at building reactors and transportation vessels that stand up to such attacks. The real threats are regrettably from the simple and common anti-armor weapons.

Re:One Dirty Bomb (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150834)

Until you can actually take off with this thing and fly it home at supersonic speeds remotely I think leaving it anywhere would be a tad too dangerous.

Re:One Dirty Bomb (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150885)

Yeah, just make sure you're not doing it in Chico, CA. There's a $500 fine for detonating a nuclear device within the city limits.

Yes, but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150670)


will they run Linux?

Imagine ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150671)

a Beowulf cluster of these! or, powered by one of these, at least!

Followup Slashdot stories (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150674)

Hacking a Port-A-Nuke

Powering Laptop With a Port-A-Nuke

Building Your Own Port-A-Nuke

Now a Porn-A-Nuke?

Re:Followup Slashdot stories (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150743)

"Followup Slashdot stories"
  • Why not post them now? They'll all just be revamped subject lines pointing to the same story anyway.


  • Seriously though ... You should be able to secure a device that's only 15 meters by 3 meters. Bury it a mile underground or something. Wouldn't that ward of a great percentage of the potential attacks and limit the risk?


Now a Porn-A-Nuke? (5, Funny)

Wrexs0ul (515885) | about 10 years ago | (#10150825)

Now a Porn-A-Nuke?

Also known as a very dirty bomb.

-Matt

Re:Now a Porn-A-Nuke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150892)

"oooh I'm sooo dirty" *KABLAM*

Re:Now a Porn-A-Nuke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150901)

I heard about something like that years ago. I think they called it the nude bomb. It was the second best bomb I'd ever seen.

Yes! (1)

Snap E Tom (128447) | about 10 years ago | (#10150695)

My Mr. Fusion powering my Delorean is right around the corner...

Re:Yes! (1)

birdman17 (706093) | about 10 years ago | (#10150774)

My Mr. Fusion powering my Delorean is right around the corner...

Let me know when you get that 500-ton DeLorean accelerated up to 88 mph! You might need a bit more than 1.21 jiggawatts. (insert physics calculations here)

Ah... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150698)

Apparently the US finally found a use for its nuclear weapons arsenal...

PORN!!!! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150701)

PORN = PORtable Nuke reactor. Lest see if I can make it past the slashcode with that heading. Ok, so I did...

I wonder if they require an armada of security on this thing (thing could mean slashcode or the Reactor :)

Location, location (1)

lgbarker (698397) | about 10 years ago | (#10150702)

Now it will be easy to have one in your backyard.

Re:Location, location (2, Informative)

Tazzy531 (456079) | about 10 years ago | (#10150753)

This was the original idea back in the 1950s for the future of nuclear power. People would buy their own power stations to put in their yards to generate power. But power companies were against this [no money to make] and people were in an uproar about safety issues

wearable device (1)

unk1911 (250141) | about 10 years ago | (#10150703)

sounds great but would be nicer when they can shrink it down in size so it could be worn on your person.

Re:wearable device (1)

dotslasher_sri (762515) | about 10 years ago | (#10150809)

umm..why wud u want to wear a nuclear reactor.

Re:wearable device (2, Funny)

Captain Fallout (704318) | about 10 years ago | (#10150861)

Yep, one little crack in the reactor core shielding and in three weeks you get to look like Yoda!

Tamper Resistant? (2, Funny)

Anti_Climax (447121) | about 10 years ago | (#10150705)

Is it just me, or does this make you think of Nuclear Reactor DRM?

Re:Tamper Resistant? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150726)

Just you, go back to being a weenie.. move along and such.

Re:Tamper Resistant? (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | about 10 years ago | (#10150752)

The best part is you just make it blow if they start to mess with it.

Saves us the bother of having to clean up after these countries that buy dual-use equipment from us for "development" then turn on us.

wow (2, Funny)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about 10 years ago | (#10150718)

What are the chances that I'll be able to retrofit a 2005 Hummer with one of those babies?

