1. Post #1
    DERAILER OF THREADS DESTROYER OF IDIOTS
    Emperor Scorpious II's Avatar
    February 2009
    25,346 Posts
    As spaceborne energy-harvesting schemes go, this one seems faintly possible ó an array of curved mirrors directing sunlight toward solar cells, their energy production microwaved down to Earth. Itís so realistic, actually, that NASA is providing funding for a proof-of-concept study.

    A former NASA engineer named John Mankins, now with a company called Artemis Innovation Management Solutions, detailed his plans at a NASA innovation conference recently. The concept is called called Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large PHased Array (SPS-ALPHA), and it would harvest solar energy from a perch in high Earth orbit.

    It would consist of a modular array of movable thin-film mirrors, which could be taken into space using current cargo ships and assembled piece by piece. This would be less expensive than building a gigantic array and launching it. These curved mirrors would redirect sunlight toward an internal collection of photovoltaic panels, and the solar energy would be converted into microwaves. Then the Earth-facing portion, or the bottom of the margarita glass in the image at top, would transmit low-frequency, low-intensity waves toward Earth. At the receiving end, power plants would convert the microwave energy into electricity, adding it to the power grid.

    Itís not as comprehensive ó nor potentially destructive ó as building a Dyson sphere around the Earth, but itís sort of along the same lines, building a space-based system that can harness solar radiation and somehow beam it back to the planet. Mankinsí design is inspired by nature, according to an account of his presentation over at Space.com. It does sort of look like a flower.

    His project, first announced last fall, is part of NASAís NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts project, under the Office of the Chief Technologist. A one-year study is ongoing.
    Source: http://www.popsci.com/technology/art...wer-down-earth
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  2. Post #2
    Title Attrition Belligerent
    Ghostwork's Avatar
    November 2009
    2,022 Posts
    potentially destructive ó as building a Dyson sphere around the Earth,
    I thought those were supposed to go around stars.
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  3. Post #3
    Supercocks
    Daniel Smith's Avatar
    September 2010
    8,928 Posts
    I declare 2012 Science Year.
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  4. Post #4
    I have obtained exclusive footage from Nasa
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  5. Post #5
    Gold Member
    stealth_camo's Avatar
    February 2005
    1,314 Posts
    i heard about this years ago on a show called catalyst, at least its getting some dollar into now
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  6. Post #6
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    Finally someone attempting to harness the endless power available in space. We need more funding on projects like that rather than building more dangerous nuclear power plants that generate waste that takes tens of thousands of years to decay into something moderately safe to be within the same time country with.

    An even better idea would be to make a large cable array in the earths' geomagnetic field and use the huge amount of potential it generates on the cables to make power. Cables are much cheaper to produce and are so thin in the scheme of things that they're nearly immune to damage from space junk.
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  7. Post #7
    Gold Member
    rhx123's Avatar
    October 2008
    3,799 Posts
    I wonder if this has any correlation to the news that valve may be working on a hardware box.
    I can certainly see them wanting to be able to shave off as much cost as possible (to compete with consoles), and not paying for a windows license for each box would be a good saving.
    Valve usually works fairly closely with developers, and whilst I would expect a native source port, I think there may be a chance Valve will create something (not dissimilar to wine maybe) that allows windows games to run on Linux without extreme modification, and happens silently inside of steam to the end user).
    The fact that Valve have denied making steam for Linux, and suddenly seem to have a change of heart as rumor of a Steam Box increases suggests to me that they are linked.
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  8. Post #8
    der_crow's Avatar
    March 2010
    410 Posts
    Finally someone attempting to harness the endless power available in space. We need more funding on projects like that rather than building more dangerous nuclear power plants that generate waste that takes tens of thousands of years to decay into something moderately safe to be within the same time country with.
    go look at the Thorium reactors, a insanely abundant resource, 10x denser the uranium and the reactor proposed is also infinity more safe and gives out more energy

    im all for this but this new reactor is where its at
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  9. Post #9
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    go look at the Thorium reactors, a insanely abundant resource, 10x denser the uranium and the reactor proposed is also infinity more safe and gives out more energy

    im all for this but this new reactor is where its at
    Yeah, keep not addressing where to store spent fuel that is beyond hazardous to all forms of life and always poses an extreme danger to the environment wherever it's stored. There is no safe or clean reactor, and even a 0.000000001% chance that a reactor can fail is too much of a risk.

