Fremtidens energi?

Diverse — Drokles on September 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

Det er ganske trættende at høre det politiske etablissement sætte deres lid til lavteknologiske løsninger ef både energiforbruget og den økonomiske vækst. Især fordi fremtiden tegner så lys for de der tør drømme. Fra Washington Post

TerraPower, the venture that has received Gates’s backing, is working to develop a system that will solve some of the problems with today’s nuclear reactors. Its “traveling wave reactor” would be powered almost completely by fuel rods containing depleted uranium, the concentrated U-238 that enrichment plants throw away after extracting U-235. (TerraPower plans to start with a 500-megawatt reactor, but it could be scaled smaller or larger as needed.)

Here’s how it would work: A tiny amount of U-235 is introduced and split open, releasing a whole bunch of neutrons. The depleted uranium in the fuel rod absorbs one of the neutrons. The resulting form of uranium soon decays into plutonium, a very potent fissile material. When more neutrons strike the plutonium, huge amounts of energy are released, as well as some more neutrons to keep the reaction going.

The “traveling wave” term is fitting because this process starts at one end of the fuel rod and creeps slowly forward, burning up the U-238 as it goes. The progression could take as many as 60 years, another major advantage of the new reactor. Traditional reactors have to be stopped, opened and refueled every 18 months or so.

If it works, a traveling wave reactor would probably be cheaper than a similarly sized plant running on enriched uranium, since its fuel would be so plentiful. The United States has about 775,000 tons of depleted uranium sitting in steel cylinders in Paducah, Ky., Portsmouth, OH, and Oak Ridge, Tenn. In the long run, countries would no longer be able to disguise their bomb factories as power plants, because running a reactor with enriched uranium wouldn’t make economic sense. And the world could stop mining uranium, a process fraught with political and environmental hazards. According to Gilleland, there’s already enough depleted uranium to satisfy the power needs of 10 billion Americans for 100 millennia.

Men i Danmark vil vi hellere høste vinden.

1 Kommentar »

  1. Har du set den her - solpletter:

    Comment by Universalgeni — September 16, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

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