Electricity IS Civilization (2, Interesting)

Hiigara (649950) | about 10 years ago | (#10150719)

Developing countries, national crisis areas, there is practically no limit for something like this. I don't see it being easily abused either. Power is civilization and civilization is generally a good thing. :p

Re:Electricity IS Civilization (2, Insightful)

DaFallus (805248) | about 10 years ago | (#10150778)

I think it could be easily abused. There are warlords in Africa that already use their control over the power to control the people. They shut off electricity and plumbing whenever they feel like the people aren't obeying. Power is civilization, but he who controls the power, controls the civilization, which is not generally a good thing.

Re:Electricity IS Civilization (1)

Hiigara (649950) | about 10 years ago | (#10150855)

Well I assume whereever the thing goes it's going to be supervised by the United States or U.N., if it's abused we will simply take it away and maybe steamroll the dictatorship into oblivion.

Re:Electricity IS Civilization (1)

kfg (145172) | about 10 years ago | (#10150898)

Egypt, Babylon, Greece, The British Empire and by extention the first few centuries of development of American civilization.

Civilization is the social aspect of leveraging human capital in the pursuit of mutually beneficial technologies (such as agriculture). The pyramids and the Great Wall of China could not have been built without civilization. They were, however, built without any electricity.

Civilization is not, and is not dependant upon, any specific technology itself. It is, and is dependant upon, cooperation.

KFG

Good thing no prototypes till 2015. (1)

Blaede (266638) | about 10 years ago | (#10150723)

Having these units seized by a terrorist group will be a moot point, since the alien invasion is set to start on 2012, the end of the Mayan calendar.

Re:Good thing no prototypes till 2015. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150846)

Yeah. and what's the point of a 30-year life if the world's going to end in 2038 when the Unix clocks overflow?

After all. . . (1)

loraksus (171574) | about 10 years ago | (#10150725)

What could possibly go wrong? /ignoring the fact that it is easier to convince greenpeace to clearcut an old growth forest than it is to get regulatory approval.

Portable nuke? Cool! (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 10 years ago | (#10150732)

A portable nuclear reactor? Cool! Just sling it over your back [weblogs.com] and go!

Sarcasm aside, "portable" may be stretching it for something that weight 500 metric tons. "Self-contained" would be a better term. Which would be an impressive feat if they can pull it off. Most of our existing reactors require quite a bit of supervision to ensure that they operate within expected tolerances. The safety systems should kick in if anything goes wrong, but the power going out is enough of a problem in of itself. Of course, most of our reactors are pretty old tech, so a self-contained reactor may be possible now. I think it would be kind of cool if every suburb could have one of these things.

Not sure about the whole third-world idea, though. All I can say is, it's better than letting them build their own reactors. At least with these, we'll 100% KNOW if plutonium is missing.

Re:Portable nuke? Cool! (1)

irokitt (663593) | about 10 years ago | (#10150889)

Even if the safety circuits were perfect, I would want to insist on having trained, dependable human operators supervising the thing. Much of the reactors in naval and civilian use could have more of their processes automated, but they haven't been automated because it is generally safer to have humans there-humans think, safety circuits don't.

Sounds familiar... (4, Informative)

flabbergast (620919) | about 10 years ago | (#10150735)

I knew this sounded familiar. Its even at New Scientist.

Mini nuclear reactor could power apartment blocks [newscientist.com]

With that said, I don't know how similar these two technologies are. But, smaller reactors seem to be an active area of research.

Re:Sounds familiar... (1)

dirvish (574948) | about 10 years ago | (#10150918)

Looks like the Japanese are on it also [bbc.co.uk] .

It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye (1)

TiggertheMad (556308) | about 10 years ago | (#10150737)

Yeah, but when you do this and start exporting them, how long before some punk from /. starts selling DIY conversion kits that lets you re-chip it into a bomb?

(JOKE. I could go off into a detailed description of nuclear weapon, so spare me the nitpicky replys why this won't work.)