    And don't pull numbers out of your derriere, Uranium is heavier than Thorium.

    Thorium is element 90 with an atomic weight of 232.03~ and Uranium is element 92 with an atomic weight of 238.02. Uranium is heavier.

    The useful isotope of Thorium would be Th-229, which has a half-life of 7340 years. Since you seem to think it's safe, we'll just store the spent Thorium fuel in your house after we're done with it.
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  10. Post #10
    Gold Member
    Nipa's Avatar
    June 2006
    1,095 Posts
    I wonder if this has any correlation to the news that valve may be working on a hardware box.
    I can certainly see them wanting to be able to shave off as much cost as possible (to compete with consoles), and not paying for a windows license for each box would be a good saving.
    Valve usually works fairly closely with developers, and whilst I would expect a native source port, I think there may be a chance Valve will create something (not dissimilar to wine maybe) that allows windows games to run on Linux without extreme modification, and happens silently inside of steam to the end user).
    The fact that Valve have denied making steam for Linux, and suddenly seem to have a change of heart as rumor of a Steam Box increases suggests to me that they are linked.
    Wrong thread, perhaps?
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  11. Post #11
    Gold Member
    Fedalkyn's Avatar
    July 2006
    720 Posts
    go look at the Thorium reactors, a insanely abundant resource, 10x denser the uranium and the reactor proposed is also infinity more safe and gives out more energy

    im all for this but this new reactor is where its at
    Hah, I read Tiberium.

    Unrelated, but related: This reminds me of the microwave power stations from SimCity 2000
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  12. Post #12
    Gold Member
    Chrille's Avatar
    August 2005
    5,435 Posts
    Yeah, keep not addressing where to store spent fuel that is beyond hazardous to all forms of life and always poses an extreme danger to the environment wherever it's stored. There is no safe or clean reactor, and even a 0.000000001% chance that a reactor can fail is too much of a risk.

    And don't pull numbers out of your derriere, Uranium is heavier than Thorium.

    Thorium is element 90 with an atomic weight of 232.03~ and Uranium is element 92 with an atomic weight of 238.02. Uranium is heavier.

    The useful isotope of Thorium would be Th-229, which has a half-life of 7340 years. Since you seem to think it's safe, we'll just store the spent Thorium fuel in your house after we're done with it.
    Fusion, baby.

    The half-life of the radioisotopes produced by fusion tend to be less than those from fission, so that the inventory decreases more rapidly. Unlike fission reactors, whose waste remains radioactive for thousands of years, most of the radioactive material in a fusion reactor would be the reactor core itself, which would be dangerous for about 50 years, and low-level waste another 100. Although this waste will be considerably more radioactive during those 50 years than fission waste, the very short half-life makes the process very attractive, as the waste management is fairly straightforward. By 300 years the material would have the same radioactivity as coal ash.
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  13. Post #13
    White Fusion will love him forever and ever~
    Rents's Avatar
    January 2012
    10,811 Posts
    Thorium is element 90 with an atomic weight of 232.03~ and Uranium is element 92 with an atomic weight of 238.02. Uranium is heavier.
    Material density doesn't work that way, xenon atoms are heavier than copper ones, but guess which is denser?

    Edited:

    I declare 2012 Science Year.
    Every year is science year.
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  14. Post #14
    Gold Member
    Zezibesh's Avatar
    May 2008
    18,981 Posts
    Yeah, keep not addressing where to store spent fuel that is beyond hazardous to all forms of life and always poses an extreme danger to the environment wherever it's stored. There is no safe or clean reactor, and even a 0.000000001% chance that a reactor can fail is too much of a risk.