California will take 30 of them please. (0)

ARRRLovin (807926) | about 10 years ago | (#10150742)

Put it on Gray Davis' tab.
Thanks,
-Gov. Schwarzenegger

Shit it's been hijacked (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 10 years ago | (#10150744)

Lets hope the terrorist doesn't turn off the coolant and drive it into a building. www.geocities.com/James_Sager_PA

No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150754)

There is no way some sub-standard 3rd-world country could keep one of these things running. No way.

I mean, have you even been to these types of places? Even the very best places in these countries are totally underdeveloped and uncontrolled/unsafe.

Similarity to "porta potty" (1)

lildogie (54998) | about 10 years ago | (#10150757)

If it's sealed, it's nice.

But if it gets smashed, there's a hell of a mess to clean up.

Now my nuclear reactor is obsolete (1)

Sowbug (16204) | about 10 years ago | (#10150758)

Don't you hate it when that happens? You spend all this time researching the best nuclear power plant for your needs, and finally you get one. Then a couple months later they come out with one that's twice as powerful, half the size, and half the price. And it includes this fancy "SSTAR" feature, which of course yours doesn't have.

As a former nuclear navy reactor operator (4, Interesting)

Cryofan (194126) | about 10 years ago | (#10150762)

I can tell you that US Navy subs have had few catastophic disasters, and perhaps none at all for a long time.

So I think that is a good proof of concept for portable nuke power plants.

With the right type of manufacturing technology, one can make the fissionable material very hard to get at.

I fully support much more use of nuclear power everywhere in the world.

Take away (1)

o1dm0n (648449) | about 10 years ago | (#10150764)

It sure takes away the "We're enriching uranium for clean nuclear power" argument if we can deliver one of these and say, "Here use this till you get your other industries on your feet."

Will it be a USB plug and pray reactor? (1)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | about 10 years ago | (#10150765)

But seriously two issues have to be addressed:

(1) is it going to be safe similar to the claims of ? [pbmr.com]

(2). If at any point (including) end of life, some unsavory party can break into the reactor and steal the plutonium. Even if there are alarms, the thief would be long gone before the autorities could arrive (if it is not the government themselfs doing this).

Discover magazine (1)

Suit_N_Tie (128024) | about 10 years ago | (#10150766)

I remember reading a one page article in Discover magazine about a dozen years ago, describing a house (or was it a neighborhood) running on a very small nuclear reactor buried in the back yard. It looked very feasible and I am sure we could do that with today's technology.

Happiness is a belt-fed weapon.

This could be a good thing (1)

Chromal (56550) | about 10 years ago | (#10150768)

It's a good idea if these are mature reactor designs that won't suffer from Chlorine-related chamber corrosion and cannot go sufficiently out of control to achieve melt down.

We need to resume the serious development and deployment of fossil-fuel alternatives. I just wish somebody would create a commercial Energy Amplifier reactor [wikipedia.org] so we could use Thorium as an energy source and move away from enriched uranium, which is energy and environmentally costly to mine, refine, and dispose of.

"help" developping countries... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150769)

...at the expense of everybody. Our planet can't sustain 6.4 billion people all consuming energy at the level of the USA.

Mars (2, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about 10 years ago | (#10150771)

10 to 30 years is perfect for building a small base.

Hmmm... (1)

GameGod0 (680382) | about 10 years ago | (#10150775)

I wonder how much the extended warranty will set you back....

There is no optimal solution (2, Interesting)

calypso15 (767323) | about 10 years ago | (#10150781)

It doesn't matter what solution you come up with, there is always going to be someone who can beat it, take advantage of it, destroy it, what-have-you. Take the copy-protection world, for instance.

The thing you have to think about is whether the potential damage is worth the potential gain. In this case, I'm casting my vote for "yes", but only if we carefully regulate where these things are going and assure that they're not being... well, stolen.

Of course, this also raises the issue of, how do we deal with nuclear waste in developing countries? We can't even deal with it in our own. That aside, I am a proponent of nuclear energy. It's the best we've got right now. (Don't even talk about environmentally friendly solutions. The only actual environment friendly solution is solar, and good luck with that one.)