    And don't pull numbers out of your derriere, Uranium is heavier than Thorium.

    Thorium is element 90 with an atomic weight of 232.03~ and Uranium is element 92 with an atomic weight of 238.02. Uranium is heavier.

    The useful isotope of Thorium would be Th-229, which has a half-life of 7340 years. Since you seem to think it's safe, we'll just store the spent Thorium fuel in your house after we're done with it.
    Fire it into the sun with a big coilgun
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  15. Post #15
    Gold Member
    TheDecryptor's Avatar
    September 2006
    4,212 Posts
    Fire it into the sun with a big coilgun
    As cool as that would be, I think fuel reprocessing is a cheaper solution.

  16. Post #16
    Person
    geel9's Avatar
    June 2008
    5,659 Posts
    They should've found a way to name it SPF-ALPHA
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  17. Post #17
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    Fusion, baby.
    A reduction in half-life from 7340 years to ~50 years means that whatever substance you're working with is thousands of times more hazardous, and thousands of times more disasterous if an accident happens. And you're only thinking in black and white. Everything that comes into contact with the radioactive material becomes radioactive itself, and in turn it makes other things radioactive.

    While whatever you're fusing may only be hazardous for 300 years (which is still ridiculous) the things it makes radioactive from bombardment will end up like Th-229 and have half-lifes in the thousands of years range and only get worse the longer you let the reaction take place.

    Fusion is in the exact same boat as regular nuclear reactors.

    Material density doesn't work that way, xenon atoms are heavier than copper ones, but guess which is denser?

    Edited:

    Every year is science year.
    Uranium atoms are heavier than Thorium atoms, and at room temperature Uranium has a higher density than Thorium. Density doesn't always work like it should, but in the case of Th an U it does.

    Fire it into the sun with a big coilgun
    Oops, the coilgun malfunctioned and fired the payload into a neighboring city and contaminated hundreds of miles of air, land and water.

    Or

    Oops, we made a mistake in the escape velocity calculations and the payload disentegrated mid-flight and contaminated 3 time zones.

    Or

    Oops, we had a delay and accidentally fired the payload into a passenger jet, which killed everyone and the payload exploded and contaminated thousands of miles of air, land and water.

    There is absolutely no way to dispose of spent nuclear fuel that's guaranteed not to have a chance of catastrophically failing, which is one chance too many.
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  18. Post #18
    Gold Member
    Chrille's Avatar
    August 2005
    5,435 Posts
    A reduction in half-life from 7340 years to ~50 years means that whatever substance you're working with is thousands of times more hazardous, and thousands of times more disasterous if an accident happens. And you're only thinking in black and white. Everything that comes into contact with the radioactive material becomes radioactive itself, and in turn it makes other things radioactive.

    While whatever you're fusing may only be hazardous for 300 years (which is still ridiculous) the things it makes radioactive from bombardment will end up like Th-229 and have half-lifes in the thousands of years range and only get worse the longer you let the reaction take place.

    Fusion is in the exact same boat as regular nuclear reactors.
    It said so right in the quote:

    Although this waste will be considerably more radioactive during those 50 years than fission waste, the very short half-life makes the process very attractive, as the waste management is fairly straightforward.

    I'm thinking they have that part under control

    Edited:

    combined with the technology available in 2050+ I really don't think there will be a problem

  19. Post #19
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    It said so right in the quote:

    Although this waste will be considerably more radioactive during those 50 years than fission waste, the very short half-life makes the process very attractive, as the waste management is fairly straightforward.

    I'm thinking they have that part under control
    Yeah, its straightforward into an on-site holding tank.

    It has the exact same risks as regular spent fuel rod pools, except more since its thousands of times more radioactive.

    I figured people weren't idiotic enough to keep prattling on about how nuclear (and now fusion) power is any sort of "safe". Just look how many uninhabitable and hazardous areas we have around the world made in the past 70 years from nuclear bomb tests, nuclear meltdowns and mobile nuclear reactors in ships that have failed.

    combined with the technology available in 2050+ I really don't think there will be a problem
    NYAHAHAHHAH.