Metal Gear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150785)

Am I the only person who thought of Metal Gear? Portable and nuclear always remind me of Metal Gear.

Learn with the rest (1)

Kell_pt (789485) | about 10 years ago | (#10150787)

Seems like the US should stop, ponder a bit, swallow their pride, and then maybe learn from the Chinese?
Portable? C'mon!! How about efficient, safe and non-pollutent?

Hey Terrorist. Here's a nuke for ya! (1)

ispcay (618838) | about 10 years ago | (#10150788)

I agree that helping developing countries is always a great idea. I was also be worried that by delivering these types on nuclear plants, we would also have to provide an extensive amount of security. If these are developing countries they themselves would not have the manpower nor the equipment that some of these terrorist groups have to defend the powerplant. If these 500 ton plants are not well guarded we can very well see a nuclear explosion occur.

Greens won't let us have it (2, Insightful)

CodeWanker (534624) | about 10 years ago | (#10150790)

This is a great idea. The awful truth is that we can build stable, non-bomb-making reactors (pebble bed reactors, for instance) and the loonie left won't even consider it. Give a pebble bed reactor to a city and if the terrorists get it they get... uh... free electricity for a few years. Or a silo full of hot graphite tennis balls that would kill someone... if you hit him with them hard enough.

Ultimate UPS (2, Funny)

HangingChad (677530) | about 10 years ago | (#10150791)

Power out? Forget that sissy battery powered UPS, just pull out my nuclear porta power backup generator. The ultimate sysad gadget.

Wonder if it has a sticker on the side that says: WARNING DO NOT DISPOSE IN TRASH.

It's already been done (1)

drgonzo59 (747139) | about 10 years ago | (#10150795)

Toshiba has been doing something like that. The lifetime is about the same except the whole thing is installed underground. There was a news item how they installed one in a remote part of Alaska. They call theym micro-nukes I think. But just going out on a limb, they probably should leave these puppies in Iraq (just yet).

Transportation (1)

rjamestaylor (117847) | about 10 years ago | (#10150797)

>> allowing for transportation by ships or very large trucks.

Dear Nuclear Regulatory Commission,

Please send your portable nuclear reactors through my community on a very large truck!

Yours,

Darl McBride

Call the police! (1)

SnottyRetard (810611) | about 10 years ago | (#10150798)

"15 meters high and 3 meters wide, with a weight of about 500 tons" - my mother in law is on the run again!

I like it (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | about 10 years ago | (#10150801)

Can Washington County, OR PUD be a beta tester?

So who's buying? (1)

TheBurrito (767042) | about 10 years ago | (#10150807)

So what countries would be on the list to receive something like this? Presumably there could be a deal worked out with Iran and North Korea, but it seems those cats are already out of the bag. What nations are expected to have burgeoning needs for power in the next few decades? It seems to me that most countries with booming populations already have the ability to meet their power requirements with their own reactors, or they completely lack a power infrastructure to begin with (i.e. much of Africa).

Pebble-bed reactors? (2, Insightful)

Bahumat (213955) | about 10 years ago | (#10150812)

Are they using pebble-bed reactors? [slashdot.org] Seriously. This sounds like it's just begging for trouble. Armor and alarms won't mean much if it's the local what-passes-for-government decides it wants it's hands on (what it assumes to be) fissile material.

Why don't we just borrow China's design? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about 10 years ago | (#10150813)

Why don't we just borrow China's design? (See yesterday's nuke discussion...)

Kaboom! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150814)

My concern with reactors of these size would be the potential ease with which they could be blown up. My understanding is that people flying planes into your typical reactor isn't such a big deal, because 10 meters of solid concrete isn't all that difficult to fly through. With units these small, how difficult could it be to breach them with some sort of explosive device, or a flying missile?

Also, putting it on the back of a truck? I don't know about anybody else, but most of the ports near me are accessed through residential areas. I can only imagine the outcry about -nuclear reactors- passing through these neighborhoods in the dead of night. Imagine if the rig jack-knifed?

What about in developed countries? (1)

farmgeek (318817) | about 10 years ago | (#10150816)

Sounds like a perfect way to distribute power generating capabilities, at a size that makes them less likely to have catastrophic failures.

We've been seeing a lot of this "safe" nukes stuff (4, Informative)

ahfoo (223186) | about 10 years ago | (#10150820)

What is being called safe is the cooling systems and other issues involved with a properly functioning system. What none of these are addressing is that a proplerly functioning nuclear fission plant produces wastes that need to be disposed of and those disposal costs are not being calculated in these reportedly cheap price tags.
This is a very serious accounting issue and a firm that tries to play this kind of accounting game deserves to be busted for fraud.

this is silly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150826)

Why not let a developing country develop itself. We're the biggest, the strongest, the best. We won the race to power whoopdeefuggindoo. Why are we trying to help everyone else out with power when we have enough problems with our own powergrid. (East Coast blackout 1 year ago anyone remember that?)

Stop spending kagillions of dollars helping everyone else out and start improving upon ourselves.

Ah-ha! (1)

JavaRob (28971) | about 10 years ago | (#10150827)

Leaving a nuclear reactor in a developing country which can potentially become unstable during the 30 years of service of the reactor doesn't seem to be terribly safe.

Heh... I think you're misunderestimating the usefulness of this device. If we'd given Iraq one of these during the 70s, all this hubbub now about "we can't find the WMDs" wouldn't be a problem! Look, it's right there!

(sorry, couldn't resist the joke)
Oh wait -- did they mean the *reactor* could become unstable, or the *country* could become unstable? Either one makes sense.

I want one! I want one!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150829)

This is even better than an RTG in every garage.

So much for $2/gallon gas (2, Interesting)

dcavanaugh (248349) | about 10 years ago | (#10150836)

I'll bet the 10 megawatt model could be hooked up to an electric motor and transmission. No more gas station. Probably fast as hell too!

No prototypes til 2015? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150849)

What about military submarines, those have been using tiny (well, relatively) reactors for decades.

Also, in the early 70s the military successfully tested portable outdoor nuclear reactors in Sundance, Wyoming, Camp Century, Greenland and McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.

For Emergency Use Only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150853)

I imagine a generator of this magnitude could prove somewhat useful after a disaster such as the one pending to hit southern Florida. It's like a fun giant battery!

Tsjernobil (1)

Uruviel (772554) | about 10 years ago | (#10150859)

anyone remeber Tsjernobil and what about the waste?
Besides these things won't last very long

Will the reactor be a "pebble-bed" type? (0, Redundant)

GSpot (134221) | about 10 years ago | (#10150863)

I just finished reading about these [wired.com] in Wired.

Great solution (2, Interesting)

jrexilius (520067) | about 10 years ago | (#10150864)

This is a great solution. Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq would have benefited greatly from this. These would help us get their critical infrastructure back up and running quickly and be a huge humanitarian benefit.

Add to this a good wireless communications hub that would provide voice and data and you can quickly restores some semblence of normal life to a post-war environment.

Now if they can get a water solution such as desalination or filtering then we would in great shape.

Breeder reactor (1)

nharmon (97591) | about 10 years ago | (#10150865)

According to the article, the only foreseeable way to keep these things sealed and running for 30 years is to make them breeder reactors, converting the wasted material into usable plutonium 239.

Isn't plutonium 239 the stuff that makes nuclear weapons work?

I mean, we're not allowed to have breeder reactors in the United States, but its perfectly ok to send one to a developing nation?

only 10 to 100 megawatts? (1)

djfray (803421) | about 10 years ago | (#10150868)

just tell me how to overclock it! :-)

Kathleen Fent Gives Teethy Blowjobs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10150876)

Yes, she really does! [kathleen-f...wjobs.info]

Trust me, it has nothing to do with the fact that CmdrTaco has a small penis [cmdrtaco-h...penis.info] . Ol' Fent does this to everyone, including Simonigger [simonigger.info]

Breed Plutonium? Steam? (4, Interesting)

TheSync (5291) | about 10 years ago | (#10150880)

Personally, I still think the helium-cooled pebble bed reactors would be better for long-term operation.