    This is a fucking epic blast to the past. It's hilarious that you say that, because they said the EXACT same thing in the early 1960s; And guess what? It's been over 50 years and they STILL haven't figured a way to dispose of the waste, just convert it into different forms of hazardous waste that are dangerous and expensive. And the bottom line is that it is still required to store it somewhere and no sane person wants tha anywhere near them.
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  20. Post #20
    Gold Member
    Noth's Avatar
    October 2007
    4,748 Posts
    I thought those were supposed to go around stars.
    Probably why it'd be so potentially destructive.

  21. Post #21
    Gold Member
    Chrille's Avatar
    August 2005
    5,435 Posts
    Yeah, its straightforward into an on-site holding tank.

    It has the exact same risks as regular spent fuel rod pools, except more since its thousands of times more radioactive.

    I figured people weren't idiotic enough to keep prattling on about how nuclear (and now fusion) power is any sort of "safe". Just look how many uninhabitable and hazardous areas we have around the world made in the past 70 years from nuclear bomb tests, nuclear meltdowns and mobile nuclear reactors in ships that have failed.

    NYAHAHAHHAH.

    This is a fucking epic blast to the past. It's hilarious that you say that, because they said the EXACT same thing in the early 1960s; And guess what? It's been over 50 years and they STILL haven't figured a way to dispose of the waste, just convert it into different forms of hazardous waste that are dangerous and expensive. And the bottom line is that it is still required to store it somewhere and no sane person wants tha anywhere near them.
    "NYAHAHAHHAH" seriously?

    You don't think we have machines to handle nuclear waste in 2050? Improved insulation in waste storage areas? And no, I don't know of any accidents in recent years where the technology involved wasn't ancient or safety standards weren't upheld.
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  22. Post #22
    Gold Member
    Zezibesh's Avatar
    May 2008
    18,981 Posts
    Just look how many uninhabitable and hazardous areas we have around the world made in the past 70 years from nuclear bomb tests
    Irrelevant. We're talking reactors here.

    nuclear meltdowns
    Hardly that large areas, although Chernobyl was pretty close to a thermal explosion which would have been very dangerous.

    and mobile nuclear reactors in ships that have failed.
    Don't use them in ships?

    The biggest current problems with nuclear power are the waste, people brainwashed into thinking it's more dangerous than coal etc power, and the fact that most nuclear plants in the world are built within the area that could get covered in water if the ice caps melted.
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  23. Post #23
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    "NYAHAHAHHAH" seriously?

    You don't think we have machines to handle nuclear waste in 2050? Improved insulation in waste storage areas? And no, I don't know of any accidents in recent years where the technology involved wasn't ancient or safety standards weren't upheld.
    Yeah, continue to be ignorant and irresponsible and push problems off onto future generations because you think they will have the means to deal with such problems. People like you are the reason why the world has so many problems today. You can't predict the future, what if society collapses and has severe technological regression? It's been a recorded phenomenon several times in recorded history and nothing is stopping it from happening again.

    And you still can't think outside the box. Where do you propose such "storage areas"? On-site storage won't last indefinitely due to the fact the reactors produce far in excess of the capacity of the storage pools, and the existing radioactive waste won't be safe by the time new waste arrives.

    Nobody wants nuclear waste disposal sites near them, which is why Yucca mountain was shut down.

    Edited:

    Sorry to say this, but people defending nuclear power in here are clearly stupid.

    Irrelevant. We're talking reactors here.
    Nuclear is nuclear.

    Hardly that large areas, although Chernobyl was pretty close to a thermal explosion which would have been very dangerous.
    This is a prime example of stupid. Do you know how the world found out about Chernobyl when it happened? It created a fallout cloud that enveloped all of the western soviet union AND all of northern europe. This wasn't some little thing that made a cople of ticks on the geiger counter, this was hazardous fallout that caused measurable highly negative health effects and deaths.

    Don't use them in ships?
    Sorry, you're about 30 years too late to say that. There are at least 100 nuclear powered surface ships and submarines operated around the world. Pretty much impossible to dispose of some of them (especially some russian submarines) due to terrible mismanagement.

    The biggest current problems with nuclear power are the waste, people brainwashed into thinking it's more dangerous than coal etc power, and the fact that most nuclear plants in the world are built within the area that could get covered in water if the ice caps melted.
    I fail to see what ice caps melting would do a reactor/storage pool other than spread massive amounts of radiation around. Nuclear power IS more dangerous than coal power. if a coal powerplant explodes, you put the fires out and build a new one. If a nuclear power plant explodes, you evacuate half of a country and spend tens of billions in containment.
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  24. Post #24
    Gold Member
    Dennab
    August 2005
    12,791 Posts

    Yes please.
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  25. Post #25
    White Fusion will love him forever and ever~
    Rents's Avatar
    January 2012
    10,811 Posts
    Everything that comes into contact with the radioactive material becomes radioactive itself, and in turn it makes other things radioactive.
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  26. Post #26
    Gold Member
    Zang-Pog's Avatar
    August 2006
    5,884 Posts
    Everything that comes into contact with the radioactive material becomes radioactive itself, and in turn it makes other things radioactive.
    Your definition of radioactivity fits you well! Well, replace radioactivity with complete stupidity. We should call this new discovery Bohb-activity and stay the fuck away from it forever untill somebody finds a proper way to dispose waste with such activity
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  27. Post #27
    Please waste more of your money changing this title again.
    Gmod4ever's Avatar
    August 2005
    6,785 Posts
    Dammit, NASA.

    Quit stealing my ideas for science-fiction novels.

    This particular scifi idea was a company that built an array of solar satellites within relatively-close proximity to the Sun, and then uses microwaves to beam excess collected energy (the satellites kept enough to power themselves for whatever they needed powered) along an array of transmitters, before having the energy finally beamed back to the company's bases on Earth, where they would sell the power to public grids.

    Dammit, NASA!

  28. Post #28
    Gold Member
    Xenocidebot's Avatar
    April 2006
    5,062 Posts
    Sorry to say this, but people defending nuclear power in here are clearly stupid.
    Speaking as an engineer: it is my expert opinion that you haven't a goddamn clue what you're talking about.
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  29. Post #29
    Gold Member
    The golden's Avatar
    June 2005
    15,594 Posts
    Isn't beaming such huge amounts of power down to earth EXTREMELY dangerous? Any organic life flying through the "beam" is going to be toast.

  30. Post #30
    Dennab
    September 2011
    3,417 Posts
    I imagine bohb as crazy janitor who made a thesis about Nuclear physics and sending it to the "president" thinking he would be hired as superscientist.
    His understanding of Nuclear power is exactly what is expected from invidiuals who have read something from the internet and then thinking they know everything.

  31. Post #31
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    Your definition of radioactivity fits you well! Well, replace radioactivity with complete stupidity. We should call this new discovery Bohb-activity and stay the fuck away from it forever untill somebody finds a proper way to dispose waste with such activity
    Cool, someone named something after me. It seems bohb-activity is a true phenomenon since it started with one person defending nuclear power with stupid and ignorant arguments, then multiplied to over 20, and then created an idiot cull of butthurt people who in turn got other people to spam me dumb ratings This sure seems A LOT like neutron radiation.

    Case and point of your stupidity:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_radiation

    Speaking as an engineer: it is my expert opinion that you haven't a goddamn clue what you're talking about.
    In my expert opinion, you aren't an expert. That is, unless you have a background in nuclear anything, which you probably don't.