I can't believe that anything having to do with steam will survive 30 years without maintenance. Corrosion happens when you have water. High-pressure helium (or other unreactive noble gas) is a safer cooling solution.

Also this whole breeding plutonium thing is real proliferation risk. The article says the reactor is "tamper resistant," but I don't see why someone couldn't bore through the side of the thing and take out the fuel rods. I think a non-breeding solution would be safer.

The biggest issue with the "pebble bed" concept is the physical removal and addition of the pebbles, which is requires too many moving parts to be sealed.

Certainly you could work out some sealed solution to a long-term pebble bed only having a part of the core fissioning at any point, using some sort of neutron absorbing rods or liquid.

Re:Breed Plutonium? Steam? (1)

GSpot (134221) | about 10 years ago | (#10150917)

These type of reactors were discussed in the latest edition of Wired [wired.com] .

Of course you can send it to unstable countries (1)

bfree (113420) | about 10 years ago | (#10150881)

It doesn't matter if you choose to send it to any unstable country, the supplier will of course provide the military backup to protect it in this terrorist age.

A transportable reactor... (1)

at_18 (224304) | about 10 years ago | (#10150888)

... only 15 meters high and 3 meters wide, with a weight of about 500 tons !!

Sounds like those 17" widescreen "portable computers " that I see in stores.

Who will you call? (1)

mu22le (766735) | about 10 years ago | (#10150890)

Way to go for the Ghostbusters atomic backpack!!!

http://community-2.webtv.net/Central_Minnesota_G ho stbusters/CentralMinnesota/scrapbookFiles/mailedD1 7.jpg
http://www.cyberturf.com/ghostbusters/backp ackwins ton.jpg

Reminds me of (1)

kaos.geo (587126) | about 10 years ago | (#10150891)

The Stephen King Dark Tower series... "North Central Positronics Ltd. in association with LaMERK Industries Presents...Portable Nuclear Reactor (Many Other Functions)"

Half brained. (1)

dbitch (553938) | about 10 years ago | (#10150895)

Jesus, DOE/DOD can't make up their mind.

Okay, so nobody wants proliferation of nukes. Okay, that's fine. But if someone really wants a nuke, do you think that they will buy this and crack it open? Hell no! They'll roll their own. And there won't have been any point to this port-a-reactor that generates a pittiance of energy (100MW is about enough to cover a few small cities, but not much else). Oh yeah, and if they do try to crack it open, I guarantee you the US will have an excuse to invade, but that's a side note.

WOW! (1)

thewickedmystic (634177) | about 10 years ago | (#10150897)

When Atomic energy was discovered the world was dazzled by the thought of cheap(?) and clean(?) energy. After all of these years, we are actually in the process of making it possible. I think this is an excellent idea! That is, unless someone (read: politician) screws it up!

g:W? (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 10 years ago | (#10150905)

How much waste "spent fuel" does one of these reactors generate per watt? The theoretical E=mc^2 of 1 gram is 1E14, but how many grams of radioactive waste matter are actually output after a MW has been pumped over the AC transmission wires?

Smaller? (1)

caluml (551744) | about 10 years ago | (#10150910)

How small can they make it? Can they make one small enough to power a laptop? In fact, how much radioactive material would you need to power the average laptop?

500 Tons is Portable? (1)

severoon (536737) | about 10 years ago | (#10150911)

If 500 tons is "portable", then we already have these portable nuclear reactors. They're called nuclear submarines.

No a new thing (1)

deconvolution (715827) | about 10 years ago | (#10150919)

"self-contained, tamper-resistant nuclear reactor that can be transported and installed anywhere in the world. "

This is not a novel idea. A nuclear-powered air carrier can provide a full electricity support for a middle size town. And it can be ported in most of place in the world.

Damn (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | about 10 years ago | (#10150920)

For a second I thought this was about portable nukes that you could attach to the front of your gun and fire down bug holes.

Bah, I was all prepared to make a "Would you like to know more?" joke too.

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