    I imagine bohb as crazy janitor who made a thesis about Nuclear physics and sending it to the "president" thinking he would be hired as superscientist.
    His understanding of Nuclear power is exactly what is expected from invidiuals who have read something from the internet and then thinking they know everything.
    Nope, I know a retired nuclear physicist that worked at LANL, and I also read a ton. You seem to be inferring that knowledge is some sort of hocus pocus and is evil and that nobody should bother with such things. I guess my prediction is true, society is going to collapse back into the dark ages.
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  32. Post #32
    LtKyle2's Avatar
    March 2011
    4,193 Posts

    ?
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  33. Post #33
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,175 Posts
    Cool, someone named something after me. It seems bohb-activity is a true phenomenon since it started with one person defending nuclear power with stupid and ignorant arguments, then multiplied to over 20, and then created an idiot cull of butthurt people who in turn got other people to spam me dumb ratings This sure seems A LOT like neutron radiation.

    Case and point of your stupidity:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutron_radiation
    I'm no expert so I'm just going on what I understood from your link here, but as we're talking about radioactive waste, maybe we should stick to talking about the radiation emitted by the waste?

    The reaction itself does create neutron radiation, yes, but it's possible to shield against it, and as soon as the reaction stops, the radiation it emits would also stop, am I not correct?
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  34. Post #34
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    Fukushima exclusion zone:


    Chernobyl fallout map:


    I'll take my temporary death beam misfire.

  35. Post #35
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,175 Posts
    Fukushima exclusion zone:


    Chernobyl fallout map:


    I'll take my temporary death beam misfire.
    Don't get me wrong, I love this new concept NASA is funding, but both of those reactors were old, and in the case of Chernobyl, mishandled, and in the case of Fukushima, placed in a horrible location for a nuclear reactor.

    They are also not Fusion reactors (duh), and a similar incident with a Fusion reactor is impossible.

    From your everyone's favorite source, Wikipedia:

    There is no possibility of a catastrophic accident in a fusion reactor resulting in major release of radioactivity to the environment or injury to non-staff, unlike modern fission reactors. The primary reason is that nuclear fusion requires precisely controlled temperature, pressure, and magnetic field parameters to generate net energy. If the reactor were damaged, these parameters would be disrupted and the heat generation in the reactor would rapidly cease.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fusion_power
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  36. Post #36
    OvB
    Facepunch resident scientist
    OvB's Avatar
    March 2007
    13,100 Posts
    Fuck if everything radioactive makes anything it comes in contact radioactive y'all better stay the fuck away from me, I've had a couple dozen X-rays in my life!
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  37. Post #37
    Gold Member
    mugofdoom's Avatar
    September 2005
    5,187 Posts
    Yeah damn shame you can't send them up, NASA. Oh well, time to give Russia a call.

  38. Post #38
    Asshole Extraordinaire
    Dennab
    May 2005
    3,705 Posts
    I'm no expert so I'm just going on what I understood from your link here, but as we're talking about radioactive waste, maybe we should stick to talking about the radiation emitted by the waste?

    The reaction itself does create neutron radiation, yes, but it's possible to shield against it, and as soon as the reaction stops, the radiation it emits would also stop, am I not correct?
    Yeah, just because the fuel was moved from one place to another doesn't mean it stops emitting neutron radiation. And by the time the fuel is spent, it contains all sorts of other nasty radioactive byproducts like Caesium-137, Strontium-90, Iodine-131 and others. Oh wait, according to all of the geniuses in this thread, it's impossible for those to exist because radioactive substances totally don't make other things radioactive. So I guess those nasty isotopes just randomly popped into existence.

    The reaction never stops because the spent fuel rods react with themselves. The reaction just changes in intensity as more or less of the fuel is brought into closer proximity.

  39. Post #39
    We're made of star-stuff
    LarparNar's Avatar
    February 2009
    10,175 Posts
    Yeah damn shame you can't send them up, NASA. Oh well, time to give Russia a call.
    Um NASA still has rockets that can deploy satellites.

  40. Post #40
    Gold Member
    mugofdoom's Avatar
    September 2005
    5,187 Posts
    Um NASA still has rockets that can deploy satellites.
    I thought they discontinued the space program and were now unable to send anything up? Or was that just the shuttle program?